Interview: Rue Kothari

01 Dec 2011
By Ahlanlive.com

The Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors shares her entertaining advice and favourite menu

Balancing her glamorous role as the editor of the region’s most fashionable interiors magazine with looking after her three-yearold daughter Inara and husband Russ, you’d think that Rue Kothari doesn’t have much time for entertaining at home, however the devoted foodie loves to entertain at her Umm Suquiem villa at least every couple of weeks. “It’s so much more intimate to have friends come to my home than all of us going out to a restaurant, as I know we’ll share food we all love and everyone will be so much more relaxed. For me, cooking and entertaining isn’t a chore or a stress… it’s therapy.”

When it comes to her menus, Rue has an honest approach. “Opt for simple, uncomplicated recipes that combine beautiful flavours and use the freshest, finest ingredients. That is guaranteed to do justice to the recipe and create dishes your guests will adore.” And as a stylish hostess, Rue’s approach is also just as realistic: “For your guests to be comfortable, you need to be relaxed and welcoming, and most importantly be enjoying spending time with them rather than stuck in the kitchen. So make sure you’re organised and choose dishes that you can execute easily and then present them beautifully, that way you can enjoy your party and your food, as much as your guests.”

Rue’s entertaining advice
Make sure you have a beautiful table – it’s so simple to decorate it beautifully. Try flowers or fresh herbs, lots of candles (lighting is so important to create the right atmosphere) and mixmatched place settings to create a lovely and inviting atmosphere.

Create some theatre at your table by serving everything together – there’s nothing more boring than being handed a plate with “meat and two veg” on it. Put everything in the middle and have your guests serve themselves.

If you love the food, you’re guests will also love it. Remember to enjoy yourself in the kitchen and in the dining room – if you’re happy and smiling, so will your guests.

STARTERS

Goats cheese crostini with honey and thyme

Ingredients
Mild goats cheese
Organic / good quality honey
Fresh sprigs of thyme
Day old baguette, sliced

Serves: 6

Method:
On slices of baguette, lay thick slices of goat’s cheese, drizzle honey and lay on thyme sprigs. Grill under medium flame for ten minutes.

Melon, prosciutto and rocket salad with pecorino

Ingredients
Half chanterais / rock melon
Handful rocket leaves
Proscuitto / or chicken
equivalent
Pecorino
Serves 6

Method:
Slice the melon thinly and lay on a large plate, lay thin slices of your prosciutto on top, scatter the rocket and place the shaved pecorino on top. Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

MAIN

Lemon, chilli and mint courgette salad

Ingredients
2 large organic courgettes
2 small red birds eye chillies
Handful of fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
Lemon

Serves: 6

Method:
Cut the courgettes lengthways in thin slices and pat dry with a towel. Sprinkle a little smoked sea salt then quickly char on a griddle pan. Lay each piece on a large serving plate, being careful not to overlap or they’ll steam and become soggy. Next, sprinkle over chopped garlic, shredded mint leaves and as much finely chopped red chilli as you dare. Finish with a squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil and a little black pepper.

Soy and ginger beef

Ingredients
1.5kg organic beef tenderloin
180ml Japanese soy sauce
1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup water
¼ cup tightly packed brown sugar

Method:
Put all the ingredients in a shallow dish and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. Before cooking allow the beef to drain into a saucepan and reserve the marinade. Then seal the beef on a high heat before slow cooking in the oven for 20 minutes for medium rare, and slice. Meanwhile, heat and reduce the sauce, to pour over the sliced beef.

Serve with… Coriander potatoes
Good quality baby potatoes
Handful of fresh coriander
Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, then add the finely chopped coriander, a slug of olive oil and a good dose of salt and pepper.


DESSERT

Strawberry and mint mess

Ingredients
2 packets of ready-made small meringues
1 small tub organic crème fraiche
Light cream
2 punnets organic strawberries
Handful mint leaves

Serves: 6

Method:
Crush the meringues into a large mixing bowl. Add a tub of organic crème fraiche, roughly chopped strawberries, and finely sliced mint leaves and combine gently. Then pour in the cream to loosen. Serve in a glass with a mini meringue and sprig of mint.