If, like me, you love to have friends and family over for dinner but aren’t too into the whole preparation and planning of it all. Check out my super simple guide below to making entertaining easy.
Lighting – Nothing sets the ambience of the evening than lighting. Candles and tealights are best but if you can’t be bothered with the whole effort of lighting and relighting them all evening plump for some battery operated candles. They do much the same job and look great.
Music – Music is a tricky thing, you may have a big thing for a particular artist, but your love may not be felt by everyone. Create multiple playlists on your iPod. Start with some mostly instrumental music that gives your guests an opportunity to mingle and chat. You can then move onto some more familiar tunes and favourites followed by the option of something a bit more dancy if that is the way the party is going. Don’t be offended if people aren’t too fond of you choices though. Youtube and other streaming sites are a great option. If all else fails hand off the music to one of the guests, so they can get the blame.
Drink – This one is a no brainer especially since you can buy alcohol online. The best way, to go for an older crowd are a few decent bottles of wine. A younger gathering will be happy with a selection of beer and ciders. Alternatively you could ask everyone to bring something. Punch is also another super simple idea that gets everyone mingling over the punch bowl.
Prep – Whatever food you are planning on doing, prep ahead. Chop peel and slice to your heart’s content and only leave things to do that have to be completed last minute. Another great idea is to set the table the night before, this allows you to get out all your cutlery and tablecloths, etc. out now and prevents any last minute mishaps.
Seating – Where possible make sure you have plenty of comfy seating, this allows your guests to relax and really get into the atmosphere you are trying to create.
Food – The big one! But how to get it right? Simple foods are often the best. For your starter, think stuffed mushrooms or tomatoes. These can be filled with mince, peppers and feta cheese and cooked in minutes with little hassle or stress. A cheese board is another simple idea with very little prep and a high-end look.
As for the main why not supply a buffet of meats cooked the previous evening? If you want to go a bit more adventurous, you can cook shish kebabs very easily, and they always wow guests with their color and apparent intricacy. Another quick and firm favourite is a seafood risotto, amazingly tasty, glorious colors and simple to make.
Desert doesn’t have to be any more stressful than the rest of the evening. Meringues with fruit adorned or a simple cheesecake can look pretty when presented in the right way. There is no shame in getting a desert out of the freezer, after all you have had a hard day and deserve to put your feet up and enjoy the fruits of your labour.