The secret of a good dinner party is that it actually has very little to do with the food. Having a good time is the most important ingredient so the trick is to make sure you’re free to entertain your guests and not get stuck in the kitchen perfecting a soufflÃ© or trying to pull off an elaborate exotic dish. This month we’ve got three simple recipes that can be made quickly so you don’t miss out on the fun.
So, to create the perfect social supper on a week night, make sure you’ve got a good selection of drinks in the house, and invite people you know are going to get along and have a good time.
Onion VeloutÃ© Soup
Unlike the more common watery French onion soup, this ‘velvet’ onion soup utilises cream and eggs to create a warm winter starter so you can prepare up to the addition of the eggs and cream and have it on standby for when the guests are ready. The finishing touches take just a few minutes.
Finely chop two large onions and fry in a generous dollop of butter until soft, don’t allow the onions to brown. Sift in a spoonful of flour and then add a cup of water, two cups of milk and teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 30 minutes until onions are soft.
Beat together two egg yolks and two tablespoons of cream and stir into soup. Add a pinch of nutmeg and paprika for flavour. Serve in bowls, sprinkle parsley or paprika over the top for decoration.
Bocconcini, Tomato and Cacciatore
This simple entrÃ©e takes just minutes to make and assemble. Finely slice and mix some basil and radicchio leaves, dress with a few drops of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Put a small pile of these on the corner of the dish.
Slice some cacciatore sausage and fry lightly, set aside. Slice some bocconcini cheese and tomato into slices. Arrange the slices of cacciatore, tomato and bocconcini on the plate.
The most common dinner party meal for 20 year olds is Spaghetti Bolognese, because it’s the only meal we learned to cook before leaving home. But it’s a simple and easy meal to make and one that everyone loves. Take it up a notch by making meatballs. A good meatball is full of flavours, an explosion of tastes in your mouth.
Mix beef or pork mince with a generous helping of fresh herbs-basil and parsley are great. Add some finely diced sundried tomatoes and chopped and pitted wild olives. Crack in an egg yolk and a tablespoon of flour to bind. Create the meatballs in your hand and place on a tray. Put the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the meatballs to firm up.
In a large pan heat a little olive oil and brown the meatballs on all sides, add a tomato sauce â€“ one from a jar will do, and a cup of red wine. Turn down the heat and leave to simmer until the meatball is cooked through. In a big pot of salted water cook some fresh spaghetti, it should take around three minutes once the water is boiling. Drain the spaghetti, dollop the meatballs on top and add some grated parmesan cheese.