I'm hosting a couple of friends for lunch on Saturday, and for some reason, my culinary brain seems to have atrophied. I seem incapable of guessing whether my plans will go together well or not. Any suggestions and feedback for the lunch would be greatly appreciated, especially in the areas I've put question marks.
There will be four adults eating, with the following constraints:
- no alcohol including for cooking
- no meat, only fish (including stock, gelatin, etc. Arranging good quality halal is too much hassle)
- one guest is pregnant
- rubbish electric stove, and not much time to prepare in the morning
I want to avoid hummus and the more usual Mediterranean/ Levantine mezze, as our guests lived for many years in London's little Lebanon and I am unlikely to be able to compete. Three of the four are of Pakistani origin, so I intend to both avoid Pakistani/ Indian food, while sticking to strong, bright flavours.
At present, this is what I'm thinking:
Starter: ??? [I'm strongly tempted by roasted mushrooms in garlic butter, with crusty bread, but maybe this doesn't fit the meal as a whole. I do love mushrooms, though]
Main: crispy skinned white fish on my favourite pomegranate and walnut salsa mixed with feta and smoky aubergine puree
and ??? [grilled asparagus, perhaps? Or have this as a starter? Or spinach and butter beans?]
and perhaps served on a herby ricotta hotcake??? [would this be a textural or flavour disaster?]
with green salad
Dessert: individual banoffee pies with tea
So.... what do fellow Chowhounds think? Any suggestions would be most welcome indeed.