How To Do A Stress Free Dinner Party

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing all of the food related issues busy families face. Of course many of these are specific to feeding fussy kids, minimising the time spent in the kitchen cooking and clearing up particularly midweek. But also it became apparent that most people don’t want to sacrifice having friends over for food (and as importantly wine) just because we are busy parents or have demanding careers.

So OK, as a mum, gone are the days when I spend a morning browsing cook books and buying the ingredients for an elaborate dinner party and then spend the rest of the day prepping a fussy 3 course meal. Who has the time for that today? So what’s the solution? The fact is good friends will be grateful for a great plate of food, banter and plentiful booze.

So let’s reinvent the old fashioned dinner party. You simply need to tick a few boxes. Tasty food, good beverages, minimal clearing up and a chilled out host. How many times have you invited friends for dinner only to spend your evening in the kitchen missing out on the fun and banter.

Pitch it right. “Friday night, come to us for a Chilli”. Your friends will expect exactly that. Booze of course obligatory. A bowl of chilli at the end of a busy week. No fuss. Make an exceptional Chilli in advance. Take for example my beef and chorizo chilli. This is not your regular Chilli but it’s delicious, simple, can be made in advance (in fact it’s even better when it is) and is a great crowd pleaser.

Thirty minutes before your guests arrive prep the rice and an avocado and tomato salsa and shake some Margaritas. Ta da!  Boring Friday night has turned into Mexican night. If you still require a few frills, do my Ceviche as a canape nibble. Pair the Ceviche with a crisp Albarino white wine and the Chilli with a South African Cabernet Sauvignon such as Journey’s End from Stellenbosch.

Most people won’t expect a dessert but of course many do have a sweet tooth. So buy some gorgeous truffles or petit fours to serve with coffee. Finish off with a cheese board.

Look forward to coming down to your kitchen with a sore head the following morning with just one dishwasher load.