I am preparing for a houseful this weekend, I think 27 at last count. Youngest is 18 months, and the oldest…well, the birthday boy is belatedly celebrating his 70th. And it’s the first time the two extended families have met. Which means the food needs to facilitate good conversation and good memories.
There are plenty of family favourites to work from, but if your entertaining needs a dose of inspiration then how about some of these?
Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations – I love Martha Stewart. I wish I had the time to make my events as wonderful looking as hers but I don’t, but at least I can pinch a few ideas and take things up at least a notch! This is about the full thing: the food, the drinks, the table settings, the decorations. Sadly we don’t have the weather or, in my case, the garden acreage for some of these things, but lovely to look at!
You’re All Invited: Margot’s Recipes for Entertaining – this is much more about the food, and oh what food! I like that this says it covers dinner for 15 or drinks and canapes for 50, or even just a good family lunch. I’m a great admirer of Margot’s, think she’s been a little overshadowed by Fergus, but this book shows that she really is fantastic cook and writer.
Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry – I’ve written about Alice Hart’s book before, and it’s definitely on my wish list. It’s about seasonal food with friends, which I can’t think of much that is better in the world. I just need someone now to hold a Vietnamese bridal shower for!
Entertaining Solo: Delicious Recipes for Single Cooks who Like to Entertain – I thought this was a bit of an oxymoron at first, a party for one. But it turns it out is more about turning out great food when it’s just you in the kitchen. I take it that it means something a bit more unusual than just a big bowl of chilli and all the accompaniments!
Instant Entertaining – I don’t own any Donna Hay cookbooks (should I?) but I always love the photography. And I like the premise of this book which is about fitting entertaining into our everyday lives, which she acknowledges are incredibly busy. As Shirley Conran said, life is too short to stuff a mushroom, and this at least gives some very decent alternatives.
Personally, this weekend I am happy that there are some dishes that I made on quieter days that are sat in the freezer just waiting for days like this. That, and an early morning delivery from Ocado. Yes, you still can’t beat a few sausage rolls going into the oven at the last minute! Wish me luck!