If one of your new year’s resolutions included entertaining more, then you still have a few months to get those invites out. Hosting doesn’t have to be stressful and contrary to popular belief – you don’t have to serve up particularly fancy food either. Simple, tasty and well-cooked will always be far more appreciated than poorly executed gourmet food. Here are some tips for a great dinner party:
Get some good recipes together. Most people are not born with an innate ability to look at random ingredients and throw them together to produce an amazing dish. Invest in some cookbooks that you find easy to follow and remember that you can also find a huge number of recipes online these days, for quicker access. Take a look at the food recipes at http://food-tales.com/online-food-recipes/
Have a practice run so there’s no nasty surprises on the night itself. It makes good sense to try out a new dish on your family or partner first. Sometimes a dish that sounds amazing just won’t hit the mark and it’s best to discover that in your own time and not at your dinner party!
Don’t invite too many people. You might be tempted to go crazy and invite the whole neighbourhood to ensure lots of conversation but remember that you have to cater for all these people. Preparing starters, mains and desserts for more than six people will stress you out unless you have kitchen helpers! Less is more when it comes to relaxed hosting. Your night will be more intimate and you’ll spend more time hosting and not stuck in the kitchen.
Think about buying a ready-made dessert so you don’t have to make one. If you’re already making appetizers, starters and mains then by the time the dinner party arrives, you’ll really be feeling the pressure. Take that pressure off and buy a dessert in advance. This is the one course you can get away with serving up something that’s not home-made.
Tell your guests exactly what to expect on the night as this information will help to put people at ease. If it’s a more formal affair then guests often worry about wearing the right attire, who might they be sat next to and should they bring anything? Don’t be secretive with plans – tell your guests what the dress code is, who else is invited and whether or not they should bring a bottle. Everyone will feel much more comfortable if they know what to expect.
Try not to get wound up by things that might not go exactly to plan. Choose recipes that don’t require constant attention in the kitchen or have the capacity to go terribly wrong. Keep calm and enjoy your party whatever the outcome of the food, as your mood and conversation will rub off onto others. Conquer any lulls in conversation by passing round some more wine and suggest that everyone toast something that’s important to them.