I love throwing dinner parties. Lurve it. I think whatever problems you’re having can almost always be forgotten for an hour or two when you’re surrounded by good food, family and friends. Unless the family and friends ARE the problem in which case, abort mission!
Here are my top tips for hosting a dinner party:
Two thing always worry me. One, and perhaps the most obvious worry, if my guests will like what i’m serving, if it will be tasty. And two, if there will be enough of it. Bread solves both problems. Everybody loves bread and not just any bread but artisan bread. For me, Olivier’s is it, it has become my good luck charm and if all goes to shit, I know my guests can fill up on it. As the great Mr. Saavedra once said, “all sorrows are less with bread”.
Oi! I heard that! “Salad shmalad”. Be quiet! It’s important. It’s needed and it’s not just for the dieters. It brings freshness and balance. Just do it, okay? No dinner table is complete without a BIG bowl of salad. Throw in some fresh fruit (the fancier the better: strawberry, watermelon, pineapple, peach, pomegranate) and some nuts and/or seeds, and voila! Your salad is officially pimped. Just make sure not to over do it.
Tip: dry roast your nuts and seeds in a pan or toaster oven for extra flavour.
Colour me in:
Apparently Ed Sheeran sings “cover me up, cuddle me in” but I’ve been singing “cover me up, colour me in” for the past year, or for however long he’s been singing it. My ex used to find it cute when I messed up the lyrics but now, it’s just pathetic. Anyways, colour is important – another reason to prepare salad. Put some thought into your menu so you don’t end up serving everything red, yellow or orange.
Note: this can be as simple as adding some greenry (parsley, basil etc) to the top of your soup or pasta.
Where is the sauce?
Remember Manu, from My Kitchen Rules’ catch phrase? Don’t serve dry food. Make sure your pasta, curry or stir-fry has enough sauce, that your salad is served with dressing, your bread with butter, your meat with gravy and your basmati rice with yoghurt.
Lettuce, diced roasted sweet potato, pomegranate seeds and dry roasted walnuts
dressed with: lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
White bean dip:
in a food processor, blitz together: 1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup olive oil, zest of one lemon, juice of half a lemon, bunch of fresh parsley, salt and pepper.
Pretty self explanatory, you can use pretty much anything for these…various cheeses, meats, vegetables (artichokes, peppers, olives etc) and pastas, too (tortellini and gnocchi rubbed in pesto are excellent).
Fettuccine, sliced button mushrooms, spring onion, canned tomato and cream – das it.