Easy summer entertaining: the DOs and DON’Ts

Easy summer entertaining: the DOs and DON’Ts

Life’s too short to spend it stuffing mushrooms and handcrafting your bunting. Here’s how to throw a brilliant summer party and have just as much fun as your guests

While summer makes you want to entertain, and the idea of having family and friends over is lovely, the reality – shopping, cooking, cleaning up before and afterwards – can feel like you’re back to all the hard work of looking after everyone, when these days you’re the one that deserves the treats. But you can be the hostess with the mostest and still have plenty of time to join in the fun, with these essential DOs and DON’Ts.

DO Plan ahead

To paraphrase the military, preparation is everything and the more you can do in advance, the more relaxed you’ll feel on the day.

DO make light work of the cleaning

We all like our homes to look nice when people come over but that’s no reason why we should spend hours with our rubber gloves on. Flash Multi Surface Concentrated Cleaner is brilliant all around the house and saves you having to faff around with lots of different products. Remember, if time is tight, you only need concentrate on doing a ‘headline clean’. No one is going to be going through your upstairs cupboards!

DO choose dishes that can be prepared in advance

Having one or even several courses you can cook a day or two in advance really makes life easier.

DO Consider ditching the starter

Instead, serve nibbles with drinks. This creates a more relaxed start to a meal and saves on the washing up.

DO cheat!

There’s no rule that says that you have to make absolutely everything yourself! How about buying a pudding from the local farm shop, for example? Or buying some dips and antipasti to serve as pre-dinner nibbles?

DO use a timer

It’s all too easy to forget something in the oven, even if you’ve made it a thousand times – especially if you’re busy chatting!

DO enlist help

Whether it’s getting your grown-up kids to take charge of the nibbles or making sure your other half knows he’s in charge or pouring drinks (instead of just downing them!) it’s a good idea to get all hands on deck.

DON’T try out new recipes on your guests

As a general rule, using your guests as guinea pigs isn’t a great idea, even if you’re an accomplished cook. It’s not so much that the dish is likely to go wrong – it probably won’t – it’s just more stressful for you than cooking one of your signature favourites.

DON’T be over-ambitious

Your guests are here to see you, not for a restaurant experience!

DON’T cook things that require lots of last-minute attention

It’s 85 degrees outside and your nearest and dearest are all gathered in the garden, chatting and sipping something cool. Do you want to be with them or slaving over a hot stove? Exactly.

DON’T forget the little touches

A cluster of tealights, some jam jars filled with summery flowers… Little touches really help to set the mood.

DON’T forget to relax and have fun

It’s your party – enjoy it!

What are your tips for easy entertaining? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Easy starter

JoJo 14/07/2016

Put a block of feta in an oven dish , drizzle with olive oil and oregano (chilli flakes if you like) cover with foil. Bake for 20mins and serve with warm pitta pieces and olives. Tasty but easy!!

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