On Saturday night, Mr MAC and I were lucky enough to have my Mom, Dad and Godfather over for dinner.
My Mom and Dad gave me a voucher for Bridge 67 Cookery School for my birthday last September, so, I decided to re-create the dishes I learnt to cook on my course there back in February.
As I have previously blogged about the menu and my day at Bridge 67 (here), I will not bore you with all of the menu details however, I will share a few tips with you for dinner party success!
Tip # 1: Plan your menu well in advance. Go shopping at least the day before your dinner party and try not to leave it to the last-minute, making sure you have stocked hard to source ingredients in advance. Even better, try not to do it with a hangover like Mr MAC and I did last Friday – it doesn’t make for much fun!
Tip # 2: Prepare dishes that will require minimal last-minute effort. I have made the mistake of making a risotto when people have come over for dinner in the past. This meant that I spent a lot of time in the kitchen getting stressed when things weren’t going well rather than talking to my guests over a glass of wine.
Tip # 3: Learn new ways in which to prepare dishes quickly and easily. For example, on Saturday night my starter involved poached duck eggs. As I have some sort of irrational fear about not being able to poach eggs, my boyfriend and I prepared the eggs in advance by poaching them then plunging into cold water. When it was time to serve, we plunged the eggs back into almost boiling water for 20 seconds. They came out perfect (thanks to Mr MAC!).
Tip # 4: Make sure you have a well stocked drinks cabinet. No one likes a ‘dry’ dinner party after all.
Tip #5: Keep portions small, you don’t want to over-face your guests! Unfortunately, I did not follow this tip myself last weekend. I am not used to cooking for 5 people so my main course portions were far too large – this was not a good thing as we were having four courses.
Tip #6: Have a cheese course after desert. It is amazing the amount of people who do not have a sweet tooth but would kill for a nice bit of cheddar or brie. We bought ours from the a most wonderful cheese shop, St Giles Cheese, in Northampton. Well worth a visit if you are a foodie or cheese fanatic!
Tip #7: Make sure you have all the equipment necessary before you begin cooking. Luckily, I did do this at 8:30am on Saturday morning fully expecting to be fully prepared to find that I did not have enough individual tart tins. This meant a quick trip to Abraxas in Northampton who of course had exactly what I wanted, they always do! Abraxas really is a marvellous cookery shop with branches in Northampton, Weedon, Rugby and Banbury – guaranteed to everything that you would want equipment wise.
Tip # 7: Buy a dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, make sure you have enough plates, cutlery etc for the entire meal. It is not fun having to wash up in the middle of the meal in an already space limited kitchen…trust us!
Tip #7: If you are a guest, take nice gifts! We were luckily enough to have some wonderful bottles, flowers and chocolates given to us – we were definitely spoilt and really appreciated the gesture! It made all the effort, strops in the kitchen and lack of supplies all worthwhile as did the company of our lovely guests.