Raclette – Dinner Party transported from London to Brussels

Despite the fact that we live in England, we keep very close friends in the countries where we lived and especially in the countries where we have our families.

That’s why we like to have regular dinner parties in these countries during our visits.

In Belgium we are very lucky because often we have lovely friends who organize dinner parties for us, so we are very spoiled because not only do they invite people we know and appreciate, but we have to arrive as guests without having to do more! How spoiled we are !

But we are very lucky for another reason. It is that when we are in Belgium my parents-in-law lend us their home to make dinner parties ourselves too! It is extremely generous of them and obviously I try to give them back their home the next day in the same state as before!

So last weekend we had the pleasure of welcoming some friends we see very little off because life has led us in different directions.

How to do so if we have a day to prepare everything and we want to enjoy our passage in Belgium too.

Everything is in the organization!

For our dinner party we chose to have a raclette! Little cooking and lots of activity and interaction!

But, when we do a Raclette I prefer to have a big aperitif that serves as a starter at the same time, to avoid already sitting before the heating raclette machines.

As often, when doing a raclette, I prepare a trio of shooters that are full of vegetables, tasty and complement each other perfectly. Italy in Shotglasses, Goat Cheese and Tomato Tartare Shooters and Provençal Shooters.

To minimize the preparation time in Belgium I bought and prepared the bases already in London the day before and took them in a cooler to Brussels.
In the glass jars are the main preparations, the other ingredients are not yet prepared.
My mother-in-law does not have shooters so I took mine from London which is not a problem when you come by car.
Here is the trio of ready-made shooters. This serves as aperitif and starter.
A little before the arrival of the guests I take the shooters out of the fridge. Everything is ready for our friends! Do not forget the spoons and napkins!
I decided to borrow my mother-in-law’s square plates. With the red tablecloth to give warmth to the room I bought nice orange napkins and folded them (similar to this style)
I added plants with small orange flowers to have the beautifully warm autumn colors! Not wanting to search through the cupboards of my mother-in-law I was unable to lay my hands on beautiful pots to put the plants in. So I just wrapped the plastic jars with aluminum foil, which went beautifully with the silver colour of the cutlery !
The longest to do was to arrange the platters but everything was ready an hour before the guests arrived so I was able to get myself ready!
Cooked potatoes (check before dinner that they are really cooked – I’m talking from experience here 🙈), raclette cheese platters with three different types of cheese, platters with different hams, gherkins and silver onions, varied vegetable platter and quail eggs to give the choice choices. An excellent green salad with my favorite vinaigrette and small cherry tomatoes for a nice touch of freshness!
An assortment of raclette cheese with raw milk and wild garlic.
With excellent pepper raclette cheese, a real treat!
Slices of lightly precooked carrots, zucchini, peppers, chanterelle mushrooms and quail eggs.
For dessert a beautiful autumn Pavlova, a chocolate Pavlova with poached pears and caramelized nuts !!
The base of Pavlova made the drive with us from London.
To be sure that it would arrive intact in Belgium I prepared it in a cake pan with a glass base. So I just had to take off the surround and serve the Pavlova directly on the glass base. Obviously it works also without a cake pan. Just make sure it’s put somewhere in your car where it moves very little and where no suitcase can crush it. For example in a box.
The Pavlova was also ready before the guests arrived. I know we always say to do the assembly at the last minute but I have experienced it many times that it is delicious even if it is assembled before the guests arrive and left in the fridge. Like that, no stress at the last moment.
The only thing you have to do is add the caramelized nuts just before serving the Pavlova because the caramel does not like to be in the fridge!

That’s a relaxed dinner! Great moments spent chatting in the living room, without constant passage in the kitchen.

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