The MasterChef judge reveals the secret behind delicious fun-filled hosting
Via: Jane Sebire
Starched white linen, polite chitter-chatter and an immaculate three course meal? No thank you.
The traditional dinner party – stress in the kitchen, menu planning and being chained to the stove – is dead. Conviviality, fun and a chilled vibe are where it's at for the entertaining style du jour.
One chef who's seriously on board with this is MasterChef judge and Australia native John Torode. His new cookbook, My Kind Of Food: Recipes I Love To Cook At Home (Hardcover, RRP £25, Headline) is a riot of recipes designed to be made at home with music playing and laughter in the air. "The key to success when you have friends over to eat? You being relaxed," he says.
Now that's a message we can get on board with. Here's the cook's guide to putting on a delicious show – without getting in a flap.
1. First up: forget starter, main and dessert
"There's always going to be something in at least one of those courses that one of your guests doesn't like," says John.
"It puts too much pressure on your guests to finish eating everything, and too much pressure on the host to cook and serve all these elements. Go for big, bountiful sharing dishes that you put in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. Guests can leave out the bits that aren't their bag, and they can have as much or as little food as they like. Plus, it means way less to worry about, presentation-wise."
2. Go for a dish you love
"I love to do a big, seafood curry full of prawns, scallops, mussels and clams with a massive bowl of steaming rice for friends to dig into. Or a flaky chicken pie is a total crowd pleaser, as is a fragrant beef rendang. Kids tend to love those things too, so everyone's a winner."
3. Or scrap dinner altogether, and do brunch
"Get one of your guests to make up bloody Mary's to greet everyone with, put on a pile of pancakes, hash browns, roasted tomatoes, soda bread with real butter, soft boiled eggs (cook them ahead of time and then plunge into cold water, ready to go) and serve jugs of juice. Everyone will be in heaven."
4. Prep, prep, prep
"Pancake batter can be made hours in advance and left in a bowl ready to ladle. Bacon can be nearly fried and just left to finish off. Big baked dishes can be bunged in the oven and left to cook slowly. Make life easy on yourself, and everyone will feed off your attitude."
5. And don't forget pudding
"Pudding makes people happy. Try a lovely big cake – I like do a peach upside down number – that everyone can take as big a slice as they like from."
Like this? Then try these:
- The ultimate dinner party guide
- Amazing veggie dinner party dishes
- 5 ways to cheat: the dinner party
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