Saturday night’s Come Dine With Me dinner party turned out to be a complete success. Not only did we polish off six bottles of wine, the girls absolutely loved my courses.

When they arrived we started with a raspberry limoncello prosecco cocktails, topped off with mint and served with a dish of olives for nibbling. As they do in Italy.

Next we had our starter of Jamie Oliver’s potted crab (snap above), with grilled, buttery asparagus and toasted sourdough. Paired with a slightly sweet Riesling that Crosbie picked up as it recommended to be served with crab. The combination of crab, lemon, dill, chilli and the sweet wine went down a treat.

I had to prepare the seafood paella once the starter had been completed as the dish would have looked like a dirty porridge if I had done it earlier and let it sit. Thankfully, how my kitchen is set up it worked well due to the island in the middle I could prepare on and talk to them sitting at the dining table on the other side. We had the tunes going, and I opened a bottle of one of my favourite NZ Sauvignon’s Mud House. It served as a nice palate cleanser before the main course.


Once I had knocked up my paella served with king prawns and steaming mussels, I opened our fourth bottle of wine for the night, a blush Rioja, specifically, Barrihuelo Rioja Rosado. I had done some research on this prior to the evening as I knew I wanted to serve a seafood paella so I didn’t want a heavy red to start. I’m not a huge rosé fan, but when I found the light Rioja which recommended to be served with paella I was thrilled. Plus it was delicious, and one that I will go back to again.

The girls were so lovely and raved about my paella. I have cooked paella before, but it was many years ago – so it was good to know I still have it. Further more, they took home a doggy bag of paella each!

Now, had it been a bit warmer, my first pick for a light, summery dish would have been this Seafood salad with orange and honey dressing. So simple, yet packed with so much flavour.

After we’d finished the bottle of Rioja and sat letting our tummies digest, we opened a lovely Rockburn Pinot Noir from NZ that Becky had brought. I hadn’t had Rockburn before, but as I said to Becky, if it’s a pinot noir from Central Otago it will be amongst the best in the world and you can’t go wrong. I was right, it was delicious. The fruity hints in the pinot went perfectly with my velvety lemon, fresh cream and toasted almond pavlova, and the smoothness of it helped balance the citrus.


After we stuffed ourselves on pavlova (it’s basically air!) the tunes got louder, another bottle of red, darker and heavier this time, was opened and the girls decided it was dancing time. I had Spotify on so the tunes were a gamble, but we got some nice Spice Girls and N*ysnc throwbacks.

By midnight we were a little worse for wear, seeing that three of us polished off six bottles of wine and the girls were in taxis heading home. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it sounded like they did too. We’ve decided to start again and do another round. I loved it because it made me up my game with cooking. Sure, I’ve cooked numerous dishes before, I’ve cooked whole Christmas dinners. But something about this, more formal dining added a bit more pressure. We’ve decided with the next round to push ourselves a little, by the guests picking the theme for the host to cook to. Whether this is by picking Thai, Italian or Brazilian, or far more trickier like vegan night! I warned them that if they picked vegan night for me, they best think about the fact they are not likely to enjoy my bowl of oats served with coconut and a chilled glass of water. Scrummy.

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