Dinner parties can be quite stressful, so it is advisable to plan and prepare in advance so that things run smoothly on the night. This is my guide to successful dinner party planning.
Eight guests seem to be the perfect number. Guests’ personalities play a big part in the success or failure of a dinner party. I find that a mixture of lively, fun, controversial people with common interests, triumphs every time. A list of friends that know each other and new people makes a good mix too.
I usually send invitations and check any dietary requirements about 3 - 2 weeks before to help with the menu planning. I then start looking for recipes that will be well received by everyone. Avoid endless special dishes. It just gives you a large last minute to-do list and you’ll want to concentrate on your guests on the night.
Make a shopping list the week before, order the beverages and have a playlist suitable for the occasion.
Two days before, go shopping for the ingredients and make the dessert.
One day before the event, start any necessary prepping such as chopping, dicing and slicing and cook dishes in advance that can be eaten cold or warmed up on the night. Place everything in the fridge ready to go. Check all crockery, glasses and cutlery. Set them aside. Print the menu and stick it on the kitchen wall - this way you won't forget any dishes (yes, I have forgotten about dishes and left them in the oven for far too long!!)
On the day, set the table and open the red wine so that it can breath. Finish off any dishes, get yourself beautified and have a glass of wine as you wait for your guests. If something goes wrong, don't panic! Just smile and carry on.
Make sure you have plenty of ice and water!
Enjoy your dinner party!
Prawn or Chicken garlic coriander skewers on a bed of mango and rocket salad (£35)
Salt cod and chorizo casserole with white bean mash, roasted plantain, chilli and garlic okra (£45)
Sumptuous Chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and berries (£45)
Welcome fizz (£18) 2 bottles for starter (prosecco or Riesling) £10/bottle
4 bottles for main (approx £10/each) White: Falcoaria, DOC do Tejo Portuguese wine best compliment a Portuguese main dish (Salt Cod)
Dessert wine: Maury (£17) goes exceptionally well with chocolate
The Total comes to approximately £220.00, leaving you some change to buy some more fizz or flowers and soft drinks.
Remember, a dinner party is a great way to connect with friends and family.