8 Top Tips For Hosting A Dinner Party
Many people who love to cook love to entertain. Having friends round for dinner can be wonderful, but it can easily turn into a stressful experience if the cooking goes wrong. Not many people have the time or the skills to really pull off a fantastic dinner party, but with these 8 top tips for hosting a dinner party, you can.
1. Resist temptation. Ignore the temptation to cook some wonderful sounding exotic dish that you can’t even pronounce and have never actually seen or tasted before. Cook something that you have cooked before, like your failsafe recipe for a rack of pork. A dinner party is not the time to cook something for the first time.
2. Keep your balance. When planning a dinner party menu, avoid too many heavy dishes, and think about how things will go together. Would you want to eat a menu of quiche, followed by pie, finished off with a tart? Probably not. Too much pastry and stodge. Consider a theme, like a Spanish menu.
3. Ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements. You don’t want to spend hours lovingly crafting a chocolate and walnut cake, only to find two of your guests are allergic to nuts. Ask your guests in advance if there is anything that they can’t eat.
4. Plan your time. Write out a time plan and think about which oven and hob space you’ll need. If your starter, main course, and side dishes will all need time in the oven, you’re going to find things hard.
5. Prepare ahead. Avoid the last-minute panic by creating at least one course ahead of time. Dessert is often the best candidate for this. Prepare something like this all-butter pie crust recipe from BoulderLocavore, and get it filled and cooked the day before. All you have to do then is remember to take it out of the fridge and warm it through when guests arrive. Look at each course and see if there’s anything that you can prepare in advance.
6. Relax. Stay away from any dishes that will keep you in the kitchen for too long. You don’t want huge gaps between courses, only to emerge from the kitchen stressed, only to find you’ve missed half of the conversation. Keep it simple, and remember to enjoy yourself too.
7. Go seasonal. Try a simple dish that really showcases seasonal ingredients, like a tomato and basil granita, or a pumpkin pie. You’ll look knowledgeable for being in tune with the food seasons, and you’ll use produce when it tastes it’s best. It’s a win-win.
8. Make it yourself. Your guests won’t expect you to make all the extra bits, so you can really impress if you do. Things like quick, no-knead bread, Oreo cheesecake truffles, chutney, ice cream, and cheese straws are all easy enough to make and can all be done in advance. You don’t have to make all the little touches, but one or two can really impress your guests, and give you an excuse to show off some of your culinary skills.
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