A dinner party is a fantastic excuse to spend an evening wining and dining with your closest friends and family. However, if you’ve never hosted an evening before, it can seem a little bit daunting. With the menu, the décor and the guest list to consider, it can be challenging to decide where to start with the planning and preparation.
We spoke to Natty from Natflat Supper Club, a bespoke culinary experience in the heart of Tel Aviv. A unique dinner party experience for small groups of tourists, locals and business travellers, who shared why she loves hosting these events: “Dinner parties are all about sharing and hospitality. Whilst food is certainly a key element, good wine and good company also contribute immensely. That aside, however, when planning a dinner party, every aspect of the plan should be infused with “vitamin L” (love). In meditation communities the chef is always the person with the best meditation practice- this is based on the concept that they will be pouring their energy into the process and into the food and consequently all that good energy will be received and consumed by the recipients of that food. So, with this in mind, I believe that preparing your dinner party with adequate time to plan and prepare, and with love and good energy (rather than begrudgingly, half-heartedly or with bad energy) is essential – I guarantee that as a result, love and energy will be felt by each and every one of your guests.”
Take a look at the tips and tricks below to guide you through your first dinner party experience.
When planning a dinner party, it is of paramount importance that you consider who you’re going to add to your guest list. From reunions with old friends to a family affair, the people who you decide to invite can have an immense impact on the overall event. If this is your first attempt at hosting, you may feel overwhelmed with details. This is when a carefully curated guest list comes in useful.
Keeping the numbers down comes with a variety of benefits. Not only will it be easier for you to juggle multiple dishes, getting the timing right, you may also have the chance to socialise. It’s important that you manage to spend time chatting with everyone, pulling yourself away from the kitchen occasionally, so cooking for fewer people might be the option for you.
“I love adding personalised aspects to my dinner parties because I think it shows guests that special thought and effort has gone into it and it makes them feel special”, shares Natty. “I have these fantastic wine glasses with black stems and bases that I can write names on with a chalk pen and usually place a handwritten card in an envelope for each guest to open when they are seated. It’s these little touches that really stick in people’s minds!”
Depending on the season, the menu and the people you’ve invited, you can be as creative as you’d like with your décor. From an al fresco supper in your sunny garden to a luxuriously indulgent occasion in your dining room, you have the freedom to choose the décor. Candles, balloons and flowers are great ways to inject a splash of colour into your dinner party’s backdrop, whereas place names, placemats and runners can accessorise the table.
If you’re looking to take your décor one step further, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. From themed seasonal dinners, such as Christmas and Easter, to planning for a wedding or baby shower, there is plenty of pictures for your next get together to take inspiration from.
Natty shared her favourite dish to prepare with us: “It has to be ‘Jeremy’s Famous Cherry Chicken’ served with crispy roast potatoes and roasted Mediterranean vegetables from the local market. The chicken dish is a recipe created by my youngest brother which I’ve adapted over time. It combines succulent juicy chicken with fruits and a variety of Middle Eastern spices such as sumac, star anise, za’atar (hyssop) and a few other secret ingredients, to make the most perfect, tender and aromatic winning dish!”
It can be tempting, especially if it’s your first dinner party, to want to wow your guests. However, keeping it simple with dishes that you know each of your guests will enjoy will take some of the stress off of you. When planning your menu, look through your fridge, freezer and cupboards for what ingredients that you have before writing down any additional things you’ll need to pick up. Planning one trip to the supermarket will give you more time to prepare each dish.
We spoke to Isabel from The Orchards School of Cookery who shared with us her essential piece of dinner party information: “Who are you catering for? For example, are there any special diets, food allergies or does the menu need to be low in fat or sugar? If so, try to choose a menu that will suit all guests to make it easier for you”. So, what dish does she love to prepare if trying to impress? “Roast chicken with all the trimmings!”.
Another great thing to think about is the timings. If there are any desserts which you can make ahead of time or elements of your starter that need to be refrigerated, prepare these first. This will reserve the evening to cooking your main meal, as well as for entertaining your guests. Although you’re making dinner for everyone, you need to spend time with your friends and family also, so allow time for both.
For some menu inspiration, take a look at some easy to follow recipes below:
This recipe on All Recipes is an easy starter to make. Although they take 45 minutes, most of this can be prepared beforehand in order to just be warmed up when your guests arrive.
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 30 min
As Isabel mentioned, she loves cooking a roast chicken to wow her guests when hosting a dinner party. This one of the BBC Good Food Website serves four but is easily adaptable if feeding a bigger party.
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 75 min
For the dessert, selecting a dish that will delight your guests is essential. However, the most beneficial thing for you to do is find a recipe that you can prepare ahead of time, giving yourself longer on the evening of your dinner party for entertaining. This one from the Delicious Magazine is a real winner.
For the sponge
For the custard
Prep: 30 min
Cook: 55 min
If you use a curved stairlift in your home, you’ll understand the importance of having your home accessible. Your entertaining space will need to take everyone’s needs into consideration, leaving enough room around the table for those who have mobility issues or even need to use a wheelchair. In between courses, your guests will chat amongst themselves at the dinner table. However, before and after, some light entertainment may be necessary to keep the conversation flowing.
When selecting your entertainment, you need to look at your guest list again. If younger family members are present, your option will need to be accessible for them. However, when serving after dinner coffee or opening a bottle of your favourite wine, having some music in the background can be a perfect way to end the evening. If you notice that conversation begins to dwindle, encouraging people to play a card game or charades is sure to get it flowing again.
If you’re planning a dinner party soon, make sure to take these things into consideration to make yourself the hostess with the mostess:
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.