Slowly, slowly we are starting to entertain family and friends again in the AV house. We haven't hosted a dinner party in over 3 years - the last one we hosted was when we still lived in Melbourne, and was for 6 clients of Mr AV, when S was 8 weeks old (as you can probably guess, that one wasn't my idea). After moving, our house in Adelaide prior the renovation was not conducive to anything other than a very casual BBQ or afternoon tea. But with things reasonably finished in the new living area and kitchen,  we have slowly started to have people over. The first dinner we hosted felt a bit like having training wheels on - we hosted our friends A & A for dinner, and I decided on a menu centring around the Ottolenghi Jerusalem cookbook. Most of the things I made could be prepared in advance, and suited the warmer weather we still have in Adelaide. 




In honour of this auspicious occasion, I retrieved our silver cutlery from my Dad's house, where it has lived since we sold our old home in Melbourne. As it had been in storage, it had tarnished fairly badly. I cleaned it up using the bicarb technique (as described in one of my most popular blog posts), and in an hour had cleaned the silver setting for 12, plus a few other assorted bits and pieces I picked up from around the house. I noticed that the silver that had tarnished the least was the stuff stored in the one felt anti - tarnish cutlery roll that I had. The rest of the silver had been wrapped in tissue paper and had varying states of tarnish. 



So after the dinner party, I did a bit of hunting around on the Internet, and found that, of course, the best source of felt cutlery rolls made of the anti tarnish felt was from the UK - John Lewis on line. 3 days after ordering, I received a small box full of these rolls, so hopefully the next time I pull the silver out it will be in pristine order.





I wore this Lela Rose dress, with the shoes of shame. 





Hors d'oeuvres were smoked salmon with creme fraiche in filo cups, and parmesan olive balls (pitted stuffed olive wrapped in parmesan pastry and baked). These last ones were a favourite of my Mum's and are so delicious.



I then got busy talking and forgot to take photos of the rest of the meal...!

Today we hosted the whole family for a casual lunch (it's a long weekend in Adelaide) - quite a production. I set the table casually with the usual stainless steel cutlery, and served the food off the sideboard (two quiches and a couple of salads). Pavlova was for pudding.







I have mentioned before our problems with the Eames dining chairs... another one bites the dust. 




The outdoor area is evolving - yesterday Mr AV and I moved all the box topiaries that I bought at the local estate Auction houses last year to the back area. If you squint a bit and ignore the red steel veranda posts, it looks almost finished now. 







The veranda looks quite top heavy without the finished posts. They should be going up in the next few weeks.




So,  throw in a few afternoon teas, and we've been busy. Big dinner parties will commence soon - I love having people over and cooking something other than everyday dinners for the family, so with a few wobbles (quite literally in the case of the dining chairs) we are on our way. 



44 comments:

  1. You domestic goddess you ... cooking in those heels ohlalal!!
    The table and food look amazing too, hope you had a great time :)

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    1. Ha Michelle! No cooking in the heels - as it was all prepared in advance there was minimal standing involved, and lots of sitting. Although I still had sore legs at the end of the night.... they're not the most practical shoes really!! xx

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  2. Wow Heidi, your re-entry into the world of entertaining looks amazing! I must order some of those felt anti-tarnish thingummies - what a great idea. I love John Lewis v much indeed (and Peter Jones).
    Your house is looking fabulous - the outdoor area is really coming together. We are very jealous of the swing seat!
    And the Lela Rose dress with shoes of shame is just beautiful!!!

    We ar just about to embark on the Renovation process and I am dreading it. We are having numerous meetings with our architect to try to work out all the finishes, but J keeps on changing his mind......
    I am trying to breathe deeply and stay calm.

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    1. They have felt bags for larger items too, like milk jugs etc. Loved my first experience with John Lewis online - they send out such polite and English emails to update you on your order status!!

      Your turn soon enough Ruth - it's all worth it in the end. Sounds like you're the one that's taking a back seat in the design stakes - just put your foot down when you need to! xx

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  3. Yay! What a milestone - so envious and I can not wait to have my proper dinner party too!! Although I did have take away with my brother and his GF the other night as we have been having the most balmy spring weather so that was nice. Funny I am unpacking and the few silver things I have almost seem like a lost cause and I must remember to store it in one of those things. I love those parmesan balls - I have a thing for those picky bits.

    Sorry about the chair though! so annoying.

    But your dress is so lovely and feminine and you look the ultimate hostess! xx

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    1. We did a few takeaway things while it was still chaos inside - you're almost there Naomi! I often do lots of nibbles and skip the entree - much easier to chat, nibble and drink without feeling rushed to the table.

      The chair situation is v. annoying. Their days are numbered. Someone is going to think they're getting the bargain of the year next hard rubbish collection day when I put the ones with the cracks in them out on the street. They'll take them home, lovingly disinfect them, and then fall through the back one day when sitting on them and realise why they were heading to the dump. xx

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  4. yay! i'd go crazy not being able to entertain! you look gorgeous in that dress - that's a brand i'd like to try!

    I think the porch is looking wonderful - can't wait to see the pillars in the end!!

    is that a pavlova? I love pavlova...

    are you able to get a refund on those eames chairs? That is crazy! It's funny, we sit down to eat every night on my great-grandparent's chairs and while they need some wobbles fixed, after 130 years, they are still holding up. Nothing I've bought in my lifetime has ever held up so well!

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    1. It is a pavlova! So easy, and I like doing them for a lunch as you do them the night before, so it takes the pressure off in the morning.

      It's probably too late for a refund on the chairs - we bought them 5 years ago, so they'd be able to argue that we weren't using them properly or something. I think there's a lot to be said about the quality of the lass mass produced era. Things were also designed to be repaired easily, whereas we have to throw out the whole thing when they break, which is such a waste. xx

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  5. Dear Heidi
    It's all great! Love the outdoor dining area - and don't pot plants work their magic! Those hurricane lanterns are just so gorgeous! The table settings are all lovely too. Strangely enough we have the same Fink water jug! And have just bought another as a wedding present for G's friend's son. Those silver storage rolls look seriously good and practical. But my silver cutlery hasn't been languishing in secondary storage, it just sits in its own drawer. Luckily it seems not to tarnish too much. I just give it a bit of a rub with a Goddard or Christofle silver cloth and it cleans up so quickly. Then I rinse it under hot water and dry with a fresh linen tea towel. I'm a bit worried about using the bicarb and foil method too often as have heard it might damage the surface.
    Have always loved John Lewis. When we lived in the UK I loved their sales. They used to be super good, specially for household things.
    The shoes of shame are divine and look wonderful with that pretty Lela Rose dress. Love the Beautiful Colours, but wonder a bit about the neckline. Is it a bit high? Or maybe just the angle the picture was taken?
    Love the bench tops! They look fabulous! And love Ottolenghi!
    Isn't the autumn wonderful! So good the heatwave is over! We're getting fresh nights and mornings and lovely sunny days. Enjoying the reno updates so much. Pammie xxx

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    1. Instant lived in feel with a few pot plants around the place! I'm somehow not surprised you have a Fink jug too - my Mum bought it for me for a birthday gift a few years ago - did you know they were originally designed by the Jam Factory in Adelaide? If you're silvers in a drawer, you likely use it a lot, which means no tarnish! I just didn't want the silver in the house while it was all in chaos, we weren't entertaining at all, and I had no where safe to store it all. I just didn't think it would be almost 4 years! I did a lot of research after Virginia raised the concern with the silver cleaning technique in my post - all my research said it was completely safe. There are a couple of bicarb 'recipes' on the internet that have salt added to the mix, which might be why it has caused problems for some people? Otherwise it's simple chemistry in that it just lifts the tarnish off and not the silver.
      The neckline on the dress is quite high and 50's ish, but probably the angle from me taking a selfie and having my arm up pushed it higher! The back has a fairly deep v. xx

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    2. Four years is a long time for storage! No wonder it tarnished. Thank you for the further advice about bicarb. Very reassuring. Can understand why salt would be a no-no. Do you know if it works with brass - or OK to use with brass? My brass is so badly tarnished I don't know if anything would work. It's very big too. Australian Brasso doesn't really seem to do the trick. At least probably not without weeks of elbow grease.
      Yes, can see the selfie angle would have done that to the beautiful dress. The shoes are spectacular as well! How interesting it was your mother who gave you the jug. Didn't know it was designed in Adelaide by the Jam Factory. Fink is based in Canberra region as you'd know. I just thought it was designed by "Mr Fink". We also have the shiny silver one (silver coloured) in same shape which they've stopped making because the production costs were so high to buff it to the shiny smooth surface.

      Good luck with the Herend Caper. Big truck lined up! Pammie xxx

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    3. Ugh - just saw I've written you're instead of your in what I wrote. Hate that! It won't work with brass - try a mix of bicarb and vinegar or lemon juice to make a paste and rub that in, let it sit for a bit then buff it off. Once you've taken off most of the tarnish a rub with brasso should do the trick.
      No idea why the jug is called the Fink, but it's probably the most famous thing to come out of the Jam factory (as an object, rather than a person!). Your silver one sounds lovely, and I"ve never seen one in person, so they must've discontinued it a while ago.
      Ha to the Herend! xx

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  6. I'm checking in for the first time in a while, I love the slate. Absolutely gorgeous.

    We had people over for lunch yesterday and I cooked from Jerusalem too, so delicious.

    Glad to see the shoes of shame got another wear ;)

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    1. Hi Gabi, they are hands down my favourite cookbooks at the moment - so tasty, fresh flavours and suit Summer perfectly. Plus easy recipes and lots of salad type things. I'm sure your lunch was a big success too! xx

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    2. It was very well received thanks. Love his salads. I made the clementine cake (but with oranges as it's not clementine season) was delicious and can be made ahead :)

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    3. I'll have to look that one up - love an orange cake x

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  7. Heidi, you live so well, I think you must be an incredible hostess. You are straight out of the pages of a lifestyle mag here.

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    1. Not at all! The number of times I serve something and it's gone a bit wrong... although it always tastes good! xx

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  8. I'm looking at chairs! Are they real or replica Eames chairs please?
    How annoying that they keep breaking!
    I was looking for chairs and considering Eames but after this, think Tolix may be the answer.
    Thanks!

    PS I know everyone else is interested in kitchen appliances. I'm super interested in more information about the grey flooring.

    PPS I loath clothes airers around the house too and now want a pully system too!

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    1. Hello! They are replicas, but truth be told I think the problem is that I went with the fibreglass shells, which are more 'authentic' than the plastic ones (that was the material the originals in the 50s were made out of). Fibreglass doesn't work well in compression, so when someone is leaning back in the chair with a fair bit of weight (i.e., a tall man) they tend to snap. The newer plastic shells are much stronger, so you should be fine if you order those.
      The flooring in the house is sheet Linoleum from Forbo, I wrote a post about lino here http://adelaidevilla.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/the-b-word.html the part about the lino is halfway down (sorry, all the photo links were broken, so it's a very wordy post!). If you've got any other questions, just ask! xx

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    2. Thank god the chairs weren't the originals, you might be up for destroying an iconic object!!!

      i like the dark blue glasses

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  9. Oh wow, everything looks fabulous! You look stunning in the Lela Rose and the shoes of shame (worth every penny, I say!). I love the topiaries in the outdoor area, so elegant. I must check out this Ottolenghi cookbook that everyone is talking about. I recently took out Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook but found it hard to get past all her 'rules' for what to avoid, it felt like food phobia taken to the extreme.

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    1. Thanks Louise! The shoes of shame have actually had a fair bit of wear, so while I can't claim they were a bargain yet, with around another 10 years of wear, maybe I can!
      The Ottolenghi books are excellent! No food phobias in them at all, and very easy tasty recipes. xx

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  10. Can't get past the notion of cooking and serving a meal in those heels…you are a much more glamorous hostess than I!!

    It must be so wonderful to finally have this space up and running so you can do what you love best. The parmesan balls sound wickedly delish.

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    1. I hesitated about the shoes, but decided as I'd prepared everything in advance they'd be ok... otherwise I'm usually in flats
      Just loving being able to have people over. Might post the recipe for the parmesan balls, they are so yummy! xx

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    2. Please do, they sound yummy!

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  11. Hello Heidi, everything looks gorgeous including yourself! Well done...
    Those parmesan olive balls, just the thing I have been looking for. We have an Italian version but it is very,very time consuming in which you peel the olive off the pip, then stuff it and then crumb it...don't have the time for this. Could you give us the recipe for yours if it's not too much trouble? Thank you. Linda C.

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    1. Hi Linda, the parmesan balls sound a lot easier than your (delicious sounding) crumbed and hand stuffed ones! I'll post the recipe with the appliance review later this week. xx

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  12. Hoorah for entertaining! It's had a big hiatus here with our build too and, along with gardening, the thing I most miss. I am quite horrified about your chairs; they were to be a contender here if I got the opportunity to buy a new dining setting.

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    1. They'll probably be ok if you don't choose the fibreglass shell - I answered an anon question up a bit higher about the problems I've had. I'm on the hunt for new dining chairs now, but they're so expensive.... so many other things to spend money on!!
      Your place is looking fabulous KL, so it won't be long before it's your turn to host a few dinners too (and we owe so many people now...!) xx

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  13. I love entertaining, but have become basic with meal preparation and table decore as half my guests seem to be children! You look lovely in that Lela Rose dress, Will give that olive combination a whirl, once I complete this girl diet successfully!

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    1. I know the feeling - it feels very decadent when you can eat grown up food and not be interrupted every few minutes to fetch someone a drink, or cut up their food for them!
      Am keeping my fingers crossed for you with the girl diet... sugar and spice and all things nice. Right??! xx

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  14. You need to entertain more!!!! So much fun esp as you have a dishwasher. Luff the frock and the canapés and the outdoor stuff and the box xxxx

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    1. We owe so many people I will be doing penance for the next year! I have two dishwashers!! I had thought this was a bit over the top, but am SO happy to have them - I never have dishes left to wash after filling one up, after lunch yesterday, the kitchen was all cleaned up in 20 minutes having hosted 14 people. xx

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  15. I shall have to buy some of those cutlery rolls and they are fom John Lewis, just a forty minute drive from home! Your Lela Rose dress looks so pretty and the canapés and pavlova in particular look delicious. Over the years I've learnt to serve dishes that can me made in advance. I can remember trying to be too ambitious and then entertaining becomes too comlpicated and hard work too!

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    1. Lucky you to be near John Lewis! I think making as much in advance is crucial - I've done exactly the same as you, and have also been to dinner parties where you never see the host, so I've learnt to avoid lots of last minute cooking wherever possible. xx

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  16. Those heels are the shizz, as is the dress, but when I am slaving over a hot stove and guests I like to be comfy.

    Style and hostessing - that is a formidable talent!

    Bit of a shame about the eames chairs. The wooden ones would last well, I'd imagine

    (PS the shizz means lovely in cilla-ese)

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    1. There was no hot stove to slave over! Otherwise I would have been in flats, which I often wear when we have people to dinner - can't stand sore feet half way through a night. Most things were prepared well in advance so were just throw together at the end on the plate type things.
      I think any of the other types of eames chairs would do better than the fibreglass shells we have. It's so annoying, I hate waste, and you can't do much with the legs. xx

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  17. Everything looks gorgeous. Great news to hear you are back in entertaining mode! I love the last picture of the cake with your cabinets in the background the the brass pulls. Looks front cover of a magazine worthy. That sucks about the chairs. Dining table chairs are so hard to buy. I worry about things like that. Like the joins loosening and the back coming away from the base. Sitting in a chair and it breaking, no matter who you are is embarrassing, especially if you are a heavier person. That is why I bought the most indestructible chairs I could find because I come from a family of heavy people and I don't want anyone to be uncomfortable sitting at my place. The chairs aren't to my taste though, but never mind.

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    1. I liked that photo too - the light was coming in the perfect angle with the shadows. A total fluke as I'm so poor at photography! It's interesting that chairs are often the most expensive part of the equation in a dining set, but everyone thinks the chairs should be cheaper than the table - but they're crucial (and more designed than the table) as bad ones ruin your night/ life. I won't be buying another set of cheap ones though. At least I didn't waste a lot of money on these xx

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  18. Oh my gosh, everything looks glorious as do you (shoes or shame?? explain). That outdoor swingy pad is so cool as are your settings, you are all set up for caj or posh all on the same table - don't you just love that? Have never been organised enough with my cutlery - yours inspire me to get some decent knives and forks that aren't rusty (yes!) I'm probably poisoning all my guest plus knives so blunt, we all have to have invalids pudding for dinner.

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    1. The Shoes of Shame are so called because I wrote a blog post last year about how I was going to not buy them, and be really strong even though I wanted them (the post was here http://adelaidevilla.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/shoes-or-bag.html
      Then I bought them 24 hours later. Yes, I have enormous will power.
      Rusty cutlery you say??? Terrible!! Glad I've inspired you to stop poisoning your family!! xx

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  19. The cutlery rolls are amazing... I have kept my silver in them for years and have only needed to clean the cutlery twice in 30 years!!!!! I also love your dress and the pavlova looks sublime. You are such an accomplished cook too... I can tell!! How lovely to finally be loving your new home and enjoying the benefits of all your planning and hard work! We are yet to move in to ours! xxx

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  20. Oh Heidi. This is such a treat to see. Go you! J x

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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