Fuss-Free Home Entertaining
It’s easy to entertain at home without spending all day in the kitchen. Whether it’s an elegant cocktail party, book club gathering, or a family BBQ, there are easily prepared foods and quick-to-make nibbles that your guests will love, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the party as well.
Casual Cocktails with Friends
You’ve got the chilled white, decanted red, gin, tonic, and lime ready to go. Now you just need something easy-to-make that your guests can eat while balancing their drinks in hand.
Enter Dim Sum & Co’s frozen dim sum. Delicious and easy, Peking BBQ Duck dumplings just need seven minutes in boiling water. And, while it’s tempting to just put out some soy sauce for dipping, this is a cocktail party. Quickly elevate those dumplings by mixing ahead a dipping sauce of 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon prepared ginger, chili, garlic paste. Grab your best platter, put the sauce in the middle and surround with dumplings. Feeling really festive? Garnish with some snipped spring onions atop the dumplings to add a bit of colour.
Nothing is easier than a cheese platter. Baby Bocconcini — a semi-soft, white cheese, in the shape of a small ball — drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar served alongside juicy cherry tomatoes and a crusty baguette will taste better than in any Italian restaurant.
And, if you’re looking to take it to another level simply marinate the bocconcini. For 150g of bocconcini, drain the bocconcini and if balls are a little large, cut in half. Then put the drained cheese back into the same container it came in. Pour in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, add ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon parsley, zest and juice of 1 lemon, ¼ tsp of dried chili flakes, and ½ clove of garlic grated. Give it all a good stir, cover, and put it in the fridge for two hours and up to a week. When you’re ready to serve, bring it to room temperature. Then gently toss the cheese and its marinade in a bowl with fresh cherry tomatoes sliced in half, so the tomatoes get a nice coating of that garlicky, slightly spicy goodness. Place the cheese and tomatoes in a bowl alongside a crusty baguette and serve with toothpicks — and maybe a spoon for scooping that marinade onto the bread!
Pick up some pre-made brownies or other bar cookies from the bakery case and slice them into bite-sized pieces (everything looks fancier when it’s cut small). Stack artfully on a pretty plate for a sweet treat.
You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen when your bookish buddies come over to discuss the latest good read. Made-ahead and fuss-free is what you’re looking for.
Let’s go with a mezza platter, a traditional Mediterranean appetizer to welcome guests. Grab your largest platter and begin building (if you don’t have a large platter, bowls or small plates work too). Start with marinated eggplant. Add a bowl of green and black olives. Then put out some creamy and spreadable Persian-style feta. Beetroot hummus adds some gorgeous colour. Add a bowl of fresh veggies for dipping — cucumber, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, and celery. Place some poppy & sesame seed lavosh crispbread in a basket next it all and you are good to go.
Want something sweet? Scoop up some strawberry-baobab ice cream and top with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Enjoy the sighs of happiness from your friends.
It’s Saturday evening and you just decided to invite three families over for a Sunday BBQ. Your kids have football matches in the morning and you don’t have time to organize a full-on meal that appeals to big and little appetites. No problem!
Pre-formed Wagyu Burgers that you just have to grill fit the bill. Make ‘em special by topping with a little cheddar cheese and smoky BBQ sauce. Round out the meal with a few salads from the ready-to-eat case like Quinoa, Tomato & Bocconcini and Pea Salad with Brussels Sprouts, French Beans, and Meredith Feta. Serve cubed rock melon and whole strawberries alongside salted-caramel yoghurt for dipping. And dessert? Rich vanilla bean chocolate covered ice cream bars of course! Kids and adults will both be chanting, “more please!”
Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy your family and friends. There’s no need for your guests to know simple it all was.