One of the best things in life is spending time with friends and family. When kids are happy, friends want to stay and move from a casual get together into an easy evening with shared food, drinks and lots of laughter. Here's how to bring it all together in a jiffy.
1. Clear the decks
A quick tidy up is all that's needed to create some bench space to lay out the perfect cheese platter. Don't fuss too much, just create a few welcoming surfaces to serve from and work around the rest.
Flick on the fairy lights, put flame to a few candles and switch on your favourite playlist to set the mood for fun.
2. Have nibbles at the ready
Always keep a stock of non-perishable nibbles in your pantry for when friends drop in. Putting something in front of them to graze on whilst you talk them into staying is a sure-fire way to keep the good times rolling. Good staples include:
- nuts - keep sealed in airtight containers
- olives - jars are great to store for emergencies
- stuffed vine leaves
- popcorn for the kids
- chick peas for a quick homus
- bacon (keep in the freezer for a quick burst of flavour)
3. Ice is your friend
A little bubbly water goes a long way and plenty of ice cubes makes for a dash of decadence. Always keep citrus on hand in the fruit bowl - a wedge of lemon, lime or orange ups the ante with mood-shifting cocktails and citrus-garnished soft drinks.
4. Keep it simple
Order in, or cook the first thing that comes to mind and use a favourite recipe you wont have to concentrate on too much. Use the ingredients you have on hand to create a shared meal, open a bottle of wine to share as you cook and pump up the music to enhance the mood.
Recipe suggestion: Sauteed mushroom & camembert bruschetta
5. Share the load
It's all about staying together in the moment so accept all offers of help and enlist many hands to make light work of entertaining at home - kids, friends and family can all pitch in to enjoy the cooking process.
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