If you are entertaining, then the first step to a successful bash, is to have a theme. Having a theme makes it so much easier not to go off at a tangent because you only add dishes that suit the theme. Similarly for the décor, you curb your natural instinct to get carried away by sticking to your theme.
I come from a season-less country, but that doesn’t stop me from using spring, fall and winter themes around my house and when I entertain. It keeps the décor and the choice of dishes fresh and unique.
For me, autumn is one of my favourite themes because we do quite a bit of entertaining towards the end of the year and I secretly love everything pumpkin!!
Every menu, just like music, must have a theme to create a symphony of flavoursRaveena Singh
These recipes are great for fall, and if you are hosting for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, then you simply have to give these a try!!!
The dishes that I have chosen for this menu are
- Chicken & Vegetable Stew
- Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad
- Charcuterie / Cheese Board
- Pumpkin Spread
- Cranberry Compote
- Deli meats
- Apple Pie with Ice Cream
- Apple Cider Sangria
When planning your menu, one tip that you should keep in mind is that each dish should not only complement the other dishes but they should also overlap slightly. For example, the bread and crackers from the cheese board will go great with the gravy of the stew. The sliced apple from the garnish of the sangria can add a crunch to the apple pie or it can be added to the salad for those who love a sweet crunch in their salad. And to be honest, I love adding the cranberry compote to my apple pie.
Another tip is to of course cut and prep as much as you can prior to party day so you are not overwhelmed and exhausted by the time your guests arrive.
Chicken & Vegetable Stew
If you are hosting for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, then substituting the chicken for turkey is a great option and similarly if you have vegetarian family and friends, then increase the portion per person of the vegetables and mushrooms and you are set to go.
300 g Chicken breasts or boned chicken
1 liter Chicken or Vegetable Broth
2 Carrots – cubed
3 Potatoes – cubed
2 Onions – chopped
1 cup Mushrooms – sliced
1 cup Green Peas
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
- Heat oil in a pot
- Saute the chicken and onion until partly cooked.
- Add in the broth and all the spices.
- Add the potatoes, making sure they are submerged in the broth
- Allow to come to a boil
- Put in all the vegetables (except the peas) and return to a boil
- Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake COVERED for about 75 mins on 325* F
- Just before it is done, remove from oven, mix in the green peas and return to the oven for 5 mins.
I like doing the last three steps about an hour and the half before my guests arrive, so the stew is warm when we start eating.
My heavens! This is such an easy recipe and yet so rich in flavour.
1 pumpkin – cubed
1 onion – finely chopped
1/2 in ginger – finely chopped
1 green chilli – finely chopped
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
- In a heated pan, add oil and start by heating the dry spices to release their gorgeous aroma
- Next, the onions, ginger and the green chillies need to be sauted until fragrant and the onions soften
- Add the pumpkin, some water and cover the pan. Lower the heat and allow to cook slowly.
- You can also add some sugar if you find it lacking sweetness but just a teaspooon or so.
- Once it is cooked, mash gently using the back of your spoon until it becomes spreadable. If you want a smoother texture, you can also use a food processor.
You can also add some water at the end if the paste is too thick as you want it smooth and spreadable.
It is actually unbelievable that something that starts as such a sour fruit can end up so delicious and just the right level tangy.
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 orange – juiced completely
1/2 lemon – juiced completely
zest of the orange and the lemon
- Put all the ingredients in a pan and allow to simmer until the flavours blend
- You can mash the fruit lightly to create a compote / jam like texture
I love this rustic apple pie and if you like you can add blackberries or blueberries to it but I like it with just apples.
5 – 6 apples – mixed variety – peeled and cubed
2 Tsp butter
1 cup elderflower syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder / 1 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg for egg wash
- Heat a pan through and switch off the flame so the butter doesnt burn
- Add in all the ingredients and coat the apples with the syrup well
- Return to a medium flame until the syrup thickens
- Transfer to an oven proof dish and top with a sheet of puff pastry
- Brush egg wash on the top, and prick some holes to avoid over inflation and then sprinkle with some cinnamon sugar
- Bake for between 20 – 30 mins at 180*C
Best if served warm with vanilla ice cream and a dollop of the cranberry compote
I really hope you will enjoy these recipes and for the presentation element of the fall dinner, hope over to my channel on YouTube or you can click on this link here
Happy Thanksgiving & Friendsgiving my loves!