When your dinner party guest list grows from six to twelve you suddenly have to think a little more carefully about what to cook, when and how to serve it. Double the numbers again and you have a proper party on your hands!
But with a bit of planning and a few tricks up your sleeve, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are six ways to keep calm, and knock the socks off your guests when they tuck in to the feast you’ve ‘whipped up’ in no time at all.
Roast chicken is delicious, but it’s been done a thousand times before. Browse through your favourite cook book or the recipe section on our blog and try something new – even if it’s just a twist on an old favourite, or a beautiful dessert. (This pink peppercorn meringue and strawberry Eton mess is a firm favourite here at @home!)
Tip: give yourself plenty of time to make it, and if you’re really worried, have a backup!
Create a list of everything you need, so you can avoid multiple trips to the shops. Also work out what glasses and dinnerware you’ll need, and if you’ll have enough of everything. Don’t forget that hosting a party is a great excuse to treat yourself to a few new additions for your home if you are short of anything.
Set the scene
Once you start to tick things off your list you’ll feel more relaxed and ready for everyone to arrive. You can lay the table and get your drinks trolley ready hours or even days in advance. Vases of fresh seasonal flowers always go down a treat, as does the right music to set the scene.
Tip: have the music on full blast while you cook – you’ll get in to party mode in no time!
Clear the decks
If you’ve done lots of prep work make sure you load the dishwasher before your guests arrive, and clear all counter tops so that you have plenty of space to stack empty platters and glasses. Also make sure your recycling bin is empty, so that there is plenty of room for beer and wine bottles!
Fussy canapes that need to be served hot are a one-way ticket to chaos in the kitchen, so opt for things that you can prepare in advance. Use your Nutribullet to make hummus in minutes, or pop down to Woolies and get a selection of dips and pâtés. Arrange them on a stylish slate serving platter with grapes, savoury biscuits and crudité, and you’re good to go.
Soak it all up
By the time your guests arrive most of the hard work should be done and dusted, so relax, take your time between courses, and enjoy the evening with friends or family.