There are few greater pleasures in life that sharing for with friends - and I love nothing more than inviting people over. However, sometimes it can feel challenging to balance this with the busy business of everyday life. Here are three lessons I’ve learned that make hosting friends feel not only doable but also fun:
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The simpler the better. I mean: really simple. Don’t try and cook something you’ve never cooked before; don’t try and make fresh pasta from scratch; don’t ever feel that anything you throw together is too simple or too basic to delight your guests. It’s not: the mere fact that you’ve inviting friends into your home and feeding them will spark warmth and joy in their hearts. One of my go-tos (especially in the winter months is soup and good bread. Maybe followed by something scrumptious for pudding. Also: make your life easier, skip starters and offer guests bowls of nuts, crisps and olives with a glass of prosecco when they arrive instead. Think aperitivo followed by dinner (the dream) rather than a million formal courses: more fun and more effortless
PLAN IN ADVANCE
Plan (and do) as much as you can in advance: this doesn’t mean less work as such, but it does mean it should feel like less work. And it’s definitely less stress. I like to make a list of everything that needs doing and then figure it out from there… Anything that you can - like laying the table, making a pudding or cooking some of the food - do in advance. Then on the night, you can enjoy time with your friends.
SERVE FOOD ON SHARING PLATES
Pile food high on big serving dishes and bring it out for everyone to share. This looks more beautiful, is less fiddly than trying to plate it up in the kitchen - and everyone always enjoys eating family style. Guests can help themselves and be as greedy as they like, without feeling self-conscious.