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Please help me avoid emergency beans on toast for my dinner party

(13 Posts)
DomesticDisaster Sun 24-Jul-11 09:50:40

I am having a dinner party in two weeks and haven't a clue what to make. I've not had people round for dinner for years so am totally out of practice. I'm not the best cook in the world so don't want anything that could go too wrong...

I've decided to make a baked cheesecake for pud and possibly a nigella chocolate trifle which I've made before and have loads of cherry brandy left for, hence the good excuse to make it again. I'd like ideas for a main course to go with these puddings please.

blabalalalablabla Sun 24-Jul-11 10:02:16

As it's summer I'd go for a baked fish dish - this looks nice. Serve with new pots.

Easy to do as you can prep in advance and then bung in the oven when guests arrive.

For starters I'd be tempted to do antipasti - again you can prep these in advance.

Serve with prosecco

How many are coming?

TheSkiingGardener Sun 24-Jul-11 10:09:15

They are quite rich desserts so I would go with fish or chicken for the main. Lemon Sole springs to mind for some reason, or stuff chicken breasts with goats cheese and oregano, or pesto, or anything else that takes your fancy.

I second choosing something where the prep is done in advance and you have an absolute minimum to do on the night.

I spent years trying to do fancy dishes for dinner parties. Now I do good, but not fancy, food, provide plenty of wine and accept that if things go wrong in the kitchen to just treat it as a cabaret. I have a lot more fun now and so do our guests.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 24-Jul-11 10:11:00

I second the idea to have a baked main course that can sit in an oven until your guests arrive. Simple things like lasagne or a chicken casserole can be put together well in advance and won't spoil if anyone's late. For a starter, I'd assemble a small salad of avocadao slices, crispy fried bacon strips and parmesan shavings.

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch Sun 24-Jul-11 10:12:51

The BBC good food website is fantastic for finding recipes.

TrillianAstra Sun 24-Jul-11 10:14:23

<lurks>

Definitely something that can be made in advance and then left or something that only takes a very small amount of prep - you want to spend your evening with your friends not in the kitchen.

I really want bacon and avocado now!

Jajas Sun 24-Jul-11 10:15:49

Agree, for starter - big platter of smoked salmon, olives, 'artisan' bread (ho ho), pancetta, nice leaves, avocado, nectarines and mozarrella, beef tomatoes - let everyone have a plateful of bits. You don't have to cook any of it and it looks beautiful together. Very light and lots of different textures and colours. Serve with some potent cocktails to start and you will be well away!

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Sun 24-Jul-11 15:33:15

Make a baked spanish risotto for main? Its easy & basically cooks itself so you are not constantly tedning to it, plus it tastes delicious! It only needs some nice crusty bread to serve with it.

recipe here

DomesticDisaster Sun 24-Jul-11 17:55:55

Ooh those ideas are great. I was worried about a starter as that might be one more course to mess up! Antipasti is a great idea, especially with the no cooking element Jajas. The prosecco addition is genius.

Thanks for your advice TSK. I am a total dinner party novice and can barely manage to cook for us on a day to day basis so to keep it simple is my best way forward. The stuffed chicken is a good idea.

I hadn't thought of a risotto as I love them but always find they are really labour intensive so a baked one would be brilliant.

Thank you everyone.

Now, can anyone come and cook it for me?!?!

Jajas Sun 24-Jul-11 18:04:08

Bless you, I'm the same and get into a right old state when people come around.

The key is do as much as you possibly can the day before or a few hours before, nothing fiddly just before serving as it's so hard to cook, talk and look relaxed at the same time!

Don't forget the cocktails on arrival - everyone will have an empty stomach and will get nicely relaxed and you won't feel so pressurised (don't drink too much yourself though until later wink!

DomesticDisaster Sun 24-Jul-11 18:24:47

Oh I'm glad it's not just me.

I'm making the puddings the day before as it gives me enough time to think of a plan b if they all go wrong. I recently made a cheesecake (not the one I'm doing this time thank the lord) that was a total disaster as I burnt it. We battled through it but it was awful. Lesson learned there to make it in advance!

Must make a mental note to restock cocktail glasses as I have a tendancy to break them on my kerplunk style draining board. I'm sure we've not got enough and I don't think it's a good start to ask people to bring their own glass grin

QueenofJacksDreams Sun 24-Jul-11 18:27:51

Antipasto for a starter is brilliant something everyone likes our favourite main with chicken breast is simply stuffing them with mozzerella and spinach then wrapping in proscuitto serve it with Jersey Royals and real butter and fresh english asparagus the aspragus and royals are both in season so will taste wonderful just simply cooked right now with no added extras.

Jajas Sun 24-Jul-11 18:41:16

Asparagus and Jersey Royals - yum!

Quails eggs are gorgeous too and look absolutely beautiful in amongst all the other bits smile

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