Dinner Party Planning

As we’ve said on numerous occasions, the secret to dinner party success is all in the planning.

Later today we have some great friends coming for Sunday Lunch. With all of the other stresses of everyday life and Christmas just around the corner, this could be a time for hectic rushing about, but hopefully all will be in control (or will at least appear so for our guests).

We haven’t planned a formal “sitting down” starter, serving instead bite-sized nibbles that can be enjoyed as our friends arrive while sipping a glass or two of wine. We have found that younger children then don’t have to sit for hours at the table and keeps them happy too.

As a starter, we have minature crab and parmesan tarlets (Heidi made these yesterday while I went to buy the Christmas tree), and juicy king prawn and chorizo skewers. The advantage of both, is that they can be made the day before, so reducing the amount of cooking needed as guests arrive.

Main course consists of a large rib of beef, roast potatoes, dauphinoise potatoes and a selection of vegetables. The beef was bought from our local Q-Butcher, Clarkes of Queniborough and they never fail to supply only the best meat – essential for such a key part of any meal.

For dessert, we will offer Vanilla Pannacotta, served with fresh raspberries in a raspberry coulis. Yet again the pannacotta is a great recipe for preparing the day before. The recipe calls for 4 vanilla pods, which can prove expensive if bought from the supermarket, but we have discovered a company selling vanilla on-line, Vanilla Mart and they delivered 10, premium quality vanilla pods, the next-day, for just over £5. Great service guys!

Photos and results will be posted soon.

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