I have a little secret to share.. I am really bad when it comes to cooking for other people… well I used to be until I stated planning.
I over think things, and end up trying to do too many things at once, when just one dish cooked from the heart would have been more than enough.
When it comes to entertaining guests, I have come up with a plan. It makes life so much easier.
- First of all, dont fret it. Most of the time a simple dish that you take forgranted can be very impressive to someone who has never tasted it before.
- Presentation is key. Take time to arrange things nicely. Browse the net for ideas and keep them in a folder for inspiration.
- Add fresh herbs ad even roses from your garden for a fancy garnish.
- Instead of trying to make fancy desserts with exotic flavours ( which some people my not appreciate), stick to perfecting some classics and keep your tried and tested recipes. Som must knows are:
- Sponge cake
- Moist chocolate cake
- Buttercream filling (you vary the flavour)
- Vanilla or Chocolate Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Cake
- Tiramisu or other sponge biscuit cake
- Fresh custard and creme pattissiere.
- whipped cream
- Chocolate ganache
- Butterascotch sauce
- Butter cookies
- Chocolate Brownies
- Carrot Cake
- Fruit Cake
- You also need good recipes for:
- Basic yeast dough for pizzas, buns, rolls etc
- Shortcrust pastry
- Samosa skins
- Arranging a fruit platter is an easy way to impress.
- Make sure you have a variety of fruits.
- Make sure they are fresh
- Slice evenly and stack together.
- Leave some whole fruit well.
- Dont cut too early as frits will lose their freshness. Wash and dry fruit as prep.
- Make things you can prep in advance ad dont break the budget:
- Chopped Lebanese bread makes excellent dipping chips when toasted. It can be prepared in advance and is inexpensive.
- Make spring roll filling or other fllings the day before and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Ice and lemon/orange slices add an ielement of interest to an otherwise ordinary drink, and a jugfull ca n make a beautiful centrepice.
These are my tips for now… and here are some pics for inspiration from my recent afternoon tea: