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First dinner party in 10 years - help!

(22 Posts)
churchmouse84 Thu 18-Oct-18 09:51:05

We used to have friends round all the time.

Then we had children and stopped.

Now I've invited friends round on Saturday night and have completely forgotten what to do.

I like cooking and used to be good at it, before I retreated to spag Bol & shepherds pie.

And I do love a pudding.

Give me suggestions.

Something relaxed but looks like I've made the effort.

OP’s posts: |
RestingBitchFaced Thu 18-Oct-18 09:53:33

Are you doing 3 courses?
How many people?

churchmouse84 Thu 18-Oct-18 10:03:33

6 of us.

I think nibbles rather than starter.

But would like to elevate the nibbles above Pom Bears 

OP’s posts: |
Bloomcounty Thu 18-Oct-18 10:13:38

Look at the BBC good food website for lovely ideas. You haven't given us any info about your preferences but I'm guessing you eat meat from your spag bol reference.

Make as much ahead as possible, and don't be ashamed to "cheat" and buy some of the elements. I'll happily buy a gorgeous dessert.

Make the main simple, but excellent. Do a casserole like beef bourguinon or coq au vin, or a game pie, something a little richer than you'd normally do but not terribly complicated. To be honest, I'd be delighted to be served a good homemade shepherds pie at a friend's house, so unless you're bored rigid with it yourself, don't discount it!

Puddings - pavlova always goes down well, or something chocolate. It all so much depends on your preferences and those of who you are feeding.

Nigella Lawson is the queen of easy entertaining (in my opinion) so look at her books or website for simple and fast ideas.

Bloomcounty Thu 18-Oct-18 10:16:11

I made this recently, it's yum and very easy. Served with roast potatoes, oven roasted peppers (seeing as the oven was on) and a salad.

churchmouse84 Thu 18-Oct-18 10:17:42

Yes I think something to put in the middle of the table appeals, rather than individual plates of stuff.

I'll consult Nigella!

OP’s posts: |
WhyOhWine Thu 18-Oct-18 10:22:37

BBC good food 7 hour lamb is a favourite. Although it does go in the oven for 7 hours, there is 5 mins prep at the start to brown the lamb, then you just leave it in the oven for 7 hours with maybe another 10 mins prep at the end to reduce the cooking liquid to a gravy/sauce.

Bloomcounty Thu 18-Oct-18 10:25:18

I've found that if I buy the starters (ie a pile of nibbles for folks to pass around) and make an "in the centre of the table" stew or chilli for people to help themselves, it works really well.

I go all out for pudding, but it's never a difficult one, it just looks good. Pavlova is easy if you buy the base (I do). Or make a really dense chocolate cake, one of those ground almond heavy ones that stick your teeth together. Buy pastry and make a "homemade" apple pie to serve with real custard (you can buy this too!!!).

IDismyname Thu 18-Oct-18 10:28:28

Not many people I know would turn down an apple crumble!

Easy to made ahead and put in the oven while after the main comes out. Or cook in advance and reheat. Posh bought custard, too!

Bloomcounty Thu 18-Oct-18 10:49:05

oooooh apple crumble.....I'm eyeing a bag of cookers as I write, and drooling.

churchmouse84 Thu 18-Oct-18 11:02:53

Ooh Crumble.

Yes that sounds good. As does 7 hour lamb!

OP’s posts: |
kateandme Fri 19-Oct-18 01:28:05

chicken thigh pea and bacon stew
or some sort of meat stew and dumplings.
a fish pie
a lasagne with garlic bread and salad.
even something like a currys.then you could have some starts of naan riata mango chutney as starters.
whole baked side of salmon with lemon and garlic and daughpinois potatos.
chicken stuffed with herbd cheese and wrapped in garlic roast in a pan with some cherry toms and roseomary and thinly sliced potatos.
this is amazing pudding
do you have a slow cooker because this thing is the business and easy as anything:

SeaToSki Fri 19-Oct-18 01:34:15

Ready made salmon mouse and biscuits, naice olives, spicy nuts woth something bubbly to drink, so sip nibble and mingle/chat

Delia chicken in sherry and tarragon with new potatoes and roasted asparagus

Delia very chocolatty mousse in individual glasses (coupes look very fancy)

Port or after dinner drinks and a box of after eights pr mint stick thingies.

quince2figs Fri 19-Oct-18 02:43:21

As pp have said, you cannot go wrong with Nigella here.
Nibbles: spiced nuts, posh crisps, crostini with various toppings, 1-2 high quality dips (def not a supermarket 4 pack), other simple canapés if you need them
Main: a braise or stew of some sort, with a pilaf/cous cous or some other easy but not plain carb.
I would always be delighted to see a roast chicken, maybe with Dauphinoise potatoes (can make day before) and a really good green salad or green beans
Fish pie
Likewise a good shepherds pie would be ideal!
Pud: Would go for a couple of v easy make ahead options:
flourless chocolate cake/cream/berries, lemon polenta cake (both gluten free if needed), damp almond cake, lemon tart, mini choc brownies, rasp or plum Bakewell,
Plenty of options for no-churn home made ice cream
Any kind of pavlova, esp passion fruit or lemon
Some fresh fruit really nicely prepared
Would add in a simple cheese course too
Sounds as if you will have a great night, good luck

quince2figs Fri 19-Oct-18 02:59:54

Crumbles mentioned above sound great. Make or buy a French style apple tart (lovely with salted caramel no-churn ice cream.

An alternative fancier pudding (River Cottage recipe website):
Pears (peeled, cored, halved is easier) poached in a spiced syrup with white wine/Marsala. Fruit then fridged day before. Small amount of the syrup added to a panna cotta mix, fridged in mounds. Syrup then frozen. buy some thin crispy biscuits eg langue du chat from M&S.
To serve on a plate:
Fruit at room temperature with spoon of syrup
Panna cotta cold from fridge - unmould or serve in ramekin
Scratch up shards of frozen syrup to make a granita and spoon onto plate. Serve with biscuits.
It’s very impressive but not much last minute stress, and I e tried versions with rhubarb or plum too. Peaches I imagine would be great.

Figmentofimagination Fri 19-Oct-18 03:10:28

Other ideas for starter nibbles - various tapas dishes (potatas bravas, Spanish meatballs, prawns in garlic etc.), Spanish meats, various cheeses, crackers, bruschetta, dipping oils. Always goes down well whenever my mum does it for Christmas/ Easter.

smotheroffive Fri 19-Oct-18 03:29:12

Damn it..pom bears already mentioned [slopes off]

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 19-Oct-18 03:41:59

When we're entertaining outside the barbecue months, I just do an antipasto platter, something that is cooked ahead of time (casserole or slow cooker) and a dessert that's made ahead of time. I don't want to be faffing when I could be quaffing chatting.

You can still put on a good spread, and all the hard work's done before everyone arrives.

Mondrian Sat 20-Oct-18 17:50:58

Red snapper or sea bass filleted into two halves (with tomato & onion on top) baked in oven.
Roast spatchcock chicken drizzled with pomegranate glaze
Beef & Spinach meatloaf (go easy on bread crumbs)
Pan-seared chicken and broccoli in creamy mustard sauce
Goulash with mash
Butter chicken with saffron rice

All are pretty easy and bulk of work can be done in advance. Let me know if you need a recipe for any of them.

bluetrampolines Sun 21-Oct-18 20:23:37

Delia rilletes ofcduck is an excellent and very easy but freeze ahead starter.

Taffeta Mon 22-Oct-18 17:38:59

Mondrian - I want all of those, they sound delicious grin

I’m with Dowager - I hate stressing whilst people are there

I do canapés first - prep before assemble last minute

Then a main I’ve cooked earlier or the day before - curries are good for this, elevate with homemade chutneys eg coriander, coconut etc, perhaps a dal or a few veggie sides too, all made ahead

I CBA with pudding so usually do very good cheese and accompaniments served with chocolates - or I’ve done a coconut panna cotta with passion fruit that’s a good palate cleanser after curry

Menarefrommarsitwouldseem Tue 23-Oct-18 12:10:56

I did Gordon Ramseys a few weekends ago and it was incredibly good and easy.

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