Philippa Sibley's dinner party menu: $50 for six people

Philippa Sibley's carrot and chervil soup, from her cookbook, New Classics.
Philippa Sibley's carrot and chervil soup, from her cookbook, New Classics. Photo: Hardie Grant

Entree: Carrot and chervil soup with amaretti

1 small all-purpose potato, preferably desiree, peeled and very thinly sliced

500ml chicken stock or water

500ml thickened (whipping) cream

1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced

1 small brown onion, thinly sliced

100g butter

500g carrots, peeled and grated

2 tsp sugar

1 bunch chervil stalks, washed


salt and white pepper

12 amaretti biscuits, roughly broken

thoroughly picked sprigs of chervil for garnish (reserve 1 tbsp for main course)

1. Put the potato in a saucepan with the stock and cream and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, sweat the leek and onion in the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, until soft but not coloured. Add the carrots and continue to sweat until most of the moisture has evaporated. This will take some time.

3. Sprinkle on the sugar and reduce until all the moisture has gone again. By this time the potato should be cooked in the stock and cream. Add this to the carrot mixture.

4. Add the chervil stalks then remove the pan from the heat. Put the soup in a blender and process very thoroughly in small batches, then push through a fine sieve. Season with salt and white pepper.

5. To serve, divide the soup among warm bowls. Sprinkle on some crushed amaretti biscuit and garnish with chervil sprigs.

Main: Roasted chicken, braised celery, bois boudran sauce, fingerling potatoes

1 ½ large bunches celery

125g butter

2 sprigs thyme

about 500ml chicken stock

1.2kg chicken, trussed

salt and pepper

1 large onion, sliced into 1cm thick slices

500g kipfler (fingerling) or small new potatoes

extra-virgin olive oil

chervil, chives and basil leaves for garnish

Bois boudran sauce

150ml light olive oil

50ml white wine vinegar

90ml tomato sauce (ketchup)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

5 drops Tabasco

80g finely diced French shallots

1 tbsp finely chopped chives

1 tbsp finely chopped chervil

25g fresh basil, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1. To make the bois boudran sauce, combine all the ingredients thoroughly and adjust the seasoning. Set aside at room temperature.

2. Heat the oven to 190C. Cut the celery about 10 centimetres from the base. Remove the outer, dark green stalks. Trim the base. Slice in half lengthways. Melt 50 grams of the butter in a flameproof baking dish and add the thyme. Place the celery in the dish, cut-side down, and pour in enough stock to cover the celery. Press a piece of baking paper on the surface then cover with foil. Place in the oven while you prepare the chicken.

3. Rub the chicken with the remaining butter and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Lay in the onion slices then place the chicken on top. Add about 125 millilitres of chicken stock or water and roast for 30 minutes. Check it's ready by piercing a thigh. If the juices run clear it is cooked. Invert the chicken so the cavity is upwards. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Remove the string from the chicken, then carve off the legs and then the breasts. Separate the legs and thighs and carve the breasts in half. Put all the pieces into a dish and spoon over the bois boudran sauce. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

5. Remove the celery from the oven and let it cool in the stock. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender enough to pierce easily with the tip of a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and toss them with some extra-virgin olive oil.

6. To serve, cut the celery again lengthways into thin slices and arrange on a platter, then add the chicken and potatoes. Spoon any excess sauce over the chicken and serve. Garnish with chervil, chives and basil leaves.

Dessert: Citrus and passionfruit, mascarpone, lemongrass syrup

1 pink grapefruit, peeled and sliced crossways

2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced crossways

1 orange, peeled and sliced crossways

3 mandarins, peeled and sliced crossways

3 passionfruit, pulp removed

250g mascarpone

Lemongrass syrup

finely grated zest and strained juice of 1 lime

250g castor sugar

1 lemongrass stem

1. To make the lemongrass syrup, rub the lime zest into the sugar to release the oils, then combine the mixture with 200 millilitres of water and bring it to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to bubble for several minutes. Bash the lemongrass with a rolling pin or chop it up roughly, and add it to the syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and let the lemongrass infuse as it cools down, for several minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, then add the lime juice.

2. Arrange the fruit in serving bowls and top each with a quenelle of mascarpone. Drizzle with lemongrass syrup and serve.

Recipes adapted from New Classics by Philippa Sibley (Hardie Grant). Images supplied by Hardie Grant.