Now and again things happen, and you may need to host a dinner when you didn’t expect to. And if you don’t want to order takeout, you’ll have to use what you have in your store. That’s not to say that you can’t plan for an Impromptu Stress Free Dinner Party.
Food • Drinks • Ambience • Dress Code
Whatever you have, wherever you are.
This impromptu dinner party uses ingredients I have in my pantry at the moment. I could make up on any given day because this is stuff I use frequently.
You will also have dishes that you make a lot and always have the ingredients on hand, so with the tiniest bit of thought, you can have a similar impromptu dinner party mostly planned.
Because this is impromptu, you’ll be making it as you go. Except that you should prepare the desert fruit at the same time you make the entrée salad so that it is nicely macerated by the time you eat it.
Apéritif: Oatcakes and Champagne
Pop the champers and open a pack of oatcakes. Smear some with cream cheese and top with smoked salmon. Or mash avocado with feta cheese, lemon juice, a spring (green) onion (shallot), chopped coriander a little salt and pepper.
Entrée: Caprese salad with Sauvignon Blanc
Slice some fresh tomatoes, top with torn basil leaves, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Main: Pasta Carbonara with more Sauvignon Blanc
Fill a big pot with salted water and bring to the boil. Cook dried pasta according to packet directions. I like to use spirals so the swirls capture the sauce.
Squish garlic cloves (to taste – I use a couple of good-sized ones) with the flat of a knife, so they split open. Fry in some olive oil over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Just enough to colour the garlic and perfume the oil. Discard the garlic. Chop up ½ lb (225 g) bacon and fry in the garlic oil. When it’s crisping nicely, add ¼ cup of Sauvignon Blanc. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat.
Break a couple of eggs into a large bowl, and give them a quick light whisk to get some air in there. Stir in ¾ cup of a parmesan style cheese, a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley and a few grinds of pepper.
When the pasta is nearly done reheat the bacon. Add the cooked pasta to the egg and stir quickly to cook the egg and coat the pasta. Add the bacon and stir again. Serve immediately.
Dessert: Fresh Seasonal Fruit and Moscato
Peel (if necessary) or wash, and cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces. Grate the peel of one lemon over the top and pour in about a cup of Moscato. Give it a gentle stir and leave in the fridge for an hour to steep.
Serve with cream, ice cream or yoghurt if you like.
Digestif: dark chocolate, liqueur of choice and cheese (tea and coffee).
I almost always have a couple of cheeses in the fridge, but just one will do. Just plunk it all on the table and let people help themselves.