Michelle’s TOP 10 en­ter­tain­ing tips

taste.com.au - - THIS MONTH -

1 In th­ese “flex­i­tar­ian” times, I al­ways in­clude a vege­tar­ian main. You can try caramelised onion quiches, spinach and feta roulades, and stuffed egg­plants, or go for the Eg­g­plant Steaks with Pis­ta­chio & Mint Quinoa Salad (p65).

2 An easy way to get your food to work to­gether is to fo­cus on a par­tic­u­lar theme or cui­sine. It cre­ates bal­ance and also al­lows you to have fun with the styling, if you wish.

3 When host­ing, I try to look for make-ahead dishes, as all I want to be do­ing on the day is adding last-minute touches. Desserts, in par­tic­u­lar, are good to make be­fore­hand. My go-tos are cheese­cakes, mousse cakes and ice-cream cakes.

4 You can use the menu plan­ner on taste.com.au with the shop­ping list and even send it straight to coles.com.au. Best of all, you no longer have to reg­is­ter or log in at taste to do it.

5 One of the most com­mon mis­takes peo­ple make when en­ter­tain­ing is be­ing too or­gan­ised – even to the point of dress­ing sal­ads hours ahead. In­stead, make your dress­ing in ad­vance and store in jars in the fridge un­til ready to serve.

6 If your kitchen gets hot or you have limited oven space, don’t for­get your bar­bie. It’s a great way to keep the heat and mess out­side. Foods such as roasts, char­grilled ve­g­ies and even pizza are all fan­tas­tic on the bar­bie.

7 Serv­ing in­di­vid­ual plates can be stress­ful for din­ner par­ties. Why not have a course with peo­ple help­ing them­selves? Just pick up some an­tipasto and cheeses and add a few home­made dips or breads, and you’re done.

8 When host­ing, ev­ery­thing seems to hap­pen at once. A good hack is to take out all the plat­ters you’ll need and la­bel them with sticky notes in­di­cat­ing what dish they’ll hold. That way, that help­ful guest will know your plan, too.

9 Mak­ing sure your guests eat on time is crit­i­cal. Set timers on your phone so you don’t get dis­tracted. Best of all, this re­duces stress so you can prop­erly re­lax and min­gle!

10 For sweets, try a dessert sta­tion with dif­fer­ent ice-creams, home­made top­pings and fun lol­lies as top­pers.

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