Dinner Party Catch Up – Two New Party Menus – Modern Australian and Seafood

Has it really been six months since we last spoke?  But seriously, where does the time go?! One day, one day I’ll figure this whole writing thing out and do it on a consistent basis.  It’s like every time I step away for a bit and then come back to it, I have to get back into the groove again, but then when I get there I stop writing again.  So, here’s to trying to make it work, again.

Let’s talk dinner parties today and then maybe next week I can get back to writing recipes and actually post something for you to try? Writing recipes are quite the challenge for me considering I mostly cook out of my head. I play with ratios and ingredients to sort out the result I’m looking for.  My problem, producing the same thing over and over again so that I can share with you how I get to my end result. Practice, practice, practice. Right?

I have two parties to catch you up on. The first was a Modern Australian theme and the second was Seafood. The Seafood menu was my most recent and, to be honest with you, is the party I’m most proud of thus far. The Modern Australian was good, don’t get me wrong, but there were some definite let downs for me. A couple dishes just didn’t come out the way I intended them to, and that’s ok. It’s a learning experience and it was still tons of fun.

Seven courses seems to be my sweet spot. Plenty of variety. Plenty of challenge. And I think I’m finally getting portion sizes under control.  Hallelujah!

Modern Australian (yes, a bit too much food but way better than the gluttonous 9 course Comfort Food party)

  • Avocado Toast – 3 ways – quail egg and bacon, prawn, charred corn salsa
  • Aussie Pub Food – salt and pepper squid, chicken parma, steak and mushroom pie
  • Pea and Ham Soup
  • Asparagus Salad with Cucumber, Onion and Tomato
  • Deconstructed Barramundi Chowder
  • Dukkah Crusted Lamb Backstrap, Parsnip Puree, Red Wine Braised Pearl Onions and Mushrooms
  • Brown Sugar Pavlova, Caramelised Figs, Caramel Syrup

Favourites from this menu – Asparagus salad, lamb, and pavlova.

Least favourite – Deconstructed barramundi chowder. The flavour was good but it just didn’t come together like I wanted it to. And that avocado toast? What a mess!!


  • Mackerel Pate, Pickled Red Onions
  • Charred Octopus, Chorizo, Lemon and Garlic Aioli
  • Prawn Bisque
  • Caesar Salad, Crispy Anchovy
  • Moreton Bay Bug Ravioli, Porcini Broth
  • King Salmon, Shaved Asparagus, Mussel Beurre Blanc
  • Victoria Sponge Cake, Mandarin Orange Curd, Candied Orange

Favourite – Moreton Bay Bug Ravioli, hands down. No contest. But I have to say, I’d make this entire menu again.

Least Favourite – Caesar salad. It was good. Light and refreshing but the plating needed to be improved and the anchovies I wouldn’t serve whole. Instead I’d crumble them more like bacon bits. My salad game sucks and needs considerable work. (no, I’m not hard on myself at all…. insert eye roll here)

I have to say, I’m really pleased with the evolution of the menus and parties over time; each one a little better than the previous one. I’ve really tried to embrace a “less is more” mantra. Create dishes that have fewer components but more precision. That was really clear with the Seafood party. That Moreton Bay Bug dish had less than ten ingredients and it is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever made. Compare that to the Aussie Pub Food course for the Modern Australian menu? What the hell was I thinking with that? Less. Is. More.

There are three more parties coming up before the end of the year and I’m trying to up my game for each of them. Different challenges for each. The next one coming up will be my sister’s birthday in August. Can I just tell you how intimidating it is to cook for my sister and my mom?! Number one my sister is a professional. Literally, it’s her job, and she has the fancy white coat to prove it. She knows things, lots of things, and she’s my main consultant on these menus. And number two, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re still your mom’s kid and you always ALWAYS want to impress her. Nonetheless I’m going to do it and the menu is really shaping up to be something special. Now I just need to execute it. The second party is still a bit of an unknown. I have a theme in mind and some dishes in mind. For the moment I’m choosing to keep this a surprise for my guests so I guess that means it will be a surprise for you too.  That one is coming up in September so I still have time to really let that one come together. November’s party, I admit, I’m already starting to stress out. The theme is Yum Cha and Microbrews but you know me, I can’t just throw some dumplings, spring rolls out there and call it a day. It needs a twist. It needs to be memorable. I’m working on it. I’ll keep you posted.

So I guess that’s it for today. It must mean I need to get back to writing recipes. I think I’ll start with a couple from the Seafood party. The mackerel pate is a great one to have in your repertoire so I’ll likely go there first. After that I’m thinking the King Salmon dish is a great one to have for an evening when you need a little something special. And because it is winter down here and actually quite cold recently, I’m working on a mussel chowder to help keep you warm on cold winter nights.

Fingers crossed I keep the momentum going! Chat soon! xx


Thanks to Mannie and Courtney for the photos of the Modern Australian menu!


  • Becky

    So jealous to only see pictures of the dinner parties! You must perfect a recipe for cumin ribs like we had when I was in Melbourne. I’ve been craving them ever since!

    • Lauren


      Well you’re welcome back here anytime! I’ll throw a party just for you. I’ll see what I can do about the ribs though I might have to go back and taste test a few times to get it right…. 😉

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