Throwing That Dinner Party
Welcome The Tasty Other...
This is a little off topic from the usual blogs I do, but it's one that comes up a couple of times from people. Most people love to throw a dinner party! Cooking and creating for your friends and showing love through food is an activity a lot of us enjoy.
However, dinner party cooking can add up financially! This blog will show you how to minimise costs while still throwing an amazing party.
I enlisted the help of the wonderful The Tasty Other, and stole some of her ideas from her blog post on dinner party tips. For those not familiar with her blog, The Tasty Other has curated a wonderful array of recipes, from sweets and desserts through to beautiful brunches and breakfasts. Either visit her website, or head to her beautiful Instagram (@thetastyother) for mouth watering and beautiful recipes.
Below are some top tips to keep the dinner party meals flowing but the costs low:
Use up leftovers
Vegetables, fruits and cheeses
Having a large group of friends can be the perfect excuse to use up excess vegetables, fruits and cheeses in your house. Throw vegetables in a roasting tin with olive oil, salt and rosemary for 40 mins and you've got a fabulous side dish. If you don't have left over vegetables in the house, buying them in bulk can also keep costs low. Alternatively, chopped fruits make a wonderful fruit salad, and healthy dessert or cheeses make a fantastic end to the evening.
Hummus and salsa
Similarly, I seem to have endless pots of hummus, or salsa. Pop them in a dish with vegetable sticks or bread and you have a great (and healthy) starter while you chatter and cook the remainder of the meal. Speaking of bread, I'm not sure anyone else calls them this, but I love "padding foods"; i.e foods such as bread, soup, salad, pasta or rice. These can be added to any meal to add more ingredients, flavour, textures, tastes, bulk etc; they're added but not at a huge cost.
Spices and olive oil are another store cupboard special. Spices transform any meal into an amazing taste experience. Creating one pot dishes (see below), and filling them with cumin, coriander, and turmeric adds amazing flavour but more importantly insanely good colours.
Keep it simple
I keep my dinner party recipes simple and elegant. Simplicity involves use few ingredients, and elegance involves compiling and presenting it beautifully. Instead of fancy desserts that involve buying a lot of ingredients, I purchase high quality chocolate truffles; alternatively, you can make very good truffles through combining cold heavy cream with warm dark chocolate. I also love ice cream, which is easy to make (heavy cream and condensed milk), or relatively cheap, to purchase. A simple, yet elegant starter to a meal is hummus; it always sounds extravagant when you say you have homemade hummus, or guacamole, but both are cheap and easy to make. Hummus consists of chick peas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and cumin; these ingredients also keep a while so don't need to be eaten straight away. Guacamole consists of avocados, lime, coriander and chilli and adds a new and impressive flavour to the table.
Platters of food are very stress free, particularly if no cooking is involved. The Tasty Other has two fantastic platter recipes ; a vegetable platter and a Greek mezze platter both of which I have tasted, and can endorse as very easy and tasty dishes to compile for a relaxed dinner party. Alternatively, I also love compiling an Italian antipasto consisting of cold meats, cheeses, olives, roasted vegetables, olive oil. Bruschetta is another favourite of mine, that looks fancy and goes very nicely with any of these platters of food. With basic ingredients of baguette, tomatoes and basil, the cost is fractional.
One pot dishes are also a favourite of mine; combining everything in the same cooking utensil, and allowing it to simmer over the heat while you attend to your guests, is a fantastic way to take stress off your plate. Additionally, one pot dishes tend to have fewer ingredients, and can be happily paired with rice and bread. I've mentioned it on the blog before, but the BBC's one pot dishes are delicious, economical and beautiful dishes to create for your guests.
It's not all about the food
There are other elements that go into a dinner party, and add to the wow factor. These include:
- Table decorations and music: presenting the room beautifully, or having freshly cut or purchased flowers on the table adds a lot to the ambience and elegance of the meal.
- After dinner entertainment: break out the board games or random games on apps.
- BYOB: you've cooked the food, so your guests can bring the wine!!
Photo from the beautiful unsplash.com