We are all excited to invite people back into our homes, but sometimes we are so eager to impress that we end up spending most of our time in the kitchen faffing around!
Here are a few little tips that will help you to relax and actually spend time with your loved ones.
P.S. If you’d like the best of both worlds though, remember you could always get me to come and cook for you!
1. Don’t go all out on the starter
Choose a simple starter that doesn’t need much work and can basically be put together beforehand.
A delicious meat and cheese platter is always a crowd pleaser, or get some really good burrata and roasted tomatoes, served with some pesto and fresh focaccia.
You also can’t go wrong with a really great soup and divine fresh sourdough.
2. Don’t be stuck in the kitchen
Choose a main course that can be made ahead of time, such as a slow-cooked meat or ragu that you can pop in the oven in the morning and forget about. I love lamb shoulder for this, served simply with some buttery new cheshire potatoes and green beans or with flatbreads, pickles, herbs and a tahini sauce.
Or go for something that can be made in advance and wacked in the oven when guests arrive. Think lasagne, moussaka or chicken filo pie, served simply with a fresh green salad.
3. For pudding – choose easy crowd-pleasers
The most popular desserts normally contain either chocolate or apple, go for a crumble or chocolate torte and most people are not going to be disappointed! The exception to this is sticky toffee pudding, who doesn’t love it. Another great one you can make in advance is tiramisu!
If I haven’t had time to make anything in advance I also love serving some seasonal fresh fruit, macerated with a bit of sugar and lime zest, some caramelised nuts and the best ice cream you can find.
4. Be prepared
Prep prep prep – even down to making the salad dressing, do as much as you can before people arrive
I also always make sure all washing up is done and the dishwasher is empty, making life easier for when you come round to cleaning up. Normally the next morning in my house…
5. Don’t get a nasty surprise
Make sure to ask about dietary requirements in advance! You don’t want to have prepared a delicious meal only to find out last minute that your guest is celiac or has a nut allergy.