Busy home managers have many reasons to dread entertaining, whether it's drop-in visitors or a large party. Entertaining can be costly, in time and in money. Our homes may not measure up to the standard touted in glossy furniture store ads. Often, we're unsure of ourselves in the role of hostess. Many of us didn't learn the knack at Mother's knee-yet we still measure ourselves against her yardstick.
Take heart! Changing times have brought changing ideas and standards. Entertaining doesn't need to be stressful. With an attitude adjustment and some advance planning, even the busiest home manager can
entertain with ease.
Also on the same event, I got reacquainted to my favorite Dolce Gusto flavors. Though this time prepared by a new product -the Mini Me. Familiar with Dolce Gusto machines? Not? Dolce Gustos are not your ordinary coffee-makers. What you'll have are cafe style coffees at the comfort of your own home, that's if you own one.
Piccolo, Genio, Circolo, Melody Automatic and now Mini Me are sophisticated-looking machines from the Dolce Gusto line of Nescafe. Each machines are compact, versatile and cute. But looks are deceiving, if you think they are just cute, wait till you make one. I had my fingers touch nobs and buttons and I got myself a delightful cup of coffee instantly, without spending a lot or going out of the building. With its 15 bar pressure humming inside its cute body your drips are perfect shots of genuine coffee.
To make one, all you need to do is to pop, lock and switch.
1. You pop the capsule into a chamber,
2. Set the bars corresponded on the capsule.
3. Lock the lever and switch.
4. Wait for the coffee or milk to finish dripping.
A self-confessed coffee-holic that I am, had two cups before we the actual event even started. While my daughter had a cup of Chocochino, a milky chocolate drink also prepared from the Mini Me series of machine. I had a cup of Cafe Mocha and a Cappuccino.
My daughter and I had these with our Nescafe Dolce Gusto concoctions.
Let me now share you some tips which I learned from one of the metro's leading experts in cuisine - Chef Edward Bugia during one of Nescafe Dolce Gusto's 101 Lifestyle Pocket Sessions. Last May 24 at Straight Up Bar in Seda Hotel, BGC, Chef Ed (as he is commonly known) let us in on his insights in entertaining at home with ease. He shared a menu that was perfect for that not so heavy and not so light meal with food and beverage pairing. To the hostess with the mostess, basic and advanced plating were thought and other tricks up his sleeve, making the planning less stressful even budget friendly.
Casual Fine Dining
In Chef's terms "fun dining" should be referred to casual fine dining. In our busy world, people don't notice or really pay attention anymore to each of the details when having fine dining. It was nice of Chef to have debunked some myths in traditional fine dining set up.
Here they are:
1. Dining and entertaining should be creative and a bit relaxed.
2. It doesn't always have to be stiff, like always using a white linen to cover an expensive table, you can use light colored one instead.
3. Most of the homes have limited place for dining so a functional table will do.
4. Table set does not need to be intimating.
5. Instead of using three glasses, you can limit it with just the water goblet and wine glass.
6. Never decorate your table with long-stemmed flowers or tall decorations, instead use low-length floral, to encourage more casual and relaxing conversation flows.
7. Table napkins don't have to folded intricately like those in the hotels. It will eat most of your preparation time. Just fold your napkins neatly, or use simple rings.
8. You don not always have to prepare more than three courses, unless you are hosting a fiesta.
9. You can always choose a menu that looks light and pleasing to your guests' eyes yet is filling but not making them bloated.
10. Lastly, organizing ahead your guest list and menu, making the whole event fun even for the hostess.
The Three-Course Fun Meal by Chef Ed Bugia
Chef Ed, together with some assistance from the audience created these healthy, colorful, beautifully-plated meals.
The plating does not need to have a pattern, you can easily play around with different textured and colored leafy greens, grains and fruits.For the vinaigrette, you can buy a bottled pre-made one or make your own by mixing lemon, olive oil and garlic.
For the entree he prepared Bistek Beef Belly. As opposed to traditionally preparing expensive roast beef or grilled steaks, your guests will be elated to see how you have managed to set up a plating and a dish as gorgeous as this. The dish is a fusion of Tagalog Beef Steak and American style steak which used beef belly part instead of the known steak cuts, but delivers the same taste and texture other steaks does.
As what Chef have iterated, "Serve minimal amount of starters to have room for dessert."
For the final course and your creme de la creme...
Chocolate cake ala mode, prepped without baking in the oven!
As what have been always mentioned in the program, "It's all about the plating!" As you can see, this sweetness overload of a plate will sure win you countless oohhs and aahhhs...
The plate is a delicate mash of the Two-minute Chocolate cake or the Chocolate Cake in a cup, vanilla ice cream or just cream, caramel or delce de leche syrup, slightly roasted almonds (or any nuts), strawberries, sprigs of mint leaves and candied chilies. An instant heaven on a plate, don't you think.
To get the recipe of the Two-minute Chocolate Cake, you may click at the link below:
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