With all the new recipes I have been trying out lately I’ve been desperate to show them off and also try and convince some of my friends that this whole food kick I am on is not only delicious but good for you too. What better way to showcase my culinary masterpieces than by hosting a party for my somewhat sceptical friends that includes some of my favourite recipes as the main event!
Drinks are important, they can help set the tone for the evening and also help you segue into different aspects of the night. Buying alcohol for a large party can take up an equally large chunk of your budget so always be on the lookout for deals the will help you stretch your hard-earned pennies further. Marks and Spencer’s currently has some good deals on wine and champagne from the post Xmas rush.
Starting off with a glass of champagne will set the scene for an elegant night or with the addition of some orange or peach juice you have the beginnings of brunch.
Don’t forget to plan something for the teetotalers in your group. Simply add some fruit juice to soda water and throw in a garnish of some sort for a classy non-alcoholic tipple.
Hungry guests can very quickly become “hangry” guests so have a couple of appetisers
Mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and olive oil are one of my go-to appetisers. Serve them skewered on bamboo sticks for a tasty hand held bite (just don’t overdo it on the drizzles).
Fingerling potatoes make for another hearty starter to nibble on, I either cut them up into wedges that I then roast with some herbs and oil, or if they are bite sized, I bake them just like you would normal sized baked potatoes and serve them with a small amount of filling like coronation chicken or crab and celeriac slaw.
Its all in the presentation
The first bite is with the eye, I couple this pearl of wisdom with the knowledge that many of my friends have some common misconceptions about eating whole foods. Having a mix of colours on the plate is important, as is allowing room for each element. Serving sides family style will fill up your table with bursts of colour and also means that you don’t need to worry about either scratches and stains on your table or centre pieces to cover up said marks and scratches!
Even the most simplest of foods can be made to look at place in an elegant dinner party, it is all down to the presentation. If I was going to serve the sweet potato topped cottage pie I talked about in a previous post for a dinner, I would cook and serve it in individual dishes rather than trying to neatly serve it from a big tray onto a plate (not possible!).
Presentation includes you, remember that sale at Marks and Spencer’s? They have clothes too, maybe get yourself a nice shirt or even take the plunge with matching napkins for a put together look!