Dinner parties for less than you think
The candlelight flickers as shadows dance off the walls as the aroma of impeccably cooked food fills the air as the first course is served. Silver cutlery glistens on a perfectly laid out table. Laughter and chatter ring out as old friends reconnect or strangers slowly become friends over the most divine food at dinner parties hosted by you.
There is nothing quite like a dinner party, is there?
Planning a dinner party can be taxing, especially when it comes to drawing up a menu and sticking to a reasonable budget.
We are going to show you how to put together a dinner party menu that doesn’t break the bank. Not only that, we will show you menus for two different occasions:
- The elegant dinner
- The romantic dinner
Elegant dinner party for 6
We begin with an elegant dinner party for a group of six people.
Starter: Goat’s cheese and onion tarts
Getting the starter right for elegant dinner
Here are the list of ingredients:
- 150g of goat’s cheese, cut into six separate disc shapes
- 320g sheet of rolled puff pastry
- Fresh thyme
- Three onions, peeled and cut into halves
- 50 ml cider vinegar
- 100g caster sugar
Start by placing caster sugar in a saucepan, then melt until a golden caramel color. Now add the vinegar and combine well. Take a baking tray, cover with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly all over the tray. Leave it somewhere to cool.
Take the onions, place them face down in a heavy
Remove the onions from the pan and place them on the baking tray in the cooked caramel. Now cut the pastry into disks, large enough to cover the onions and tuck in under them. Place the baking tray in a fridge for the pastry to firm up. Usually, an hour is enough.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake the onions and pastry for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 180 degrees Celsius and bake for a further 10 minutes. Allow to cool before turning the onion tarts around, placing a goat’s cheese disc on top and baking for 10 more minutes to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve.
Main course: Pork roast with garlic and apple
What could be better than a delicious pork roast complemented by the flavors of garlic and apple? With a couple of sides, you have the perfect dinner party main course. And it’s easy to prepare.
This is what you will need in terms of ingredients:
- Four-pound boneless pork roast
- Two teaspoons of garlic, minced
- One tablespoon of dried parsley
- One teaspoon of salt
- One teaspoon of pepper
- 12 ounces of apple jelly
- ½ cup of water
Cooking instructions: Take your pork roast, cut it in half. Place it either in a slow cooker or roasting dish.
Combine the water, garlic and apple jelly together. Season with the salt and pepper and sprinkle the parsley into the liquid. Now pour it over the pork roast.
Cook for anything between 8 to 10 hours on a low heat. From time to time, pour the cooking juices and sauce of the meat to help keep it moist. Allow to cool and serve.
Keep the side dishes, light with this beautiful meat dish. Think dishes like roasted asparagus, broccoli, and cheese sauce or even a nice salad.
Dessert: Chocolate Pavlova with cherries
This delicious dessert recipe is simple and feeds plenty!
These are the ingredients:
- 285 ml double cream
- 300 g caster sugar
- Egg whites from six large eggs
- Three tablespoons icing sugar
- One tablespoon cornflour
- 300 g cherry compote
- Fresh cherries
- 25 g cocoa
- 50 g of chopped dark chocolate
- Two tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Cooking instructions: Whisk sugar into the egg whites in portions eventually incorporating all the sugar and leaving a thick consistency. Now stir in the cocoa, cornflour, and vinegar with a metal spoon until just incorporated. Don’t overwork the mixture.
Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment and place the mixture in a circle, around 25 cm in diameter. Make sure the sides are higher than anywhere else. Place in the oven and bake for and hour and a half.
Take the double cream and icing sugar, whip it up in a bowl till it forms soft peaks. Place the cherry compote over the center of the meringue, cover with the cream mixture and place fresh cherries on top
Starter: Tomato and spicy pepper soup
Soup is always a great way to start off a meal, especially when it is a tasty as this tomato and spicy pepper combination that includes a little surprise, some yogurt.
You will need the following ingredients.
- Two onions, sliced finely
- One carrot, chopped finely
- Three red peppers, chopped
- Three garlic cloves, chopped
- One red chili, sliced
- A can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
Deseeded cucumber, grated, excess water removed
- One liter of vegetable stock
- Four tablespoons Greek yogurt
- Two-minute leaves, chopped
- Two tablespoons olive oil
Begin by heating the olive oil in a fairly large saucepan before adding the onions. Once they have browned slightly, add the carrots and pepper and cook till they start to soften up.
Add the garlic and chili, making sure your pan is not too hot so as to avoid burning the garlic. Cook for a few minutes before adding your vegetable stock as well as the can of chopped tomatoes. Let this all simmer for around 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
While that happens, add the cucumber, yogurt and mint into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
When the soup is ready, blitz it to a fairly smooth consistency, adding more vegetable stock if need be. As you dish up, place a large tablespoon of the yogurt mixture on top and a swirl of olive oil.
Main Course: Chicken with sweet potato and oranges
Chicken is a very underrated meat and with this main course, it comes with a side serving and a salad making it the perfect romantic dinner meal.
You will need the following ingredients for this recipe:
- Four chicken thighs, bone-in, and skin-on
- Two large sweet potatoes, skin-on and scrubbed clean
- Three sprigs of rosemary
- One blood orange, sliced into thin disks with a few wedges as well
- 15 ounces of rinsed chickpeas
- ½ cup of pitted good quality pitted olives
- ½ cup of crumbled feta
- Five tablespoons of olive oil
- Three tablespoons of lemon juice
- Four cloves of garlic, finely grated
Cooking instructions: Season the chicken with salt and place in a bowl. Add the garlic as well as two tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice and combine till the chicken is coated. Let the chicken sit for up to 12 hours in the fridge to marinate for best flavor infusion.
Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard any garlic clinging to the chicken.
Take the sweet potato, prick with a fork all over and roast on some aluminum foil in the oven at around 230 degrees Celsius until soft. Remove and allow to cool while cooking the chicken.
To do this, put one tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan, heat and then place the chicken skin-side down first. Cook for around 5 minutes, making the skin as dark as possible without burning it. Now place it in the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes (or until evenly cooked through). Just before removing, add the rosemary.
Allow chicken to rest while cooking the orange slices in a hot saucepan. Cook till they get a little color an soften. Combine the chickpeas, feta, and olives with the last two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Add salt to taste.
Break open the sweet potato and serve the chicken with it and the salad. Don’t forget to drizzle the juices from the chicken over the sweet potato. Also, squeeze some orange wedges over each meal for extra flavor.
Dessert: Blueberries and vanilla ice-cream with balsamic dressing
Desserts can be a little boring. Why? Well, we always tend to make the same thing over and over, don’t we? This different take on berries and ice-cream though will have you coming back for more.
And the ingredients are:
- 125g of blueberries
- Good quality vanilla ice-cream
- Caster sugar (1 tablespoon)
- Balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon)
Heat a saucepan on your stovetop, not too hot, just a medium heat. Place the berries into the saucepan, along with the caster sugar, balsamic vinegar as well as a tablespoon of water. The secret here is to heat the berries through, allowing them to soften but not burst open. When ready, scoop over the ice-cream and serve.
Dinner parties, no matter the size does not have to be stressful, complicated nor expensive. Dinner parties are about people who come together to share, connect while living their best life.
Additional References for hosting great dinner parties
- BBC Good Food
- Taste of Home