Tag Archives: dinner party

Ponzi Dinner Party Scheme – raising money for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

There are many things one would do for charity. Jump out of a plane, bungee jump from a hot air balloon, participate in an Ironman, cycle the length of Britain, run a marathon, run an ultra marathon, run a series of marathons in a desert, run a marathon in France or even fight a bear. But the rather clever committee members of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust have come up with a novel and fun idea for those who want to raise money but without the hassle and physical exertion of fighting a French bear whilst cycling in a dessert. They have devised ‘The Charlie Waller Ponzi Dinner Party Scheme’. 

How does it work? 

Using the idea of a Ponzi Pyramid Scheme each member of the Trust is to host a dinner party for 7 – 10 guests. Each guest has to bring the rudimentary bottle(s) of wine and a £5 donation. Frivolities ensue. In the months that follow each guest is asked to continue the pyramid scheme by holding their own Ponzi dinner party, asking their guests to do the same in their turn and so on in perpetuity!

By using this pyramid selling technique the Trust hopes to raise £120,000 and as much awareness as possible. 

What is the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust? 

In 1997, Charlie Waller, a popular and successful 28 year old took his own life, much to the confusion and distraught of his friends and family. It turns out that Charlie had been silently suffering from depression. Charlie’s death highlighted how hard it is to diagnose depression and how little people know about mental health. 

To help combat this, Charlie’s family set up the Trust hoping to raise awareness of the signs and dangers of depression, reduce the stigma and encourage sufferers to seek help. 

How you can get involved 


  • Have your own Ponzi Dinner Party
  • Donate monies raised to the justgiving page below.
  • Email the trust on pyramid@ponzi.org.uk with a list of your guests. You will all then be put on a Ponzi ‘family tree’ where you will be able to monitor its growth online. 

Further Info  

www.cwmt.org or http://www.justgiving.com/CWMTponz 

My next post will be a post match analysis of the dinner with a recipe for an absolutely amazing apple crumble tart accompanied with a shoddy blackberry photo.


Leave a comment

Filed under food, Food Blog, london, london food blog, recipes

Oxy Loxy! – Otherwise known as Oxtail Ragu with pappadrelle

Not so long ago a good friend returned from Dubai for a week and some equally great friends, two sisters, held a dinner to celebrate. A dinner party with these two is never a quiet affair; the frivolities and company only being rivalled by the amazing, often Italian, food that they serve up. But on this occasion, I was bowled over. 

From the moment I walked into the flat to the moment I stumbled home, the only thing I could smell and think about was the oxtail ragu that was served up for the main. I think everyone in attendance, including the chef from a prominent Primrose Hill eatery would agree that it was wonderful. The following morning on my standard misery inducing cycle to work all I could think about was the ragu and how I should definitely feature it. 

It was, in a word, brilliant. The meat was cooked to perfection and melted the moment it hit your mouth. The sauce, the perfect consistency, only helped enhance the dish and provided a perfect fitting bovine flavoured coat for the pasta and meat. If I hadn’t filled up on the starter I would have definitely had thirds. Despite this, I mopped up every last vestige of the sauce and basked in its meaty goodness. 

So after the inappropriate amount of bribing, chasing, cajoling and nagging I have got hold of the recipe. It is extremely straightforward but will need your full attention and patience: which is also a testament to the effort put in by my esteemed hosts. The recipe below is for 12 but clearly you only have to half or quarter  it to make a lesser portion. 

Oxy Loxy! 

Serves 10- 12 

You will need: 

3 kg of Oxtail (chopped into large but even and manageable pieces)

250g flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)

Plenty of olive oil

Knob of butter

2.1 litres of red wine

1 litre beef stock

4 carrots (very finely chopped) (in this case a blender was used)

2 red onions (finely chopped)

4 sticks of celery (finely chopped)

5 bay leaves

4 cloves of garlic (crushed)

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

Juice of half a lemon

1 tin of tomatoes or pasatta (roughly 400g)

1 tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper

Pappadrelle (approx. 100g per person)

Parsley and shaved parmesan for serving

  1. On a low heat in a saucepan heat a healthy glug of olive oil and the butter. Once melted, fry the celery, carrots, onions (known as the Soffritto) and garlic for about 15 mins till softened. Towards the end add in the chilli flakes, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes/pasatta. Simmer
  2. Whilst this is going on, coat the oxtail pieces in the seasoned flour. Shake of any excess and brown them off in a large heavy bottomed pan
  3. Once browned, add the mix from the previous pan and bay leaves
  4. Turn the heat up high and enough wine and stock to make sure the meat is covered (2 parts wine to 1 part stock)
  5. Bubble till the alcohol has evaporated, lower the heat and simmer for at least three hours. Make sure to stir every now and again, the aim is for the meat to be all “melty and delicious”
  6. When the end goal has been met, remove to one side, cool and remove all the meat and fat
  7. Sieve the sauce into a separate pan, remove any excess liquid and transfer all the “tomatoey mush” back into the pan, add the meat and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Return to a low heat
  8. Pour back in enough stock to give a thick consistency (whatever suits you best). Bring to a bubble and simmer for an hour, adding more stock if needed
  9. Season with salt, pepper and the lemon juice. Stir
  10. Serve with a thick flat pappadrelle and a equally thick piece of warm crusty bread. Garnish with lashings of parsley and parmesan.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Food Blog, london, london food blog, recipes