At 5.30 every weekday night, our house stops dead in its tracks. It’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ time. Some may call this sad; I call it commitment to the cause. With Dave Lamb’s hilarious commentary (which, girls, let’s face it, we all find secretly sexy), a range of dishes from the delicious to the debatable, and bitchiness between guests only matched by ‘The Hills’ very own Kristen, how could we not crave our daily dose of this show?
This year we decided to take it one step further; we brought ‘Come Dine With Me’ home. Being a house of eight girls, we split into four pairs, drew the order of our nights, and, with a budget of £30 per pair, away we went. Now, being very competitive people, this was not a task to be taken lightly. A week of hushed whisperings, hidden notepads, and secret trips to Sainsbury’s ensued as everyone prepared for the big nights ahead. We decided that each evening was to have a theme, which everyone had to dress up for accordingly. There had to be three courses in one form or another, and after-dinner entertainment was not an essential, but recommended for those vital extra points. For those of you not familiar with ‘Come Dine With Me’, after each night, everyone who had attended gave the night a mark out of ten, and at the end of the four nights we added up the scores to find the winner.
We kicked off the week with a Moroccan themed night, and our dress consisted of headscarves galore, with many housemates whipping out their long-forgotten harem pants obtained on the standard trip to Thailand. Our hallway was transformed into a Moroccan palace, with drapes hanging from the ceiling and mountains of cushions for us to sit on. Moroccan music set the scene, and the smell of incense wafted around the room. The starter consisted of satayed chicken skewers on a bed of rocket salad. This was then followed by a main dish of lamb and apricot tagine, a dish that went down very well with the housemates who had not tried Moroccan food before. For dessert we indulged in pears soaked in rose water.
Night number two brought us a Jamaican carnival theme. The floor was covered in grass, and Bob Marley was played in the background. Rasta hats and bright colours were worn, and all applied fake tan liberally. Instead of separate courses, we had a BBQ buffet, with ribs, chicken drumsticks and burgers, as well as bowls of potato salads and pasta. This was rounded off with some, ahem, ‘special’ brownies, which prompted a very giggly end to the evening.
Next came a sex-themed night. Our lounge was transformed into a boudoir casually littered with questionable magazines, and the dress theme came with the motto of less is more. We started with an array of pitta, with a selection of dips, followed by chicken pie with mashed potato. The dessert of chocolate-covered strawberries was followed by a secretly organised Ann Summers party, providing lots of laughs throughout the night.
The final night had an oriental theme. Sitting on cushions with chopsticks in our hair, we started with some duck in plum sauce on a bed of salad. For main, we had steak marinated in honey and soy sauce, with a side of cold noodles. We finished the meal with a very impressive attempt at some home-made fortune cookies, with a personalized fortune for each person ten years down the line (my housemates unfortunately think little enough of me that my fortune predicted I would still be drinking VKs in Ocean).
The next day, everyone’s scores were added up and the winners were announced as the festival night. Being students, we skipped on the one thousand pound prize, and the winners instead received the pure glory of coming out tops in what had turned into a rather intense competition! The week provided not just good food, but hilarious laughs and entertainment all round. For all you ‘Come Dine With Me’ fans out there, I would definitely recommend doing your very own.