Do you want to do it properly with no fuss and secure success? Either you decide to go cheap or grandiose, here there are some tips for you to organise it in the best and more comfortable way. So, finally, you are in! Your new fantastic, long-desired new house… You can smell the new furniture, the air is fresh, a white canvas where you can start writing a new chapter of your life. There is much to celebrate, so you start thinking to host the perfect party. But…where to start? How to navigate ...
Do you want to do it properly with no fuss and secure success?
Either you decide to go cheap or grandiose, here there are some tips for you to organise it in the best and more comfortable way.
So, finally, you are in! Your new fantastic, long-desired new house…
You can smell the new furniture, the air is fresh, a white canvas where you can start writing a new chapter of your life.
There is much to celebrate, so you start thinking to host the perfect party.
But…where to start? How to navigate in a jungle of offers and crazy projects?
Here it is some ideas and also some recipes to plan in advance and have great success.
First of all, choose a theme.
It could be a colour, a song, an object, a poem, a movie… be creative!
One of my dinners was about the colour “orange”. From the cocktail to the table-set, from the food to the decoration, even my frock, everything had an orange nuance. Very summery and energetic!
One of the best themes it’s, of course, a specific kind of cuisine.
I’m Italian, so it’s effortless for me to transform my table in a gigantic green, white and red flag just playing with the colour of the food.
Green is provided by some lettuce, rucola, “courgetti” (spaghetti made by spiralised courgettes) olives and cucumbers. White consists of small mozzarella balls, parmesan in flakes, cubes of feta and hummus (let’s honour all the Mediterranean!). Finally, Red has gorgeous tomatoes, fried red peppers and “passata” (tomatoes sauce, the necessary topping of the pizza) with a pinch of oregano. Just need to add a prosciutto chopping board, and the palette is completed.alil
Another theme that works really well is to choose an ingredient. It could be a spice, a fruit, a vegetable…
Once I chose lavender. I put sprigs on the napkins, in jars, and then I used it to cook a fantastic chicken. I also used it to bake cookies and chocolate truffle, not to mention the colour of my gorgeous vintage mini dress.
Match your outfit to the type of dinner
Play with your clothes. Japanese food? Wear a kimono jacket with wide trousers. Italian dinner? If you don’t have an original “Dolce & Gabbana” or something by another famous stylist, go with the colour of the flag: green top, white trousers, red shoes. Chinese style? Chopsticks in your bun. Indian party? A sari is a perfect choice.
Choose the right music.
Someone used to say: “No music, no party!”
Of course, it depends on your age, but, trust me, Sinatra, Bublé, some easy jazz from the ’50s will warm up the atmosphere and feel your guests welcome. In case, there will be time to put on some hip-hop music to dance later on.
Chose the drink
Let your guests bring something to drink. It will be plenty of choices, and no one will complain.
What you have to do is to prepare an excellent welcoming cocktail and buy a significant number of beers: they are chip, always appreciated to everyone and easy to match with almost every kind of food.
One of my favourites cocktails is “White Sangria with red fruits”: a bottle of good Prosecco (or any other white wine), 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, the juice of a lemon, a cinnamon stick and all the red fruit you can find-strawberries, peaches, red apples, raspberry, pomegranate…
One of the most famous cocktails of the moment is Spritz. While the recipe is relatively easy to make (3 parts of prosecco, 2 pieces of Aperol, 1 splash of tonic water, orange slices) the way you present it’s crucial.
Freeze orange juice in ice cube trays, put everything in a large bowl, moisten the rim with lime/lemon and sugar, put orange slices on edge to decorate it and it’s done.
Let’s talk seriously now: food. I’m Italian, you can trust me.
Here you have two choices: go for a “show off’ party or for a “fuss less” one. It’s up to you.
“Show off” dinner
We are talking about buffet, of course, even if you decide to invite just a few friends -a seated dinner party it’s always too complicated and, in my opinion, less fun.
The table. Start leaning the table against the wall, so people can have 3 sides to pass around. Pick a gorgeous table clothing, matched with the theme you have chosen. You can find fantastic stuff out there, even simple big pieces of fabric could be fine, used like runners.
Just consider that if you are going to serve very coloured food, a white one will better stand your dishes out.
Play with a different kind of crockery and cutlery, mix and match new stuff with old ones- no plastic, please. You can find fantastic pieces in the charity shops, like excellent glasses, even silver cutlery.
Decoration: just place small glasses with a big flower in it, even vegetable, and put it in a strategic point of the table.
Do the same with candles: use tea candles in small glasses or put 4 or 5 of them in a large bowl full of water and place it in the centre of the table. You can also insert some flowers into the water. The effect will be unique!
Put the food in large, long plates. Use wooden chopping board for cured meats, cheese and bread, tall tumblers for grissini or puff-pastry straws, baskets with different types of bread.
If you are hosting about ten people you can serve mono-portion: they are fancy and easy to prepare in advance.
If the number of guests is around 20, it’s better to prepare big plates of food from where people can directly serve themselves.
Here there is an idea of the menu.
You can do it by yourself, it’s so easy, it’s just pizza dough drizzled with olive oil and salt. Cut it in a triangle and then put on the table small bowls with cherry tomatoes, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella pieces, rucola, other vegetables, tomato sauce, pieces of feta seasoned with oregano, oil and hot chilli, all you can imagine your guests can use to “customise” their own pizza.
You can’t go wrong with pasta. It’s also suitable for vegetarians.
Chose a recipe that you can prepare in advance and serve it as a pasta salad.
My favourite is “penne with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon -you can remove it for vegetarians- and parmesan flakes”. So good!
Also “baked pasta” it’s a fantastic dish that you can prepare in advance. Again, you can do two versions, with ragù and mozzarella or just with cheese and vegetables. (fantastic the one with aubergines).
It’s delicious when it is served cold, but you can also warm it up a bit.
Provide at least two types of salads. One could be all green, with lettuce, rucola, cucumbers, green pears, gorgonzola chunks and walnut. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar. For a colourful one, use different types of tomatoes, corgetti, carrots, edible flowers, roasted butternut squash, then add pieces of bacon and pecan nuts. Use the same seasoning.
This is the moment to really impress.
Maybe serve fewer dishes but don’t skimp on desserts. It will make all the difference.
This means you should serve at least three different types of desserts. Don’t worry, anyway, it will be more than manageable.
This is the magic list:
Limoncello curd mousse
What you need is 2 or 3 lemon curd jars from the supermarket and a bottle of Limoncello -typical Italian lemon liqueur. Mix the lemon curd with 4/5 tablespoon of Limoncello- it has to be quite liquid-then pour it in shot glasses and insert a Mikado.
Vanilla Gelato with a choice of titbits
Put two scoops of gelato in cocktail glasses and serve them with a variety of small bowls with little merengues, Nutella sauce, dark and white chocolate drops, chopped roasted hazelnut, pieces of cookies, Bayles and coffee (to make the typical Italian “affogato”), macarons, strawberries...
Your guest will customise their own gelato in a fun and gourmand way.
You can’t finish dinner without chocolate. The better way is to combine it with one of the most famous dessert: tiramisu. It’s basically a “tiramisu in disguise”, but very easy to prepare. Crush a pack of Savoiardi (the classic cookies for tiramisu), mix 500 gr of mascarpone with 3/4 tablespoons of sugared espresso coffee, put the savoiardi crumbs inside and form small balls, then rolled them in cocoa powder and put in the fridge until dinner. Done! You can prepare them the day before.
It’s more a cocktail party, with few dishes than the previous one, but still delicious.
Chose a nice piece of fabric to cover the table, then put all the food on top using cake stands. You can do it by yourself just putting a big plate on a nice up-side-down glass or cup. The effect will be unique, and you will be able to dispose of all the food on a different height. You can also add a tea candle under the glass, especially if you want to take the food warm.
“Bruschette”. Chip and incredibly easy. Buy different types of bread -sourdough, rye, spelt…-cut them in thin slices and put under the grill. When they are brown put into long treys, drizzle with olive oil and brush with a slice of garlic. Top with chopped tomatoes, olives, mozzarella pieces, oregano, hummus, feta, whatever you like.
The charcuterie and cheese board will complete a variety of toppings.
You don’t need to buy expensive cheese or fancy prosciutto. Every supermarket has a choice of a cheap yet good selection of cheese and cured meats.
Tortellini bites. Boiled giant tortellini for 3/4 minutes, divide them into 3 portions and season with 3 different types of sauces. 1. melted butter with some sage leaves. 2. tomato sauce with garlic, olive oil and tomato passata. 3. An already made pesto. Put tortellini in 3 different bowls, dress each with an additional sauce and add grated parmesan. Serve with a toothpick.
Mini-Salads. In small glasses put 2/3 mozzarella balls, 2/3 cucumbers slices, chopped tomatoes, rucola leaves, olives and pieces of bread. Season your salad with olive oil, salt and oregano. Complete the presentation with a grissini.
One or two of the desserts already mentioned above will work perfectly, but you can also make a super easy brownie receipt, that you can prepare the day before.
Melt 300 gr of dark chocolate into the micro-wave, add 150gr of butter, mix with 150 gr of broken cookies, 3/4 tablespoons of coffee or 20 gr of orange liqueur and 100gr of pistachios or other types of nuts, put everything in a baking tray, lined with baking sheets. Press the cookie dough into a single layer and put it in the fridge. Just before dinner take it out of the refrigerator, cover with melted Nutella and cut it in pieces. You can serve it also with a scoop of ice-cream.
If you would like to have a personalised plan for your fabulous party, feel free to drop me an email. It won’t cost you a fortune!