Virtual Dinner Party No. 13 – Leeks, Chicken, Citrus Fruits!

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(Update: For VDP No. 14, click here)
Coronavirus Lockdown – 2021

Here we are in July in Melbourne, 2021, and we are in lockdown again. Other states and territories too have been locked down when Covid outbreaks occur in the community, having escaped from our hotel quarantine system. Each lockdown only means several dozens of infections, or even less than half a dozen, before the outbreak is brought under control. And they can be over within a week. Then back to fairly normal lives and lifestyles. NSW, however, is the outlier state – unwilling to go into lockdown, meaning that infections have escaped from there to some other states. Fingers crossed that they will lock down hard soon too.

So when South Australia went into lockdown at the end of June, we were pleased when our Adelaide friends were in contact to organise another virtual dinner party. Our two regular VDP Melbourne friends joined us, giving six people in attendance via Zoom.

We developed the menu for VDP No. 13. It was designed to be healthy and straightforward, but interesting as well. With all three couples familiar with the system, we were all ‘on the one page’ in terms of timing, cooking and serving, so we didn’t prepare a running sheet.

Here is the link to the first of our VDPs: Virtual Dinner Party No. 1. From there you can link through to subsequent ones. (If you think you might give a VDP a try, at the end we give four useful web links that are worth reviewing.)

The Menu for Virtual Dinner Party No. 13

Generally our aim is for a menu that is easy to prepare and finish off and for dishes that are not too heavy or rich. Below we give links or pdfs for recipes and useful background to each dish.

Braised leeks is a classic French dish which feels healthy. It has a luscious mouth feel from the softness of the leeks combined with the dressing. They can be made the day before if you wish as the flavours develop. Make more than you need as they last well.

The chicken dish comes from one of Adam Liaw’s recent nightly programs on SBS. It is very easy and, according to the website, can be put together in five minutes. It too feels very healthy, as do the Brussels sprouts and pumpkin. The three main dishes could all be prepared well beforehand, and all three put in the oven more or less at the same time, under a watchful eye.

The citrus carpaccio is my invention; the lime syrup isn’t. It is an amazing syrup from a once famous chef. The syrup can be made well beforehand. The fruits can be segmented and the carpaccio prepared within a few minutes before serving. If you don’t wish to make the syrup try a squeeze of lime juice over the top and perhaps a sprinkle of caster sugar.


Braised leeks in vinaigrette – Many recipes are available, for example, here and here
Optional: Grilled slice of baguette, brioche roll (or similar) with grilled feta or goats cheese on top

Main Course

Oven-baked chicken thighs with olives, tomato and lemon – For recipe see here
Baked Brussels sprouts – For our method see below and for other ideas see here
Baked pumpkin – For our method, see recipe


Carpaccio of citrus fruits with lime syrup – For details, see recipe and method

Gewurztraminer, or Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) with the leeks. Malbec or similar with the chicken. Standard sticky white with the fruit.

How it all panned out

It all worked out as planned. We started at 7.30 pm Melbourne time; 7.00 pm Adelaide time. We finished four hours later!

Following are some photos. The chicken photo is from the SBS website as we forgot to take photos at the time. The last photo shows the preparation of the lime zest and shreds.


Some Useful Links

Dinner parties go digital during coronavirus outbreak: ‘We lock in every Saturday night’

How To Throw A Virtual Dinner Party

How to have a virtual dinner with friends or loved ones

Here’s How to Have Your Own Virtual Dinner Party During Coronavirus Quarantine

Contributions welcomed!

If you have had your own VDP (virtual dinner party) or virtual foodie or wine experiences, we are happy to hear about them, including the menu, wines, etc (and good quality photos if you have any) and why it turned out so well.