I really like to have people coming over for dinner, but it is always so difficult deciding what I’ll be serving… You guys know what I’m talking about, right?
For me there are few prerequisites deciding what I’ll be making:
- everything has to be freshly made,
- cannot be tooooo time consuming at the evening itself,
- NO LIGHT products are to be used!! (diet on your own time)
- and most importantly it has to be something I like myself 🙂 :-).
Something I also try to figure out if there are some things my guests don’t like to eat (or are allergic to). Ofcourse what you’ll be serving also depends of how many guests you’ll be having… When I have a big group over like 6 or more people I prefer serving dishes like stews, lasagna, crespelle, roasts, etc… that you just have to push it in the oven or heat it up and serve it.
Something I do try, is not to serve the same thing every time, as that would be boring for me and my guest (if are the same people) Only when they specifically ask me to make something (which is usually my lasagna, as everybody seems to like it a lot
When it are smaller groups then I’ll try to make more sophisticated things like in fancy restaurants. Although it has to be tasty, not only beautiful….
BUT the most important thing in both cases is Time management, for example there are always things you can make days upfront, like chicken stock (if you might need it), when I’m making my lasagna I’ll make the bolognaise a few days upfront, etc…. Just try to spread it as much as possible in the 1,2 or 3 days before the ‘big evening’
For me all the cooking shows and the Belgian Cooking Channel Njam (I could watch this channel whole day long) are a big help. Or just walking around at an open air market also gives a big inspiration (and sometimes asking the merchants, as they know the best way to prepare their products).
Last weekend for example as I appetizers I made mini vitello tonnato (the sauce is made in 2 minutes and the meat you just have to boil with few vegetables and some stock for a while and let it set for a night), mini pizza (from my recipe, but dividing the quantities by 2 or 3), some vegetables with cocktail sauce, mini ‘worstenbrood’ (puff pastry filled with minced meat) for this I got the recipe from the last Njam magazine (2 different kinds of stuffing, 1) minced meat, apples, parsley 2) minced meat, mushrooms, mustard and a little bit of basil (not in original recipe)) which took about 5 minutes to make…. so the last minute work took me about 10-15 minutes (not including the oven time, but not that I’m standing next to it the whole time…)
For the main course I made ‘Saltimbocca alla romana’ which is just an escalope (from white meat, veal, porc, chicken,…) with a few leaves of sage and covered with parmaham (which will keep the meat nice and juicy) wich also give you the great base for a tasty white wine sauce to go with it. With that I serves some broad beans and ‘patate al forno’ (potatoes in the oven with rosemary, olive oil and some garlic). Which you can all make up front! Only the meat you might want to bake at the last moment
For the dessert I just made chocolat pie… for ideas on dessert, you really have to look on the princess misia website!!
But 1 advice, keep it simple, don’t be a hero and try to be like a 3 Michelin star chef.
The best thing about dinner parties (besides spending time with my friends) is being able to go pick the wine to match my dishes at ‘van Eccelpoel’ or as I call it ‘ali baba’s cave of wines’.
Anyhow, have fun at your next dinner party 😉
FYI? Next week I’ll be posting some recipes….