5 tips to help you throw an epic dinner party

So as promised last week… 5 tips to help you throw an epic dinner party.

I’m not saying I am an expert but I can say that every dinner party I have thrown so far has been a great success.

      1. It’s all in the planning…

My beautiful Mumma enjoyed the 5 course meal I did for last year’s birthday so much, that she requested a repeat this year! (Thanks Mum – Not too much work and preparation to make it just as successful! Lol)

I spent at least 2 weeks before hand planning the meal I wanted to create, I pinned everything onto a board on Pinterest, (you can check out my board for some ideas of what to cook for dinner parties here…https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachie155/dinner-party-ideas/ ) and then I methodically went through the recipes, checking times and what needed to be cooked when, some things even needed to be cooked and cooled the day before.

It really helps to be organised like this so you don’t get any nasty surprises later.

I then wrote out the shopping list course by course, again so I didn’t miss anything and then double checked quantities.

I am a big fan of writing lists.

     2. Give yourself time…

This applies to time for shopping, time for organising and time on the actual day.

The dinner party was on Saturday so I planned a whole afternoon to shop on the Thursday, knowing that I wouldn’t get everything done if I left it too late.

I ended up going to the local butchers for meat, Aldi for most of the other items but also Waitrose for random things like Tahini and vanilla paste. That was a mission and took me almost 3 hours! Ahhhhhhhhh.

Friday I had to cook the risotto, it needed to be pre-made and cooled overnight in separate dishes because for the starter I was making Bombe Di Riso, which is a baked risotto, it’s delicious as it goes really crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle.

I also made a crème brûlée cheesecake. I have NEVER made a cheesecake before so this was a little bit of a crazy thing to take on but it was for my Mum’s birthday and she’s worth it. 

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(You do this stage of blow torching the sugar when serving the cheesecake not before! So much fun!)

The feedback was that it was the best cheesecake they’d ever had (that coming from an 82 year old who has tried a lot of cheesecake in his life time was a real compliment. https://thefoodcharlatan.com/creme-brulee-cheesecake-recipe/)

I then had to get ready for the 1930’s dinner party I mentioned in my last blog...

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It was such a fun night and I didn’t fall into bed until 12.30am!!

     3. Create an ambience…

So I peeled my eyes open to my 6 year old son at 6am on Saturday morning!! I do not recommend having a hangover as part of your planning for an epic dinner party.

But I had one none the less.

The planning continued and this time I needed to think about what kind of mood I wanted to create and how I wanted the table to look.

My dinner party was an intimate meal for 5 (single as ever here so 2 couples and me!)

So I cleaned the house and set the table like this…

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Last year’s table was a little different as I found time to make menu’s (I based each one on each guest’s favourite animal and it looked like this…

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This year I found these super cute mini easels in home bargains and used a white paint pen to write everyone’s names. 

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I used the simple rule of setting the table with the cutlery set out in order of use from the outside in. (I already knew this rule but here is a handy little guide that I found if you need it… http://emilypost.com/advice/table-setting-guides/)

I arranged the candles so that they didn’t block anyones view (you do not want harsh over head lights on for a dinner party) and organised a play list of Jazz music as my Mum and step dad love it and it is really lovely background music that isn’t intrusive when you want to talk.

     4. Be methodical

The planning was there for a reason. Use your plan and work through the list, ticking things off as you go, there is nothing quite like getting to an essential part of the cooking process and realising you have forgotten something incredibly important.

I had 4 courses to make so I really had to be organised. My guests commented on how calm I seemed, but that was purely because I had planned everything previously and simply had to methodically work through the list.

     5. Very simply… Don’t stress…

If you have followed the steps above then there should be no reason to panic, just work your way through things, plan your time and you will end up feeling relaxed and actually enjoy your own dinner party.

I had a lovely time, lots to drink and only had one minor blip when the beef wellington wasn’t cooked quite when I expected but I managed to get the whole meal out still hot and the beef was cooked to perfection! I laid the beef wellington on the table in the centre before I cut it open because firstly it creates a bit of drama and excitement and secondly I had written Happy Birthday in pastry!!! Just a little extra touch...

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Finally just remember that the people you invited are your friends, they are there to see you and enjoy the evening, they aren’t going to care if you burn the pastry or your soufflé sinks in the middle. In fact it’s something you can have a giggle over. Just enjoy it and you will end up with very happy guests.

My Menu

Canapés

Parmesan, Cheddar and Rosemary Cheese Twists with Chilli Pumpkin and Tahini Dip and Cream Cheese Garlic and Chive Dip.

Prosciutto, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Skewers

Spanish Lemon Olive Oil Olives

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Starter

Ham, Pea and Pesto Bombe Di Riso with Rocket and Balsamic Drizzle

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Main

Beef Wellington with Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Baby Carrots, Bread and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms and Onion Gravy

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Dessert

Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

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On a final note...

As you know it was my mum’s birthday, I gave Mum a bracelet that I created and she was already wearing a pendant I had made for her for mother’s day. 
Here is the beautiful Birthday Girl...

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Please do take a look here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/jewellery at my Jewellery page. A number of items there are for a sale but I can also make a bespoke piece of jewellery to your requirements. I have my first stall coming up soon and any feed back would be much appreciated. So leave a comment on this blog, get a conversation started, message me here... http://www.akers-of-art.co.uk/contact

I'd love to hear from you all.