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Catering for 16-20 people ideas?

(15 Posts)
Foodforthemasses Tue 16-Jul-19 22:38:00

I can cook - I'm a relatively good cook but this is a lot of people - I have not catered for this many before - half the buggers should be on holiday!

I have 2 ovens, a bbq and a pizza oven, I have time to prepare beforehand, the event is in 3 weeks time...I'd like a menu that is modern and interesting - the guest all eat out a lot - not that I want to compete with restaurant food - I just want good interesting easy food - too much to ask? - any ideas?

OP’s posts: |
user1474894224 Tue 16-Jul-19 22:40:23

Indian Curry? Can be made in advance. Can go as extravagant as you can afford with the budget.

AdaColeman Tue 16-Jul-19 22:46:09

Is it a sitting down eating event or a standing up finger food event?

Foodforthemasses Tue 16-Jul-19 23:02:36

Indian could work. I could ramp it up with freshly made chutneys, raita - bread in my pizza oven, kachumbar salad and a veggie thoran and a potato curry for the veggie. Had been thinking of Spanish tapas for 10, until too many guests decided to come!
No starters - make your own and everyone else's cocktails with crisps and olives (home marinated of course) A mammoth plate of cheese with figs, honey, membrillo, and biscuits (bought) and some homemade ice-cream and biscuits - any interesting thoughts on good ice cream and biscuit combos?

OP’s posts: |
Foodforthemasses Tue 16-Jul-19 23:04:33

I fear it might end up a grabbing a seat where you can event - our table sits 12 - we all might try to squeeze in - Island sits 4 and table outside if the weather is good sits 6-8.

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ChristmasSeacow Tue 16-Jul-19 23:08:50

I regularly make paella for 15-20 people. Usually chicken and prawn but you can go mad depending on budget. I leave prawns off a corner for my sister who doesn’t eat them. Usually I get olives, manchego, few platters of cured meats, crisps etc for people to be getting on with while I cook.

I have a giant paella pan and put it across 4 burners of my gas hob. Job done.

Foodforthemasses Tue 16-Jul-19 23:16:40

Wow that sounds like amazing paella pan - I have induction otherwise I might be tempted! I need something that is mostly done when the guests arrive as I am not good at chatting and cooking - stuff gets burnt!

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FusionChefGeoff Tue 16-Jul-19 23:23:52

I did a very successful Moroccan slow roast shoulder of lamb (you'd need 2 big ones) with a selection of Middle Eastern sides recently. Tabbouleh, harissa cous cous, beetroot & feta, tsatsiki, pomegranate seeds and pittas. Everyone made their own kebabs with salads.

I'll try to find my thread!

maxelly Tue 16-Jul-19 23:26:24

Need a bit more info ideally, is it lunch or dinner? Buffet or sit down? How many courses were you thinking? Any veggies or other dietary needs? The below ideas are for main course...

The easiest way of catering for that many is definitely some kind of stew-y thing which can be cooked in advance and reheated OR left bubbling gently away all day - chilli, curry, lasagne, moussaka, beef carbonade, coq au vin, pot pies, something along those lines. You can then do a variety of sides, both carby and veg. I quite like to do a venison casserole (venison makes it a bit more interesting than your standard beef or lamb but is no more difficult really). The casserole itself can be made the day before (gets better overnight) and then on the day make up huge trays of potatos, roasted veg, green veg, crusty bread etc.

The other thing that is nice for a crowd although more effort, is a huge roast, mainly just what you would do for the family but scaled up (as you have two ovens this should be OK with some pre planning), something like 2 big legs of lamb would be enough for 16 adults so long as not all enormous appetites, or would maybe stretch to 20 if some of those are children (or you have some veggies)? I'd marinade in garlic and rosemary the night before then slow cook it (if it's an evening do) so it's really meltingly tender by the time you want to serve. Roast potatos and veg can mainly be pre-prepared, par boiled and frozen then just finished in the oven on the day, leaving you to just need to do any fresh boiled/steamed veg.

Your other option could be to do BBQ if you have enough grill space? You could make it a bit easier and more interesting than the standard burgers and sausages by doing some big joints of meat (lamb shoulder, beef brisket or racks of ribs maybe), marinaded in BBQ rubs then started in the oven and finished on the BBQ. Do you have a slow cooker (or a nice big pan than can become a makeshift slow cooker)? If so you can do a pulled pork or beef brisket in the slow cooker to go alongside the bbq meats for very little effort. Again then some nice varied salads, nice bread, coleslaw, maybe chips or potatos etc to go alongside?

FusionChefGeoff Tue 16-Jul-19 23:26:28

A summery lamb feast... sides needed!

It's great - all done in advance. Only thing that needs to be done when you're ready to eat is get the lamb out, pull out the bones and any gristle and loosely shred it.

Foodforthemasses Tue 16-Jul-19 23:33:15

@FusionChefGeoff Thanks - but I did the lamb roast with mezze thing last year - it was brilliant but I have quite a few people returning, so I wanted to do something different.

@maxelly Ideally sit down lunch, one veggie so far, no other restrictions. Grilling might work for a second meal/snack if needed - last year the lunch ended at midnight shock - so a second set of easily thrown together bits might be needed!

OP’s posts: |
Otherpeoplesteens Wed 17-Jul-19 14:48:40

A big buffet of cold dishes: you could include things like smoked fish or prawn salads as well as deli meats. Bake your own ham etc beforehand too. Get this prepped and ready in advance so all you need to do is put it out.

A slow cooker of something for those who want hot food straight away; maybe a veggie curry or a stew of some sort. Again, this is set up in advance and only needs to be brought to wherever it's being served.

Finally, light the barbecue and grill for those wanting a different hot option. I find when I'm entertaining this number it's difficult to be running around entertaining and pouring drinks whilst tending the BBQ at the same time, so I tend to go for things which can be left unsupervised for a few minutes at a time without risking catching fire. Pork loin steaks are good in this respect, and thing which throws off a lot of fat (sausages, chicken) is not.

Foodforthemasses Wed 17-Jul-19 18:19:06

Was thinking about a massive ham and potato salad with mac cheese and accessories

OP’s posts: |
friendlycat Tue 17-Sep-19 17:47:28

Just seen this thread. Where did you buy the giant paella pan from as that’s a great idea to cook across 4 burners on the hob.

Kaz2200 Thu 19-Sep-19 10:22:01

What about Moroccan or Persian lamb, a couple of lamb shoulders marinated and slow cooked. Served with flatbreads and lots of Moroccan /Persian side dishes

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