You may be a seasoned pro at throwing together a mouth-watering feast at the last minute, or you could be someone that runs for the hills at the mere uttering of the word "cook".
Wherever you fall along the spectrum, there’s sure to be a time in your life where you’ll need to rustle up something for an “occasion”. Nowadays though, dinner parties are a lot less formal.
Guests don’t actually expect a 7-course meal, where you have to make your puff pastry from scratch and spend unnecessary time assembling little bite-size cheese and pineapple sticks. Let’s face it, life is just too busy.
We’ve rounded up a few manageable recipes that are great for entertaining.
A small welcome snack is always well received. Try this very easy courgette and mint bruschetta. It’s light and whets the appetite with its visual appeal. Just gorgeous!
You don’t want to fill your guests up with too much food so be mindful of your starter portion sizes. This grilled peach and Parma ham salad is a wonderful contrast of sweet and salty flavours and works well if presented on a big platter from which people can help themselves.
It’s always nice to have something prepared in advance that you can assemble just before sitting down to eat. A zesty salmone roulade is a great example. Have it ready at room temperature and simply cut into individual portions and pop onto plates prior to serving.
The pièce de résistance needn’t be something from a Ferran Adria book with 10 different components, each exploding with pieces of edible firework displays. Stick with something you are comfortable with and that you’ve cooked before.
Although risotto can be a time-consuming process, it’s a deliciously comforting carb hug that’s always worth the effort. How about this variation with prawn and chorizo? A one-pot meal never tasted so good.
For something meaty and a bit more “fancy”, make these individual lamb shank filled pastry parcels. Your guests will think you’ve just spent a week in the MasterChef kitchen!
A fuss-free Caprese salad makes a good side dish – as does a spoonful of garlic buttered cauliflower mash (great for those eating LCHF!). Or if you’re feeling particularly bold, give these baked aubergine and goat’s cheese rolls a whirl.
For sweet treats we suggest you go big! These banoffee pots with caramel will have your guests licking their lips for more. Otherwise stick to a classic like Crème brûlée. It won’t ever let you down.
- Tessa Purdon