Happy Monday! Last week the girls and I got together for our girl's night dinner after taking the summer of and had so much fun coming up with our down under themed menu. So with dishes in hand we all headed over to my friend Emily's house and prepared ourselves for a delicious 5 course meal (more or less because we didn't have anything actually ready at the same time) along with some great New Zealand red and white wine. Here was our menu for the evening along with the recipes so you can host your own New Zealand themed dinner.
Course One: Down Under Cheese Puffs
I made this dish and besides how easy they are to make they also disappeared so quickly that I barely had time to take a picture of them before they were gone! I also made a second batch this past weekend and found out that they reheat wonderfully in the toaster oven. Here is the recipe I used to make the down under cheese puffs.
Course Two: Marinated Mussels
Besides the yummy mussels, that we all dove right into, you can check out our beautifully set dinner table (first time ever!). Most of us grew up enjoying freshly caught seafood so this was a 5-star dish in our books! Here is the recipe on how to create the marinade for the mussels.
Course Three: Lamb Chops with White Wine Sauce
Some of us may have been licking the sauce up after we ate all our lamb. But no worries, we really did enjoy the lamb too! The lamb was cooked in a frying pan with a hint of olive oil, once crisped on the outside the pan was put into the oven until done. And here is Emily's recipe she used to make the sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • any herbs you might want, although I couldn't taste what I put in there.
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1.5 sticks) cubed and COLD
Heat everything but the butter and cream in a saucepan over high heat.  Boil until reduced to about two tablespoons.  (She strained off the shallots at this point, but it's not necessary). Add cream and reduce to low.  Add the butter 2-3 cubes at a time, whisking the whole time until it is all mixed in.  
Course Four: Sausage Roll
This was another simple recipe on our New Zealand menu as it is basically sausage rolled up in a pastry puff. Instead of the individual rolls like this sausage roll recipe called for, two larger rolls were made. The only downside to this was that the rolls took forever to cook. (oops!) Once it finally cooked it was beyond delicious and there wasn't much left even after we had already had three other courses!
Course Five: Pavlova
This delicious New Zealand dessert specialty was completely homemade (except for the strawberries) and tasted so light and fluffy! Here is a great pavlova recipe from Martha Stewart you can use to make your own. However, you can also add a graham cracker crust to the base as well as top your dessert with any kind of fruit that you like. Somehow after four other courses we all managed to enjoy a nice slice of this heavenly meringue dish.

By the end of the fifth course there was not an empty stomach in the house! We officially declared the meal the best girl's night dinner menu ever. Next month we are heading south to Chile! Do you have any suggestions on a good recipe for me to try?


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