Help - need fail safe dinner party recipes(36 Posts)
DH's team, including his boss and her wife, are coming for dinner in a couple of weeks. I'm a rubbish cook and need some help! DH and I will cook together but it's the kind leading the blind!
Fail safe recipes and tips - pretty please!
salmon, new potatoes and fresh herbs, posh bagged salad, mayo with lemon juice and chopped dill mixed in. Just wrap salmon in foil with some olive oil, salt and pepper and slice of lemon and bake. If you want it to look fancy bake a whole side of salmon and serve at the table. Or for increased ease get it sealed in a bag with herb butter ready to cook from supermarket fish counter.
Something like coq au vin, which can be made in advance and actually tastes better after sitting a while.
Lamb and couscous from Claudia Roden? It is genuinely very easy yet tasty. Plus you can make it ahead of time. If you're thinking you can't cook couscous, don't worry. The technique is a doddle. It is from her book Arabesque, which is full of low effort but high impact recipes.
If that is too exotic, try something from Delia Smith because her recipes are well-tested and super-reliable. If you follow one of her recipes to the letter, it will turn out well. Also, her website has how-to videos. Her boeuf bourgignon recipe is very nice.
Also: no one needs 3 courses. Just do two. Either Starter and main, then serve chocolates with the after dinner coffee, or main and pudding. If you do pudding, remember that people generally love simple puds, most of which you can buy rather than make. A couple of extras like posh sweets or a nice brandy and your guests will feel very spoilt.
One pudding I often serve is always popular: get a large platter (e.g. what you serve the turkey on at Christmas). Pile it high with a mixture of fresh and dried fruit, the best you can find. Grapes, clementines, kiwis, mango, strawberries, prunes, dates, slices of pineapple-any combination that looks colourful. Scatter over chunks of posh chocolate, florentines, shortbreads, caramels, nougat and fruit jellies. Give everyone a small skewer or two and let them dig in.
Or, serve a good bought ice cream with home made shortbread biscuits. Again, Delia has a nice recipe. Just add some flavouring to the biscuits. Try lemon zest, or dip them in chocolate, or try dried lavender (Bart's Spices, sold in Waitrose) to be really fancy.
Slow cooked beef. I buy silverside. Fling into the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, until it's well sizzled. Turn oven down to 130degrees. Add sliced onions, garlic and a tablespoon of tomato puree and sizzle for about five minutes. Then add beef stock, I use oxo and a good slug of red wine, half way up the beef, cover and cook for four hours. Turn it over half way through. Cook it the day before and when it's cooled wrap in foil and put it in the fridge. On the day it will carve like a dream and it's completely foolproof. Serve with roasties and veg. Thicken the juices to make gravy to die for.
If you want a pud, no bake cheesecake is dead easy. I use Nigella's recipe.
French trimmed rack of lamb. Score the fat, seal in a hot pan for about a minute each side, then transfer into oven(either in the same pan you fried in of a heated tray.) Takes about 20 mins for medium-rare @ 200c fan. Sounds fancy but it's dead easy to cook. Just let it rest for 5 mins before cutting. I coat mine with some Indian spices (pataks curry paste mixed with water works too.) Serve with mash, veg and gravy. It looks impressive but it's easy.
Smoked salmon with some dill sprinkled on top served with oatcakes and some sort of creamy cheese. Or chop up salmon and mix with cream cheese and dill, serve with crusty bread or oatcakes? Cooking more than one course is a faff when you are proper entertaining and you want it all to go smoothly.
Get some nice proper coffee and chocolates/fancy pastries for dessert.
Good luck xx
Whatever you choose, it needs to look effortless.
Guest: Oh wow, you must have spent all day preparing this gorgeous supper
You: Not at all, it's so simple, I just threw it together half an hour ago...
You say you're a rubbish cook but is there one dish you can do? It's just a dinner party isn't the best time to be trying out new recipes. That said you've got a couple of weeks so maybe you could fit in a trial run?
Do you have any restrictions! Veggies, allergies etc?
I'd aim for things that can be mostly prepped in advance to save last minute panic. And as a pp suggests main and pud plenty, maybe some nice nibbles with drinks when guests arrive.
Boeuf Bourguion is a good bet. You can make it in the morning and keep in slow cooker.
Rocket, goats cheese and walnut salad is a super easy starter you can assemble in advance.
If you don't want to do dessert you could do a nice cheese board. Always goes down well!
This is brilliant, thank you! The beef bourgionon (do?) with mash and vegetables looks like something I could manage. I will do a desert - more ideas please, I like the shortbread one - but just nibbly things for starter.
This lemon, lime and stem ginger cheesecake is lovely, it would be really refreshing after the beef and you could make it in advance then forget about it.
How about a pavlova for dessert. Super easy to do, but lush to taste!
Google lemon posset! So easy to make ahead and super impressive. If you don't have ramekins you can make it in teacups or any little dishes you have
Yes yes yes to lemon posset! It's literally a five minute jobbie. I use this recipe (just the posset, although the biscotti are delicious too).
I forgot to say, it's also really really lovely!
A five minute jobbie in Scotland means something completely different. ......a jobbie is a poo
Try Delia's hazelnut roulade, sounds complicated, but is dead easy, my husband accused me of buying it! Add a raspberry coulis and you're fixed.
Also her chicken with sherry vinegar.
Starter smoked salmon with horseradish sauce and naice bread.
I second the beef Burgundy idea. You don't want something that has to be ready at an exact time.
The easiest possible dessert is ice cream with hot raspberries. Buy some very good vanilla ice cream, chocolate if you want to be a rebel, and some unsweetened frozen raspberries. When you're ready to serve dessert, put the berries straight into a small saucepan. Melt them and let them bubble a bit. While they are heating scoop up the ice cream. Put a ladle of hot raspberries over each serving. We had it over the holidays and every time I am amazed at how simple and delicious it is.
This is brilliant! Thank you so much, I'm going to try some of them out to see what will work with timing etc. I feel so relieved...
This could be the beginning of a whole foodie new chapter in your life, OP!
You could do mint and thyme lamb - my fail safe dinner party main. So nice
Brown a couple of onions and a Leg of lamb in a casserole, add tomato purée, crushed garlic, thyme and a few tablespoons of mint sauce and redcurrant sauce, add Some lamb stock, stick lid on and cook on low for four or five hours. If you do it the day before and let it cool you can then carve it up into bite size pieces to make it easier to serve and put it back in the pot to just heat through the next day. If the sauce isn't think enough then add some bisto caramelised onion granules to it.
Goes with mash or roasties, some green beans and extra mint sauce.
If you have any leftovers The next day add some chilli sauce to the sauce and heat through and have in pitta with onion and garlic dip, red onions, lettuce etc like really posh kebabs!
Another easy fail safe dish is lamb shanks. Brown your shanks and put into oven proof dish. Soften two onions, add some carrots, celery and two cloves of garlic. Cover your shanks with some lamb stock, good old Oxo is what I use. Cook for four hours at 130degrees. The meat will be divine. Serve with mash and choice of green veg.
No cook dessert for adults only
Scoop of very good vanilla ice cream, measure of whisky, chopped toasted walnuts. (Toast the walnuts in a warm pan with a sprinkling of brown sugar being careful as they burn easily)
If liked a little liquid caramel over the ice cream (I'd rather without the caramel)
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