Easy ideas for an impressive dinner party

Don't let lack of experience stop you from hosting

For people who don’t feel particularly confident in the kitchen (or even for those who do, in fact) inviting guests over for a meal can feel daunting. Perhaps you consider it and then dismiss the idea, opting for dinner out instead. Well stop right there, because eating in is cheaper, healthier and often more delicious. Plus it makes friends and family feel special (and you a little bit smug) like nothing else.

This menu is simple, budget-conscious and centres around almost universally popular dishes (garlic bread, crunchy parmesan-breaded chicken, ice cream). It also happens to look and taste fantastic. Experience has taught us that you can’t go wrong with a sharing spread to start, the success of which is based on a basic formula that proposes your board features something cured or smoked + crunchy + pickled or tangy + sweet. We’ve listed a few suggestions below:

Sharing board ideas

  • Bresaola + griddled sourdough + marinated beetroot + horseradish ricotta
  • Parma ham or prosciutto + breadsticks + blue cheese + honey-drizzled figs
  • Smoked cheese + crostini + apple slices + caramelised almonds
  • Brie + warm ciabatta + pear slices + dark chocolate

SEAFOOD SHARING BOARD

Start your dinner party with this easy-to-assemble platter and wow your guests from the get-go

COURGETTE, AVOCADO AND ROCKET SALAD WITH CREAMY PARMESAN DRESSING

Simple, summery and ready in under 20 minutes

CRUNCHY PARMESAN CHICKEN

The great thing about serving chicken this way is it tastes just as good at room temperature than hot from the oven

TOMATO GRATIN WITH SAVOURY GRANOLA CRUMB

This baked dish works well as a main course for vegetarians, too

MOCHA AFFOGATO WITH SUMMER BERRIES

A delicious sweet end to your spread that won't keep you away from your guests for more than 10 minutes

Top tips for a twist on dessert

  • Pour warm lemon curd over vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with crushed ginger biscuits.
  • Cover salted caramel ice cream with freshly made hot chocolate. Finish with a drizzle of caramel sauce.
  • Top lemon sorbet with sparkling elderflower water, then add lightly whipped cream.