We all love dinner parties, right? Well, apart from when it’s our turn to host them!. As regular readers of my blog will know, my cooking skills are such that I can – almost – burn a salad. So, when it comes to being a host for dinner, I like to keep things as stress-free as possible.
I’ve picked up plenty of pointers over the years, both from my experiences and the web, and, I thought I would share them with you today. Read on if you ever feel anxious about being a dinner party host and with any luck, you’ll find some great suggestions here.
Get your ingredients in early
One thing I have managed to mess up on more than one occasion is buying the ingredients for a dinner party. You think you have everything planned and are comfortable with what you’re going to cook. Then when the time comes, you realise – with some horror – that you are missing something vital.
Naturally, all of the shops are out of stock of that particular item, meaning your guests get ham and cheese toasties instead. You can try and garnish them with some chopped herbs and a slice of tomato, but they aren’t going to cut it, are they? So, make sure you have everything in stock at least two or three days in advance.
Practice makes perfect
One thing I would recommend is to practice your menu a few times before your party. That goes for whether it’s a brand new dish, or something you haven’t done for a while. There’s a lot that can go wrong – especially when it comes to timings, which are all-important when you are hosting a dinner.
It’s not unusual for the recipe to suggest a cooking time, which your oven doesn’t replicate. That could lead to an embarrassing undercook or a rather burnt main dish, so it’s important to run a few tests of your own first.
I love Spanish food, and it’s perfect for dinner parties if you are worried about messing up your evening. You can prepare plenty of tapas starters in advance, and perfect all your flavours. Choose the cold options if you want to reduce your work on the night and make up a quick coca bread to throw in the oven. It’s a Spanish version of pizza (don’t forget to use your Pizza cutter) and is perfect for your guests to nibble on as a starter.
For the main, you can also whip up a paella easily enough to sate your guest’s appetites. Yes, paella can be difficult to master, but it is also hard to get completely wrong, too. Just serve it up in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves for a more authentic experience. Again, it’s a good idea to practice, but the shareable nature of Spanish food, in general, makes it a wise choice to ease your anxiety.
Don’t take it too seriously
Finally, don’t treat your dinner parties as if you are gunning for a place in the final of Masterchef. If you are anxious about serving your friends a disastrous meal, then perhaps it is time to change your social circles. We all like to do our best, of course – and it’s gutting when things go wrong. But the success of a dinner party doesn’t start and end with the food – it’s the company and atmosphere that you will remember just as much.