Friends coming for dinner – make sure you get to enjoy YOURSELF too. These are quick and easy steps to make sure you don’t hiccup along the way:
1. Prepare guest list and invite, ahead of time, to allow for cancellations and replacements. Don’t forget to ask guests for a quick reminder of any food allergies or special diets to enable you to tailor your menu and avoid last-minute hiccups.
2. Plan a menu that can largely be prepared in advance. I omit serving a starter in favour of an array of dips or canapés, which serve the dual purpose of entertaining guests until everyone has arrived and your initial chatter has subsided into conversation. Then when guests sit at the table you can present the main course, followed perhaps by cheese, and then dessert. In this way you can avoid spending most of your evening in the kitchen.
2. Prepare the menu in advance!
3. For the dessert it is easiest to make something such as a tart / bowl that is prepared and then presented at the table and sliced up. Perhaps a chocolate tart, a lemon tart, a tiramisu, a cheesecake or even a hearty crumble for a Winter dinner party.
4. Lay and decorate the table – my favourite part! Follow my pinterest board for plenty of inspiration.
5. Prepare the wine – red wines ready, white and dessert wines chilled.
6. Fill water jugs (add lime / lemon / rosemary if it complements your food).
7. Prepare pre dinner drinks – beer / champagne / cocktails / apéritif – and the glasses that you will need for these. For more ideas see Wow your Guests from the Start – Welcome Drink Ideas. Have an idea of after dinner digestifs that you might propose also, in addition to tea or coffee.
8. Have plates ready, either on the table if it is a ‘serve- yourself’ type of dinner, or piled in the kitchen ……. and then plates ready for cheese and dessert courses.
9. Ensure candles are lit, guest bathroom clean with scented candle lit, floors are clean, trash empty and dishwasher empty and ready, counter tops neat and organised.
10. Quickly get yourself freshened up and changed into pre-laid out clothes :) SMILE!! You are ready!!