Hosting a party should be fun, not torment. So if you are set the task of holding a dinner party then make sure you are well prepared. The key to a calm party is good preparation, so be sure that you know what you are eating, how long it will all take and when things should start cooking.
Remember it is always easier to have one cold plate, so you can prepare it in advance. There are more tips throughout these easy to create party food recipes, so read on to find out how to be the perfect hostess and get some more ideas.
Easy to create starter or appetizer, and great to pop in the fridge before serving. Nutritious and easy to eat. You can either mix the pastry from scratch – which many people will appreciate, and allows you greater flavour contol – or buy it ready made for easy convenience.
For the fillings, be inventive. Try red pepper, smoked salmon, bacon, goats cheese, leek or watercress. This can also be great party finger food too.
- Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5.
- Grease three 12-hole fairy cake trays, or buy individual quiche dishes.
- To make the pastry, rub 125g cubed butter into 250g plain flour, with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the 1 beaten egg, 1 tsp lemon juice and enough water to make the ingredients cling together into a ball. Knead gently until smooth.
- Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 5mm and cut 36 rounds with a cookie cutter to line the tins.
- Combine 200ml milk 175ml cream and 3 medium beaten eggs to make the basic quiche mixture.
- Sprinkle your chosen filling into the pastry cases, then fill up almost to the top with the quiche mixture.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Cool in the tin and eat warm or cold.
Grilled Salmon Steaks with Vinaigrette
This is a great light meal served with a green salad and couscous. Especially great for entertaining health conscious types. This should be enough to serve 4.
- To make the vinaigrette, pour boiling water over 4 tomatoes, leave for 1 minute then drain and remove their skins.
- Cut each tomato into quarters, remove the seeds and dice them into small cubes. Mix with 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp green olive tapenade, 1 crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper.
- Brush 4 salmon steaks with a little extra olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and the juice of 1/2 a lemon juice and lay them in a grill pan.
- Place under a preheated grill for about 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Turn over and brush with more olive oil. Season again with salt, pepper and lemon juice and grill for a further 3 minutes or until cooked.
- Place on warmed plates and keep warm.
- Gently heat the tomato vinaigrette until just warm, not boiling. Stir in the juices from the grill pan. Spoon the tomato vinaigrette around the salmon and serve.
Roasted plums with marscapone
An easy to make dessert which tastes fabulous. You could also use creme fraiche or some ice cream with this simple dessert. This should serve 4.
- Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6.
– Put 12 plums in a baking dish and scatter with 2 tbsp soft brown sugar, dot with 25g butter and splash over 75ml red wine.
– Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes till soft.
– Serve straight from the oven with a small amount of marscapone.
Learn to create delicious easy finger foods for your party – including Greek lamb and aubergine sticks and almond macaroons. The perfect starter to any event.
And now for some fantastic dinner party tips:
#1: Presentation is key to a good dinner party. Make sure that your house is clean and tidy, and that you have prepared the table at which you will be eating. Some might like to put some candles on the table, or flowers, or some other decorations. Also think about the presentation of your food, remembering the all important less is more factor. Try and keep the food to the centre of the plate as this is more attractive to the eye.
#2: When hosting a dinner party, it is always useful to let the guests know on their invitation or when you phone them up what they will be eating throughout the evening. Keeping it formal like this, so that if anyone has any particular tastes, or doesn’t like something, they can tell you so you can arrange some other food to be prepared. But do not go overboard and prepare 4 different meals! Try and come up with something everyone will appreciate.
#3: Having to hold a party for some can be a nightmare, but don’t forget that there are catering companies that will accomodate as few as 4 people. Your guests won’t even have to know that you didn’t cook the food, and a lot of companies will lend you the plates and cutlery for the evening too. This can be quite pricy, but if you shop around, you may be quite surprised. Another easy way to host a dinner party is to get prepared meals, but be sure that they are expensive ones, so they look the part.