Entertaining Essentials | Winter Dining

  • Join us as we curate an edit of winter dining essentials; timeless, elegant furniture paired with a warm Italian-inspired feast ideal for hosting family and friends. 

    As the months get cooler and we spend more time indoors, we turn our attention to winter dining. Think homely ‘comfort food’, shared with family and friends, before unwinding in front of a toasty fireplace – fine wine in hand. 

    To complete est’s four-part entertaining series, we return to Victoria’s hinterland in Red Hill for our final instalment. Enlisting the assistance of KING and the expertise of Italian chef Joe Vargetto, est curates an ideal winter dining edit – guaranteed to make your next home event the talk of the season.

    Produced in partnership with King

    KING Cassia bar stool  | Ceramics from Pepite

    Aperitifs and Antipasti

    The key to a memorable winter gathering is ensuring your visitors are cosy and comfortable. Adequate furniture options allow guests to mingle before sitting down for the more formal part of the evening. For example, the kitchen area, usually full of chatter around the island bench, is ideal for the informal KING Cassia bar stool. More comfortable seating in the living room, such as the KING Oliver tub chair, Zaza sofa and Fleur bench, offers versatility and that all-important ‘sink in’ feeling as guests get reacquainted. 

    The Main Event

    As the heart of any dinner party, the dining room is the focal point where your guests will spend most of their time. The KING Issho dining table is not only spacious but sculptural – and also comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, suited to any sized dining room. Pair this with the King Amara timber dining chairs for timeless design, comfort and the option of timber, leather or premium fabrics to suit any colour scheme.

    The KING Oliver tub chair, Zaza sofa and Fleur bench elegantly surround the Issho coffee table, Issho side table and ceramics from Pepite.

    Dessert and Digestifs

    Conclude your evening in sweet style with Joe Vargetto’s winter dessert, followed by a nightcap savoured around the fireplace. Arranged for comfort, the living room includes the KING Zaza sofa, Fleur bench and Oliver tub occasional chairs, each allowing the space to be configured to suit your guest list. Tailored covers are easily removed for cleaning or replacing – allowing you to simply relax and unwind.

    KING Zaza sofa, Fleur bench, Issho coffee table and complementary side table. Ceramics from Pepite.

    Winter Warmer Menu

    To curate an ideal dinner party menu, we turn to Siciliano: Contemporary Sicilian author and chef Joe Vargetto for his culinary expertise. Joe’s four-course feast is handpicked for its seasonality, taking full advantage of winter produce. As a result, all dishes can be prepared and ready to serve with little fuss from the kitchen – enabling you to spend more time with your family and friends. 

    Antipasti: Duck meatballs with mandarin and kohlrabi sauerkraut

    Primi: Jerusalem artichoke soup with pan-fried scallops and fried grissini

    Secondi: Slow-cooked short rib with celery leaf spatzle

    Dolce: Poached quince in chinotto, Zanzibar rum gelato

    Antipasti: Duck meatballs with mandarin and kohirabi sauerkraut

    Primi: Jerusalem artichoke soup with pan-fried scallops and fried grissini

    Duck Meatballs with Mandarin and Kohlrabi Sauerkraut

    Ingredients: 1 kohlrabi, 2kg duck breast, minced with skin on, 1kg minced beef, 200g cooked rice, 1tbsp olive oil, 1 large garlic clove, minced, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 onion, finely chopped, 200g breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped, 50g salt, 100ml vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. 

    Sauce: 100g sugar, 20ml fresh orange juice, 20ml white wine vinegar, 1 pinch of salt, 4 mandarins, peeled and pith removed.

    Method: Kohlrabi sauerkraut – Peel and finely slice the kohlrabi in thin batons. Add the salt to the kohlrabi and let sit for a few hours. Rinse well and add the vinegar to marinate.

    Duck meatballs: In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the sunflower oil. Add the garlic, coriander and cumin, and cook for two minutes until garlic and spices become fragrant. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, thyme, and cooled onion mixture. Set aside. Combine the breadcrumb mixture with the duck meat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands. Leave the mixture in the fridge for one to two hours (or in the freezer for 20 minutes) to firm up. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. Roll the meat mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and space them out evenly onto the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. (Tip: Do not over-bake, as the meatballs will become dry).

    While the meatballs are in the oven, begin to make the mandarin sauce. Add the orange juice, sugar, vinegar and salt. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble vigorously. Continue to simmer over low heat, occasionally stirring, until emulsified. Remove syrup from heat and add the mandarins. Allow infusing.

    Assembly: Place the meatballs over a bed of sauerkraut. Place a segment of mandarin over each meatball and drizzle with sauce. Serves six.

    See all recipes in Joe Vargetto’s cookbook: Siciliano: Contemporary Sicilian

    Secondi: Slow-cooked short rib with celery leaf spaetzle

    Dolce: Poached quince in chinotto, Zanzibar rum gelato

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