Having written dinner parties for dog and cat lovers, I cannot refuse a request for a Rabbit Lovers Stress Free Dinner Party. By which I mean a pet rabbit dinner party, not one featuring a lapin main course. This has been one of the hardest Dinner Parties I have ever put together!
Just like the other pet dinner parties, we’ll be eating rabbit food. Though we’ll not be eating hay or grass, we’ll be eating fruit and vegetables.
Rabbits can’t eat dairy, oils, garlic, nuts or seeds, nor should they eat cooked food, which means that this meal is essentially salad. It does include some “treat” foods that rabbits shouldn’t eat too much of. And there is some dressing (we humans like a little sauce) and a little cheese, though you could cut this and use juice as dressing and skip the cheese.
But there will still be alcohol as usual, though you shouldn’t share this with any actual rabbits in attendance.
A picnic on the lawn?
Casual. Or rabbit costumes. Your choice.
As ever, six guests invited to arrive 6.30 for 7.00pm.
6:30 Apéritif: Crudités with Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio
Chop some beans, cucumbers, celery and capsicum into sticks. For the dip, peel, chop and boil a couple of carrots until soft. Add to a food processor or blender with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of coriander, salt and pepper to taste and blitz until smooth.
7.00 Mixed Salads with more Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio
You can serve the salads in large bowls buffet style and let your guests help themselves, or sequentially 30-40 minutes apart. They all use the same dressing.
Dressing: Whisk 90 ml (3 oz) lemon juice together with 270 ml (9 oz) olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
Courgette Carpaccio: Shave two or three small courgettes, divide among the plates, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Finely shred a bunch of mint, toast a handful of pine nuts, and zest a lemon. Optionally, shave some Parmesan. Sprinkle the mint, pine nuts, lemon zest and cheese over the courgettes, and drizzle with a little dressing.
Fennel Salad: Thinly slice a two fennel bulb and a dozen celery sticks. Toss with a cup of coarsely chopped parsley, and ½ cup of toasted pine nuts. Serve on a bed of rocket leaves topped with shaved parmesan and a little dressing.
Asparagus Salad: Cook a couple of bunches of asparagus for 3-4 minutes until tender, but still bright. Refresh in a bowl of cold water. Wash a couple of bunches of baby spinach, halve a punnet of cherry tomatoes, tear apart a bunch of basil and divide among the plates. Top with the asparagus and drizzle with dressing.
9.00 Dessert: Mixed Berries with Muscat
Rabbits can eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. You’ll need about three punnets. Plus, you could also add chopped peaches, plums, or cherries. You could have the fruit on their own, or top with cream, ice cream or yoghurt. Maybe with some crushed nuts for crunch.
10.00 Digestif: Cheese, Chocolate, and Liqueur (tea and coffee).
Heralding the return to “normal”, we’ll have the usual cheese platter (young, old, and blue) with some dark chocolate. You could supplement the cheese platter with some preserved meat like prosciutto or bresaola if you like.
Make the dip, wash and prepare your vegetables ahead of time, but not too far ahead because you want them very fresh and crunchy. Assemble the salads as you serve them, but to prevent them wilting, don’t dress them until you are ready to eat.