We’re currently awash with dining room chaos as we repair some walls that had a mould problem and I’m refurbishing a second-hand dresser I bought from Facebook marketplace. I’m hoping that by Christmas it may be looking back to its best and we can have a little festive soiree. Here are some tips for a fabulous night of fun and food if you’re entertaining.
Is it a ladies night? Or smug married couples time? We recently had my best friend over with her husband and young children so part of my planning was to think about lots of different types of snacky foods that the kids could pick at. If it’s older family that might affect the type of food you prepare if they’re not too adventurous.
As someone who has been gluten-free, vegan and is long-term vegetarian, it’s always slightly awkward when going to a social event as I wonder what the food will be like. So my best tip would always be to ask your guests about any allergies or special dietary requirements such as gluten-free or vegetarian. Ascertaining this will make the rest of the planning super straightforward. Then it’s time to think about what your guests will enjoy and what you’ll enjoy, or feel comfortable, cooking. It’s tempting to try and wow your guests but you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night.
Most importantly though – make sure to have enough food. It will ALWAYS be better to make too much than too little. Leftovers can either be frozen, or make lunches and dinners for the next couple of days. You could even give guests doggy bags to take home, but make sure everyone is well fed. There’s nothing worse than a miserly host.
Times are a-changing and it’s definitely a good idea to have a mix of both alcoholic and soft drinks to cater for all your guests. Why not get creative and show some mixologist flair with a delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic aperitif. You could even create a signature cocktail for the evening.
I am definitely someone who likes to be organised and prepare what I can ahead of time – it definitely makes for a less stressful day. Even when I cook for just me and Pete, my favourites are dishes that allow me to prep at least some of the ingredients in advance. If you’re cooking something you don’t normally make, check the recipe to make sure you have all the implements and hey, if its been a while since you last socialised, and your saucepans have seen better days, invest in some new ones before the dinner party.
Part of the fun is definitely styling and decorating and this can all be done in advance. Put up any decorations the day before and if possible, whilst cooking try to tidy up as you go so you can relax afterwards and enjoy time with your guests. This will make it easier for you to prepare the dishes on the night and clear away in-between courses without feeling overwhelmed.
The only thing left to do now is to enjoy your dinner party – doesn’t it feel great to know we can welcome people into our homes once more after a couple of years not being able to. Have a lovely evening and don’t forget to put your feet up afterwards.
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