Three course dinner party recipes – Adrian Martin’s perfect meal to wow your guests, with alternatives

Adrian Martin showcases some of his favourite dishes to wow your dinner guests.

Carrot and coconut soup


Carrot and coconut soup by chef Adrian Martin. Picture by A Fox in the Kitchen

Sometimes the simple things are just amazing as a starter. To keep everyone happy, a good-flavoured soup can really hit the spot. French baguettes or a white bread plait both go really well with this.

Serves 6


1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

4 sprigs of thyme, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

900g carrots, peeled and chopped

1.25 litres chicken stock

400g tin of coconut milk

Sea salt to season

To serve

200ml softly whipped cream

10g affilla cress

Crusty homemade bread


1. Put a large saucepan on a high heat and sweat the onions, thyme and garlic in the olive oil until nicely softened.

2. Add in the chopped carrots and reduce the heat to medium. Sweat the carrots for around 10-15 minutes to release the maximum flavour from them. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and allow to simmer until the carrots soften.

3. Once soft enough, blend with a hand blender. Once blended, add the coconut milk and return to the heat for 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt.

4. When serving this soup, I like to give it a froth for presentation purposes. To do this, pour the soup into a jug and use the hand blender on a low speed with up and down motions to make the soup frothy.

5. Pour into a bowl and then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Place a piece of affilla cress on top of the cream and then serve with some crusty homemade bread.

Olive tapenade bread


Olive tapenade bread by chef Adrian Martin. Picture by A Fox in the Kitchen

This olive tapenade bread works really nicely with bacon and onion bread. Serve slices of the two together before any dinner party or special occasion to truly impress your guests.

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves


500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

7g instant yeast

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of caster sugar

325ml tepid water

Olive tapenade

Olive oil for greasing

1 egg yolk, beaten


1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then pour in the water and mix with a fork until the dough comes together.

2. Tip the dough on to a work surface dusted with a bit of flour and knead for 10 minutes until well combined – when you press your finger into the dough it should spring back. The dough should also be nice and smooth. Place it back into the mixing bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and allow to prove for an hour in a warm place.

3. After an hour, knock back the dough. To knock it back all you need to do is punch all the air out of the risen dough. Now you are ready to shape. You can make either two small loaves or one large one. I like them smaller, but it’s entirely up to you.

4. To make one loaf, roll all the dough out into a flat rectangle on your work surface with a rolling pin. The length of the dough should be the same as the length of the tin you are using, the largest tin you can use being a 2lb loaf tin. Spread the olive tapenade evenly across the whole dough with a palette knife.

5. Now roll the dough like a Swiss roll, nice and tight, and then seal the edges with your fingertips so it doesn’t open in the oven. Grease the baking tin with a little olive oil and then set the bread into it. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 15-20 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6.

7. Brush the beaten egg yolk over the whole surface and then place into the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes. To check that the loaf is properly cooked, tip it out of the tin and tap the base. It should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

8. Once cooked, tip the bread out and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Sweet Potato


Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Sweet Potato

This was the cut of meat I most wanted to learn how to cook when training. If you don’t want to do this yourself, your butcher will French-trim the rack for you. The Dijon mustard brushed on really complements the flavour of the lamb and allows the crust to stick.

Serves 4


2 racks of lamb cut in half (3 bones per serving)

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Olive oil

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

8 pearl onions

2 little gem lettuce, sliced thinly

1 tbsp butter

For the crust 4 slices of stale bread made into crumbs

Small bunch of parsley

4 sprigs of thyme

For the sweet potato fondant 1 large sweet potato, peeled

2 tbsp butter

300ml water

2 sprigs of thyme


1. Place the lamb on a chopping board fat side up. Lightly score the fat layer with a sharp knife. Next, generously sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. Mop up the excess seasoning with the meat, ensuring it is thoroughly coated.

Heat some oil in a frying pan on a high heat. Seal the lamb by placing each side in the oil long enough to develop colour. It is simple: no colour equals no taste, so make sure you brown the lamb properly.

2. Transfer the lamb to a preheated oven at 190ºC/410ºF/gas mark 6 and bake for 7-8 minutes. While the lamb is cooking, you can prepare the crust.

3. Place all of the ingredients for the crust into a blender and pulse several times until it looks nice and green. Pour the mixture into a deep dish and set aside.

4. Remove the lamb from the oven and brush generously with the mustard. Dip the lamb into the crust mixture coating it completely. Dip it several times to ensure an even coating, then allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes covered in tinfoil.

While the meat is resting, make the fondant. Cut the sweet potato with a sharp knife so you are left with 2cm-thick rounds. With a 5cm fondant cutter, cut out four perfect rounds of sweet potato. Keep whatever is left over for a purée.

5. Add the sweet potato, 1 tablespoon of butter, water and thyme to a small frying pan. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side until softened but not overcooked. Once cooked, pour away the liquid and cook the rounds in a little olive oil and the other tablespoon of butter with the pearl onions, until coloured on the outside.

6. Sauté the sliced little gem in a little olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter and salt to taste for 30 seconds in a separate small saucepan on a high heat.

7. When you are almost ready to serve, place the lamb back into the oven for 3-4 minutes. Slice through each chop once ready. This is best served pink.

8. To plate up, put a little carrot and star anise purée and some of the little gem lettuce on a plate, then sit a portion of lamb on top. Add one piece of sweet potato fondant, a couple of pearl onions and spoon on the warm red wine jus (see panels).

Pear tart tatin


Pear tart tatin by chef Adrian Martin. Picture by A Fox in the Kitchen

This elegant dessert is designed to serve two, but you can easily make an extra tatin or two to serve more. I find vanilla pods dusted with icing sugar are the perfect finishing touch. Dry the empty pods after you have used them in the ice-cream to use for decoration.

Serves 2


4 large ripe pears (any kind)

250g ready-made puff pastry

50g cold, unsalted butter

50g caster sugar

To serve

2-3 vanilla pods (seeds removed), sliced lengthways and dusted with icing sugar (optional)

Vanilla ice-cream


1. Peel and halve the pears, then scoop out the cores using a melon baller. Lay the pears out on a tray lined with kitchen paper and pat them with more kitchen paper. Leave to dry uncovered for a few hours, or chill overnight if possible – it won’t matter if they discolour because they will be coated in caramel.

2. Roll out the puff pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out a 24cm round, using a similar-sized plate as a guide. Lift on to a baking sheet and chill while you prepare the filling.

3. Cut the butter into thin slices and scatter over the bottom of a 20cm, shallow, oven-proof pan. Sprinkle over the sugar. Arrange the pear halves neatly around the pan with one in the middle. Place over a medium heat until the butter and sugar have melted and formed a light caramel. Carefully shake the pan every now and again to ensure that the pears are well coated with the caramel and are evenly brown. Leave to cool slightly.

4. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200ºC/425ºF/gas mark 7. Drape the pastry over the pears and carefully tuck the edges down the side of the pan. Place the pan into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven setting to 180ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6 and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool.

5. To serve, dust the vanilla pods (if using) heavily with icing sugar, shaking off the excess. Turn out the tart tatin on to a serving plate, top with the sugar-dusted vanilla pods and serve with scoops of vanilla ice-cream in small bowls on the side.

Scallops, black pudding and butternut squash


Scallops, black pudding and butternut squash by chef Adrian Martin. Picture by A Fox in the Kitchen

An elegant starter that gets a beautiful balance from the meatiness of the black pudding, the sweetness of the scallops and butternut, and the crispy, salty texture of the Parma ham.

Serves 2


1 small butternut squash, peeled

200ml white wine vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

½ tsp mixed peppercorns

½ tsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp butter

100ml chicken stock or water

2 slices of Parma ham

6 large scallops, trimmed and row removed

Sea salt to season

2 tbsp olive oil

6 thin slices of black pudding

To garnish Butternut squash purée (see panel)

A handful of micro coriander


1. First, prepare the squash. With a mandoline, slice the top half of the squash as thin as you can for the pickle. You will really only need five to six nice round slices. Place the slices in a jar or container.

2. Place the white wine vinegar, sugar, pepper­corns and fennel seeds in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Then pour this mixture over the squash slices, completely covering them. Allow to cool, then refrigerate.

3. With an extra-small melon baller, cut out 10 little balls of butternut squash. Keep the rest of the squash for soups or even purée for this dish.

4. Place the butternut squash balls in a saucepan with the butter and stock, and cook on a really low heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

5. Place the Parma ham between two sheets of parchment paper and sandwich it between two trays. Place into a preheated oven at 190ºC/410ºF/gas mark 6 for 12-14 minutes until crisp. You can do this the day before.

6. For the scallops, add oil to a smoking hot pan, season the scallops with sea salt on both sides and place in the pan. Add in the black pudding. Cook the scallops until golden, remove and drain on kitchen paper.

7. Put some purée and the pickle mix on a plate, then the squash balls, scallops and black pudding. Top with the crispy Parma ham and micro leaves. Enjoy!

Wild Sea Trout with Red Pepper Orzo and Glazed Beetroot with Baby Vegetables

I love sea trout. Its flavour is very subtle and sweet. We can eat lots of this fish as it is not under threat. Try to sub it in for salmon when you can. I love it with a crispy skin. Orzo looks quite like rice, but is a pasta, so be careful not to overcook it. It’s a great carrier of flavour.

Serves 2


2 small beetroot

Olive oil

6 asparagus spears

1 baby courgette

40g sea samphire

2 tbsp butter

400ml fish stock

Sea salt to season

100g orzo

40g red pepper purée, plus extra for serving (see panel)

200ml cherry (or ordinary) balsamic vinegar

2 x 150g fillets of sea trout, skin on

2 sprigs of thyme


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6.

2. Start with the beetroot. Cut off the long green stalks, but not too close to the root or their colour will bleed, then rub them with some olive oil and wrap them in tinfoil. Place them on to a baking tray and roast in the oven until softened. Small beetroots take around 35 minutes. You’ll know they are cooked as they will be soft – to test this, you can pierce them with a small, sharp knife.

3. In the meantime, prepare the baby vegetables. All we want are the tips of the asparagus, so cut off the stalks (these can be kept for soups and stocks). Slice the courgette into nice thin rounds with a knife. Pick the bottom stalks off the sea samphire as these can be very chewy. Once you have these prepared, place them all into a small saucepan and add in 1 tablespoon of butter and 200ml of fish stock. Season with a small pinch of sea salt and set aside.

4. Add the orzo to a pot of boiling salted water and cook it according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain off the water and stir the red pepper purée through the orzo. Season to taste with sea salt and keep warm.

5. Remove the beetroots from the oven and peel off the skin with a small knife. I recommend wearing disposable gloves when doing this. Cut the beetroots into segments. Heat a small frying pan until nice and hot, then add the balsamic vinegar and beetroot segments. Allow the beetroot segments to go sticky and glazed. This normally takes 2-3 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

6. Score the skin of the fish and pat it dry with kitchen paper. This allows the fish to become extra crispy. Heat a pan until it is smoking hot. At this stage, you can put your baby vegetables on to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season the fish with sea salt on both sides. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and place the fish into it, skin side down. You’ll need to press the flesh down so that the skin gets full contact with the pan, as otherwise the fish will curl up. Use a fish slice to press it down.

7. Cook the fish with the skin side down until it is about 80pc cooked. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Don’t be afraid to turn the heat up or down to control the cooking. When the fish is mostly cooked, turn it and add in 1 tablespoon of butter, 200ml of fish stock and the fresh thyme. Finish the fish in this emulsion for 2-3 minutes. Now you are ready to serve.

8. To plate, place a good spoon of red pepper purée on the plate and swipe through it with a palette knife. Place some orzo to one side of the purée, then lay a piece of fish on top. Arrange the baby vegetables and glazed beetroot around the orzo. Finish with some spinach purée on the plate, if using, and serve.

Roasted Red Pepper Purée

Makes about 600ml


1 shallot diced

2 tbsp olive oil

2 x 460g jars of roasted red peppers (or you can roast 2 red peppers)

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp butter

Sea salt to season


1. Sweat the shallot in the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat until softened.

2. Remove the peppers from the jars, draining off the brine. Chop roughly and then add to the saucepan with the shallot. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, making sure to stir now and again.

3. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Place the saucepan contents into a food processor and add the butter and a small amount of sea salt to taste. Blend until nice and smooth.

5. Pass through a fine sieve to make super smooth. Store in a squeezy bottle and use as required. This will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Carrot and Star Anise Purée

Makes about 600ml


5 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 star anise

200ml cream

100g butter

Sea salt


1. Place the sliced carrot and star anise in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until the carrots are very soft and can be mashed easily with a fork.

2. Drain the water from the pot and allow the carrot and star anise to steam so the water evaporates. Once it has stopped steaming, add the cream and place on a high heat. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a medium heat and cook for 1 minute.

3. Put the carrot, cream and butter into the blender. Discard the star anise before blending. Season with sea salt, adding small amounts until you are happy with the taste, then blend until very smooth.

4. The purée should be a thick enough consistency to coat the back of a spoon. A good tip for stabilising a wet purée is to add a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum to the purée and blitz until thickened.

5. If you like your purée very smooth, you can pass it through a sieve – use a ladle to push it through. (I highly recommend this if you plan to pipe the purée through a squeezy bottle.)

6. This will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Red Wine Jus

Makes 600ml


300ml red wine

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

100ml balsamic vinegar (sometimes I add cherry balsamic for a different flavour)

2 tbsp honey

600ml beef stock

1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 3 tbsp water (optional)


1. In a good-sized saucepan, add the red wine and herbs. Boil on a high heat until reduced by half, then add the balsamic vinegar and honey, and reduce slightly again. This normally takes about 5 minutes.

2. Add the beef stock, bring to the boil and thicken by reduction or with the cornflour. Taste and make sure it has the right balance of sweet and sour. Sometimes, you may need to adjust by adding a little more vinegar or honey. Pass through a sieve right before serving.

Butternut squash purée

Makes about 600ml


1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

100g butter

Sea salt


1. Place the butternut squash in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until it is soft enough to mash with a fork.

2. Drain the water from the pan and allow the squash to steam so the water evaporates. You’ll know the squash is ready to be blended when it starts to stick to the sides of the saucepan and no more steam rises from it.

3. Place the butter and softened squash into a blender. Season with sea salt and then blend until very smooth.

4. The purée should be a thick enough consistency to coat the back of a spoon. A good tip for stabilising a wet purée is to add a quarter teaspoon of xanthan gum to the purée and blitz until thickened.

5. If you like your purée very smooth, you can pass it through a sieve – use a ladle to push it through. (I highly recommend this if you plan to pipe the purée through a squeezy bottle.) This will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. Three course dinner party recipes – Adrian Martin’s perfect meal to wow your guests, with alternatives

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