Too often, hosts bite off more than they can chew and spend the evening playing catch-up. If a three-course dinner feels out of reach, plan something low-maintenance, such as a champagne brunch before your local holiday parade or a low-key after-party.
KEEP THE MENU SIMPLE
If you aren’t going to hire help in the kitchen, choose dishes you can prepare ahead of time and serve at room temperature. And don’t feel pressured to drum up a creative menu.
Chill and thrill cocktail with funky ice
One of the best and easiest ways to add some pizzazz to your drink, is by getting funky with ice, a critical component of most drinks – the water for dilution, frozen to provide chill. But water isn’t the only substance that can freeze and gradually re-liquefy. By incorporating other ingredients into your ice cubes, you can create cocktails that evolve over the time they’re being consumed, warding off palate fatigue.
MARINADE LIKE A PRO
— Whole chicken: 4 to 12 hours
— Bone-in pieces: 2 to 6 hours
— Boneless pieces: 30 minutes to 2 hours
— Bigger roasts, such as a chuck, leg of lamb, pork shoulder: 2 to 8 hours
— Tougher or larger steaks, like strip, T-bone, rib-eye or London broil: 1 to 2 hours
— More tender cuts of meat, like sirloin, skirt or flank steak, lamb or pork chops: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Fish and Seafood
— Fillets, scallops, shrimp: 15 to 20 minutes
— Whole fish, thick fish steaks: 30 minutes
— Tofu: 30 minutes to 1 hour
— Seitan and tempeh: 1 to 6 hours
— Dense vegetables, such as carrots, squash, potatoes: 1 to 3 hours
— Softer vegetables, such as broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes: 30 minutes to 1 hour
FIVE MINUTE FOOD HACKS
Always have fresh herbs, preferably dill and cream cheese on hand in the fridge. They are the base of most delicious and fancy emergency recipes. It’s perfect to make your appetisers fancier than they really are and they go well with everything.
So if a friend calls and says they are coming over and you haven’t prepared anything, in a bowl, stir lemon juice into cream cheese until smooth. Add chopped dill (or your favourite herb) and some chilli flakes (or whatever spice you like).
That spread goes well with salmon, tuna, leftover roasts, crackers and even bread.
There’s nothing as irritating as setting your table, especially outside, only for flying insects to invade the table. To avoid that, there are some foolproof ways you can try, from getting citronella candles, a fan and incense sticks.
A favourite of ours, which will also blend in with the table decor, is scattering herbs like basil, rosemary, mint, lavender and lemongrass around the table. These herbs repel pests like mosquitos and flies.