Were not all consummate entertainers but there’s nothing nicer than sitting down at home with friends and/or family to enjoy a lovely meal, carefully prepared and home-cooked for everyone’s enjoyment.
Things don’t always go to plan however and even the best chefs have had the odd disaster in the kitchen when under pressure to perform. Manu Feildel says he’s had plenty of his share of disasters in the kitchen and offers up his top tips to avoid a disaster on the night:
1. Plan ahead
Prepare as much as possible ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen.
2. Serve a one-pot wonder
“One pot wonders are a perfect winter meal; hearty, warming ingredients and a slow cook filling the house with delicious aromas,” says Manu. “For me as Frenchman my go-to’s are a Beef bourguignon or Coq au vin but my wife also makes a great Laksa which is a wonderful winter warmer too.”
3. Test your recipe first
“Always use yourself as a guinea pig before cooking something you’ve never cooked before or something that is very complicated and takes a lot of time,” Manu suggests. “Knowing what you’re in for is very important to minimise stress. And always taste and season your food – if you don’t like it, no one else will!”
4. Choose ingredients in season
Manu’s three most common winter ingredients?
Butter – this is actually just one of my all-time ingredients, it’s essential for winter and year-round.
Parsnips – I think these are underrated. They are a delicious root vegetable and can be used in many ways.
Cabbage – it might sound like an odd one out, but there is so much you can do with a cabbage (and they aren’t too expensive either!). You can have it sautéed, pickled or roasted and it’s great to bulk out soups or stews.
5. Choose a simple dessert
“I love to impress with a delicious dessert and my chocolate and coffee mousse pots are a go to,” says Manu. “Easy to prepare with the double shot L’OR Barista coffee machine and can be made in advance to chill in the fridge before serving!”
6. Finish with great coffee or a cocktail
“As long as you have a tasty coffee or cocktail to serve at the end you can’t go wrong,” says Manu
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