Host a trend-setting dinner party: tips from Sara Oteri


Host a trend-setting dinner party: tips from Sara Oteri

By We Love Our Lamb.

Across the country, we’re also hosting modern dinner parties, infusing new flavours and themes with the traditions of the past. Gone are the days of formal sit down dinners, with hosts spending hours in the kitchen, traded instead for informal gatherings, culinary challenges and collaborative cooking.

Former MasterChef contestant and Instagram foodie, Sara Oteri, has created three delicious Australian Lamb recipes inspired by the latest dinner party trends.

Trend: Weeknight entertaining

Weeknight entertaining is the new weekend dinner party, with Wednesday being the night of choice to catch up with friends at home. With young Australians more time poor than ever, hosts are opting for authentic and traditional food that is easy to prepare instead of a three-course meal. Sara’s recipe of pull apart sweet potato with diced lamb leg and green olive tapenade is simple to create and can accommodate any dinner party size.

Trend: Collaborative cooking

Collaborative cooking is an emerging trend being embraced by millennials, eager to connect with one another over food and escape the routine and stress of every day life. By sharing in the preparation and cooking of meals together, dinner transforms into a collaborative journey to feast rather than one person stressing over the cooking. Sara’s spiced lamb pita pockets with charred eggplant and fresh herbs is the perfect opportunity to create memories with friends (and like-worthy social media posts!) while enjoying a delicious meal together.

Trend: Bring-A-Dish

The practicalities of hosting a dinner party have changed over time, with city dwellers rarely having the space for a dining table, least one large enough for a sizeable dinner party. As kitchens also get smaller, themed ‘bring a dish’ get-togethers have evolved – bending the rules as to how and where dinner is prepared and served. The rise in street food-inspired dishes, ethnic flavours, simplicity and ‘fast causal’ concepts all lend themselves to dinner parties where attendees bring their own dish, adhering to a pre-assigned theme.

Often served on mismatched plates around the kitchen table, a theme makes it easier for guests to mix and match dishes, from Mexican to Indian or African inspired. Sara’s recipe of Vietnamese caramel lamb rump with fluffy quinoa rice and slaw pulls from Asian flavours, and can be easily recreated by a group of friends coming together.

Vietnamese Caramel Lamb Rump with Fluffy Quinoa Rice and Slaw

Create the perfect spread that takes no time to prepare and each dish can be divided up amongst friends. When combined, these recipes can instantly transform your dining table into a little slice of Vietnam, buzzing with all the vibrancy eating together brings.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Serves: 6


800g rump steak (3cm thick) 1 green chilli, sliced into rounds (optional as garnish)

3/4 cup caster sugar 1 tsp. grated ginger
1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce 1/4 cup juiced limes

Quinoa rice
250g basmati rice
250g mixed colours quinoa

3 Lebanese cucumbers,
3 carrots, ribboned
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and chopped 1/2 cup fried shallots
Handful mint, roughly torn
Handful coriander, keep as long stems

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp. Sriracha sauce or hot/sweet chilli sauce 2 tbsp. caster sugar
3 tbsp. fish sauce
3 tbsp. vegetable oil

6 Lebanese eggplants, cut lengthways (or vegetable of choice) 2 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. light soy
1 tsp. sesame oil
Sesame seeds to garnish (optional)


For the slaw
1. Slice the cabbage, finely shred the carrots, cucumber and toss through the bean shoots in a bowl. Add long stems of coriander and roughly torn mint leaves. Set aside.

For the salad dressing
1. Combine all the salad dressing ingredients until dissolved.

For the quinoa rice
1. Cook the rice as per package instructions and boil the quinoa for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and serve on its own or combine with the rice.

For the eggplant
1. Place cut side down in a lightly oiled frypan. Once coloured, transfer to a baking tray cut side up and cook in oven at 180°C until just tender.
2. Mix together the peanut butter, honey, light soy, sesame oil and brush on top of eggplant before returning to the oven for a final 2 minutes, or until the tops begin to bubble.

For the caramel
1. Place sugar and 1/2 cup water in a non stick pan on medium heat until it turns a light caramel colour before taking off the heat immediately.
2. Add 2 tbsp of hot water (carefully as it will spit), 1 tsp. grated ginger and 1 1/2 tbsp. fish sauce. Once cooled, add 1/4 cup lime juice and a pinch of salt.

For the lamb
1. In a large non-stick frypan, pan fry the rump on medium/high heat for 5-6 minutes each side or until nicely charred. Set aside and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain into 2cm thick pieces.

To serve
1. Dress your salad and top with peanuts, shallots and chilli. Place the eggplant on a plate with some lime wedges and arrange your sliced lamb rump before pouring the caramel down the middle.
2. Leave a little caramel on the side for friends to add their dish.


  • Always take the lamb rump out of the fridge around 30 minutes before you want to cook it. This will allow the rump to cook more evenly.
  • Never leave the lamb juices in the pan. They can be mixed with other ingredients to make a great sauce.
  • Make sure to trim about 20% of lamb rump fat off to ensure the meat is primed for cooking

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