Monday, 2 December 2013

How to Host a Stress Free Dinner Party

In our busy lives, there’s nothing quite like a night in with friends bantering over good wine and delicious food. Dinner parties aren’t like going to a restaurant; you don’t have to compete with other patrons for the waiter’s attention, there’s no fussing over splitting the bill and no incomplete or missing orders (we’ve all been that guy whose order came twenty minutes after everyone already finished – awkward!).
While it’s all fine and dandy when you go to a friend’s dinner party, throwing one yourself is a whole other ball game. The moment you put the word out that you’re having one, you are suddenly overcome with what if no-one shows up syndrome. I’ll be the first to admit that parties never go to plan. Whether you’ve run out of drinks too early in the evening or you’ve nearly burned the kitchen down ten minutes before your guests arrive. If you’ve had some entertaining nightmares or are holding back from throwing a party because you’re afraid you’ll be too stressed out, never fear help is here. Planning the perfect evening doesn’t have to be a hectic affair as long as you follow these steps.
1. Make something you have cooked before
Regardless of whether you are the type of person that follows a recipe to a tee, the first time you cook a new dish is always stressful and it never turns out the way you’d hoped. When you are cooking an unfamiliar recipe for a dinner soiree, there’s also an added pressure to getting it just right. If you don’t, it will quickly turn your mood sour for the rest of the evening. That’s why it’s better to organise a meal that you are well versed with. You know it tastes good, you know how long it will take, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how your friends will take to it – like a fish to water hopefully.
2. Check your guest’s dietary requirements
We know, we live in a crazy world right? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is following a strict diet regime. Whether it be paleo, lacto-vegetarian, lactose free, or gluten free – the list goes on. While you don’t need to make sure everyone loves what you are planning to make, take note whether someone you are inviting is kosher/halal, vegetarian/vegan or has any type of food allergies. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a dinner with friends and realising you can’t indulge in anything.
3. Set the table the night before
Give yourself one less thing to worry about by setting the table the night before. It will save the hassle of trying to find the salad forks or having to clean the good china an hour before your start time.
4. Set the music and leave it
Everyone fancies themselves a DJ, however you’re music tastes may not suit the tone you are trying to set. Figure out who the music person is in your family and have him/her set up a playlist that is long enough to not repeat songs. Once you’ve set it up, turn it on and leave it alone for the rest of the night.
5. Prepare in advance
Avoid rushing around like a madman of party day and buy all your ingredients the day before. You can even start buying storable items weeks in advance. There are obviously going to be some spoilable items you need to purchase on the day – Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cake anyone?  But it’s much easier to only pick up a few forgotten items rather than doing big two hour supermarket excursion.
The most important thing to remember when hosting a dinner event is to have fun and relax! Happy planning.

{Sponsored Post thanks to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream}

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