Relax and catch up with family and friends without the cost and hassle of eating out. It’s easier than you think – the secret is to keep things simple and focus on a few details.
Risotto with truffles – The rice and other ingredients are not expensive, but this gives you the chance to splurge a little on a large spoonful of a luxurious topping that guests can stir into their risotto – a sprinkling of shaved black truffle or a few grilled fine asparagus tips.
Hearty casserole – Prepare this in advance and it’ll improve in flavour as it simmers while you get ready for your guests. Elevate a family supper favourite like casserole to restaurant status by opting with premium ingredients – rabbit or Welsh lamb instead of your usual beef. Serve with freshly baked savoury scones for an easy but impressive twist.
Pasta with pancetta – Trade up your usual weekday pasta dish by switching ham for chopped pancetta. A glistening, light sauce will look more special than a comfort-food cheese dressing, so whisk three eggs and stir these into the cooked pasta along with the panfried mushrooms and pancetta, then cook this through for just a minute before serving.
Roast with red wine gravy – If you have to cook for several guests a classic roast is always a crowd pleaser and can be added to according to the tastes of your diners – for example, add a delicious cauliflower cheese as a side dish and to accommodate vegetarians. Don’t plate up in the kitchen, put the roast and all the trimmings into co-ordinated dishes and let guests serve themselves. Posh-up your usual gravy by making it with red wine as well as stock.
Salmon with chili and ginger – If you’ve just come in from work, you need something tasty, stunning and quick – fish is perfect. Grill or poach salmon and add a dash of the exotic by making a dressing with eastern flavours. Sprinkle salmon steaks with finely sliced chilli, grated ginger and a splash of soy sauce or lemon or lime juice then wrap in foil and bake for 10 minutes. Rice can be an unpredictable to cook for guests, so serve with good quality new potatoes.
Don’t forget the details
- Keep other courses simple – homemade soup or smoked salmon with lemon to start, then interesting cheeses or a quick pudding like strawberries and cream for dessert (Eton Mess is ideal – mix your cream and strawberries with broken pieces of meringue so there’s no time-consuming presentation to be done).
- Give your table cloth and napkins a pristine finish – wash them in Bold 2in1 for a bright and fresh smelling welcome that lasts and lasts, without waste. This is because just one dose of Bold 2in1 gives you freshness that lasts longer than two doses of the best selling bio detergent*. Also, with detergent and fabric softener in one bottle, it cleans and conditions in the same wash.
- Keep your dining space clear. If you’re eating in the kitchen, tidy off messy notes from the fridge door; in your lounge, clear away magazines and other daily mess. If you can’t avoid clutter, draw your guests’ focus onto the table with a great centerpiece and low lighting such as candles.
*based on value share of IRI data 52 w/e 18th August 2013