David Jones: How to entertain now

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David Jones: How to entertain now

This article, written by Laura Agnew, features in the spring edition of JONES magazine by David Jones. Shop the issue and view the full magazine here.

It took a pandemic to make us reconsider the entertaining hacks we'd fallen so hard for. With the charcuterie centrepiece and family-style serving temporarily off the menu, this season's Sunday lunch with loved ones inspires creativity - and rediscovering the joy of playing host.

Setting the table

The prettiest way to ensure there's no unnecessary sharing is to colour coordinate each place setting. Pair coloured glass tumblers with matching plates and napkins, and tie a complimentary ribbon around each guest's wine glass. Ditch the communal grinders and decant a generous serving of salt and pepper into a small dish - one for each guest - so everyone can season their meal to their liking. When it comes to serving food, plate up each dish in the kitchen before bringing them, two at a time, to the table. Bask the glory of being star baker and pop the cake on the table for when the guests arrive. Squeals of delight will (probably) ensue. When you're ready for dessert, simply remove the cake and plate each slice in the kitchen, away from the guest insistent on taste-testing.

Especially for you

Not only is the individual cheese plate the most hygienic way to start the meal, it also takes care of some terribly familiar conundrums. You know, like when the cheeseboard has been looted and there's one lone chunk of manchego left. You suddenly find yourself locking eyes with the person opposite. You both want to savour the last morsel but who is game enough to steal the last bounty? An awkward dance of 'you have it, no, you have it' begins - or worse, you swoop in for the kill and earn yourself an unsavoury reputation. Makes you wonder why you didn't start doing the individual cheese plate earlier.

This + That

Consider contrasting flavours and textures - something sweet, something salty, a little crunch and something juicy. Here are a few combinations to get you started.

Semi-hard cheese

Such as manchego + Prosciutto + rockmelon + grilled sourdough + candied clementine

Blue

Such as roquefort + honey + walnuts + pear + linguette crackers

White-mould cheese

Such as brillat savarin + David Jones Roast Almonds + red grapes + oat biscuits

Washed rind

Such as grand pont l'évêque + died muscatels + apple + hazelnuts + baguette

Bottoms up

A languid lunch in the sun can very quickly turn disastrous after one too many tipples. Keep your head on (without sacrificing a fabulous photo opp) with the coolest new line of zero-alcohol libations. Crafted in Melbourne by an ex-NOMA chef, Non has a fizzy, fruity, sometimes umami tang to it that goes well with cheese, the main event, a sweet dessert or simply sipped solo. Cin-cin, but make it sober.

Tagliatelle with broccolini, almonds, mint and goats curd

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1 cup David Jones Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup each mint and flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp David Jones Roasted Almonds, plus extra, coarsely chopped, to serve
1 garlic clove
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 or taste
1 bunch broccolini
150g goats curd or ricotta

Pasta dough

2 1/3 cups (350g) plain flour
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp David Jones Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Method

  1. To make the pasta dough, mound the flour on a work surface and make a large well in the centre. Add eggs, yolk, oil and salt to the well and whisk with a fork to break up the eggs. Use the fork to mix in a circular motion, gradually bringing flour from the inner walls of the well into the centre. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated into a shaggy dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Roll dough into a cylinder, wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.
  2. Cut pasta dough into 6 pieces and work with one piece at a time, keeping the others wrapped. Roll on a well-floured surface, turning and flouring the dough occasionally, to form a long, thin sheet of pasta. Flour well on both sides, then accordion-fold into a 5cm wide piece (this makes it easier to cut). Use a well-floured knife to cut strips as desired then unroll and dust with flour. Place in a pile on a lightly floured tray while you repeat with the remaining dough.
  3. Combine olive oil, herbs, parmesan, almonds, garlic and rind in a food processor and pulse until herbs are finely chopped. Transfer into a bowl.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Add broccolini, cook for 1-2 minutes until bright green. Remove with tongs, refresh under cold water and drain well. Pulse in the food processor until finely chopped. Add to herb mixture along with lemon juice, stir to combine.
  5. Add pasta to a saucepan of boiling water, stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Remove from the water with tongs and add to the broccolini mixture. Toss to combine and serve with a dollop of goats curd, and extra parmesan and almonds.

Double berry layer cake with white chocolate cream and gin-lime syrup

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

6 eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (375g) caster sugar
1/3 cups each plain flour, self-raising flour and cornflour
40g butter, melted and cooled
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup (60ml) gin, such as Grown Spirits Garden Grown Gin, $89.95 AU
2x 250g punnets strawberries, halved or quartered, depending on size
2x 150g punnets raspberries
Icing sugar, to dust

White chocolate cream

200g white chocolate, finely chopped
300ml pouring cream
400g crème fraîche

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Butter and line two 20cm-diameter cake tins with baking paper. Beat eggs, 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until thick, pale and tripled in volume.
  2. Sieve flours together into a bowl, then gradually sieve flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold to combine with a large metal spoon. Fold in melted butter and half the lime rind to combine. Divide mixture evenly between tins, smooth top and bake, turning occasionally, for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and centre springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tins then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For white chocolate cream, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and put in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes until caramelised. Transfer to a blender. Bring cream to the boil in a saucepan, pour onto white chocolate and stand for 5 minutes. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until thickened slightly. Whisk in the crème fraîche to form soft peaks; refrigerate until required.
  4. Combine gin, remaining sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Stir in lime juice. When cooled completely, stir in the remaining rind. Set aside.
  5. To serve, halve each cake horizontally with a large serrated knife. Place a cake base on a serving plate, brush lightly with gin-lime syrup and spread top with a third of the white chocolate cream and a quarter of the berries and top with another layer of cake. Repeat until all cake is used. Top with berries, dust with icing sugar and serve with gin-lime syrup drizzle.

Discover more from the spring edition of JONES magazine:

  • Introducing Mindfully Made
  • Beauty Unwrapped

Words: Laura Agnew
Styling: Emma Knowles
Photography: Benito Martin

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