You’ve set a date in the diary and your friends and family have marked the occasion in their calendars, too. There’s no backing out now; you’ve invited everyone around for food and now you’re going to have to plan the meal. Or are you…?
We don’t think having guests over necessarily means preparing a lavish three, four or even five-course meal. Instead, there are lots of ways you can entertain while also keeping every kind of eater – the fussy ones, the gluten-free ones, the plant-friendly ones – completely happy. Here’s how…
Plan a Pizza Making Evening
Who doesn’t love pizza? No one, that’s who. You can even ensure you buy some gluten-free or vegan-friendly pizza bases, if needs be. Then, lay out bowls of ‘toppings’ with everyone’s tastes in mind, from meat and veg to fish and, of course, lots of cheese. You’ll want to make sure you keep meat and non-meat toppings separate; the same goes for any gluten-free options. Guests can then have fun layering on the toppings they like – and kids can also get in on the action.
Host a Jacob’s Join
You’ve never heard of a Jacob’s Join? It’s also called a Pot Luck Supper and it basically means preparing a feast from ‘whatever is available or comes one’s way’.
In short, it’s about asking your guests to each bring a dish along to your party. That way, everyone’s needs are catered for while your friends and family can still feel free to tuck into other people’s offerings.
A good way of ensuring you have all bases covered is to draw up a list of what you might want to serve – salad items, snacks, meats, sides or even desserts – and ask each friend what they’d like to bring. It’s a great way of saving money and it usually means people can turn up safe in the knowledge that they’ll be able to enjoy at least one item or dish on your menu.
You don’t have to go all-out and serve a big meal. Instead, invite friends and family over for a drinks and snacks evening. You can lay on a cheese board, some olives, plenty of crudités and even some mini desserts. Get creative with your snacks and make some homemade dips or sauces, if the mood takes you.
Throw a Barbecue
The summer months are the perfect time to throw a barbecue, so dig deep in your freezer and fridge for anything you can use up. You can still ask guests to bring over a dish or two, if you like, and you can all head outdoors for some Vitamin D. Why not prepare a barbecue-friendly dessert, too? Pavlova always goes down a treat, as does a big trifle.
Lay On a Spread
Whether you ask your guests to bring a dish along, or you head to the shops and buy pre-packaged party food, don’t stress. Your friends and family will have a great time whatever you serve on your buffet. You can add as many or as few homemade treats as you like – it’s really up to you. You could even create a cocktail or alcohol-free drinks-making station, so everyone can have fun mixing up their own tipples.
Until next time…