The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - THE CUT / THE FOOD -

Choose starters that can be served at room tem­per­a­ture (or cold), be­cause it is so much eas­ier to be­gin a meal with some­thing that is ready when there may well be fin­ish­ing work to do on a main course. A few green leaves dressed with olive oil are a per­fectly ad­e­quate side when you are in a hurry. For larger, helpy­our­self-to-food par­ties, in­creas­ing the num­ber of side dishes is help­ful be­cause it stretches the main meat or fish dish. Avoid desserts that need to be cooked at the same time as the main course or starter. It’s best to get the pud­ding course out of the way. Work­top or ta­ble sur­face space must fit in with the planned menu. Large flat tarts will take up space, for ex­am­ple, while a tall casse­role which can stay on the hob will not. Con­sider the space in­side your oven, too. Sched­ule cook­ing times be­fore­hand.

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