My home is never short of a party. Last year we had six big ‘occasions’ in the backyard. SIX! That plus 3 big birthday parties for the kids. I really am mad.
Mind you, most of the gatherings weren’t actually for me. There was my sister’s 40th, my brother and sister in law’s (they are twins) 35th, my MIL’s 70th… you get the idea. We really do have a great house for parties.
What I’m learning, though, is that as much as I love the chaos and colour of a big shindig, a smaller dinner party is really my favourite way to entertain. Three couples and their kids is perfect. This gives you eight adults and usually about ten children. I host the kids on a separate kids’ table and treat everyone to an easy-but-lovely dinner. Recently that meant two types of mini-quiche starters (we are all about the eggs here), three types of pasta for mains and a make-your-own-rocky-road-ice-cream table for dessert. Too fab and really, embarrassingly easy.
Other times I’ve opted for a mezze-style starter, a tagine main and some cake truffles for sweets. I am notorious for mixing up my dishes and sending guests on a round-the-world trip in a night. The world’s great cuisines mingle happily at my place.
Here are some links to recipes that I use for hosting. All of them can mostly be made ahead, are fuss free but fancy and delicious to most. I generally like to make the starter a stand-up affair to be eaten before we sit at the table. I can’t be bothered fussing with a change of plates and all that excess cutlery.
Are you hungry now? I could murder a chicken and leek pie right about now!
Next week I’ll share some tips for setting the table and organising your day. A little planning ahead means you’re able to get suitably tipsy and still serve up the dishes with style. Now that’s my kind of hosting!
How often do you have friends for dinner?