Would you like to come over for dinner?
Wait what? What did I just say?!
Having people over sounds all fun and games until you’re trying to juggle work, sports, the washing and all the other daily activities that must squish into the weekend (speaking very generally of course).
Then the inevitable questions start – what should we have? Will I have time to cook that? Do I know how to cook that?!
I know that from time to time I’ve put myself under waaaaayyyyyy to much pressure to produce something a little next level. Why? At the start it was because food is my love language – so of course I wanted my family & friends to love it!
Over time though I’ve learned a stressed out tired me in the kitchen isn’t much fun for anyone…. So I started to simplify a bit. I still like to make something a bit more spesh that what gets put on the table mid-week; and I do enjoy the challenge of a finding a new fancy-schmancy dish. But now I have a bit of a game-plan and a framework that makes it all a little bit easier; and I can roll it out according to the time I have available. The catch-up and seeing those I love is way more important.
In the Planner I wrote a full page with my top 10 ways to take the stress out of Entertaining. Remember they’re coming to see you and hang out – not for the food!
If I was to give you one over-arching tip it would be to keep it simple for YOU! Not everything has to be hand-made from scratch; and you’d be surprised at how often people fall into the trap of over-catering. So try:
- Start with a set table and a loaf of bread - you've already set the scene to get the party started!
- Create a beverage station - ice bucket; lemon / lime & mint; cork screw / bottle opener; water jugs - so that everyone can serve themselves. It’s way too hard to keep an eye on pots and pans as well as ensuring everyone’s glass is full!
- Keep it simple - this might not be the time to give new dishes a try; and keep side dishes simple too. Buy something pre-made if you have to – the main dish from the butcher or the dessert from the cake shop– anything that will help. Better yet get someone to bring something – a side dish, or dessert!
- Write down what time you want to serve; and then cooking times; and work out what goes in what pot when. Totally not ashamed to admit I write "put water onto boil" for my greens so I don't forget!
- Prep ahead - nothing wrong with playing TV chef and prepping what you can in advance and storing in ramekins etc! Frozen or make-the-day-before desserts are great too.
And remember if it all goes pear shaped – you still get a story to tell; a good laugh and cheese toasties! Bridget Jones served everyone blue soup and look at the fab night she had!
How do you feel when you have people over? What do you use to make it as fun for you as everyone else?