To achieve a successful French theme party you need:
1. to befriend a French person, preferably with a family (so you can have a French person times three = more legitimate French party)
2. miniature Eiffel Tower,
3. A la French menu,
4. lots of wine,
5. no nonsense taking attitude,
6. lots and lots of wine and cheese,
8.selection of French music.
Now, it’s definitely not a good idea to start with a little session called ‘two Cosmopolitans drinking two cosmopolitans’…which is me and my ex flatmate (Kamil, mentioned before in this blog) downing two cosmos before the French arrived. Three words of warning – next day hangover.
And try not to delete half of the photographs you had taken (!)
Anyway, setting the table for the French themed party in my case was more like fishing from a basket of clichés. Baguette here, Eiffel tower there, and voila! Sorted.
For dinner I made green bean and goat cheese tart. The inspiration came from Anna Olson’s book ‘Fresh with Anna Olson’, I just turned it into a vegetarian dish.
Green bean and goat cheese tart
For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups of flour
120 grams of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
200-300 grams of green beans, trimmed and blanched
3/4 cup of sour cream
pinch of salt
herbes de provence
120 grams of goat cheese
1. For the pastry pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until crumbly (you can do it by hand, just try to be quick so the butter stays cold)
2. Add parmesan and water and pulse again. Turn the dough out, shape into a disk, wrap in a cling foil and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Preheat the oven to 190 C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle. Line the tart shell with the dough, trim the edges. Chill for another 30 minutes (trust me, it’s worth it).
4. Stab with a fork a few times (helps letting the air out while baking) and bake till it starts getting golden. Let it cool.
5. Reduce the temperature to 160C. Arrange the green beans, sprinkle herbes de provance.
6. In a small bowl whisk the eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper. Pour this over the tart filling and crumble goat cheese over the top.
7. Bake till the eggs are set. (Don’t engage into a long conversation if you don’t want to burn your tart)
8. Let it cool a bit before slicing.
I served it with a salad made of rocket and watermelon with lemon and olive oil dressing and shaved parmesan on top.
There was also plenty of wine, cheese, baguette, etc.
Dessert is a different story. I decided not to make a cake but biscuits. There were two : normal shortbread filled with raspberry jam and hazelnut shortbread filled with nutella. Yum!
Vive la France!