Dinner parties are hard work for the host, not matter how much you like cooking they inevitably mean at least an afternoon in the kitchen before a panic to get ready and look cool calm and collected when your guests arrive. This is doubly the case when your guests are foodies – there is no pressure like it. My family however have discovered the ultimate dinner party hack; the shared degustation.
We had an early Christmas dinner with our family and my sister’s in laws. We could all definitely be classified as foodies, like make your own muesli and have experimented with foam foodies. Essentially the worst kind of dinner guests all in one family (or soon to be family come the October wedding!). Which is why this dinner party hack is so awesome.
Here’s how it works, each person/couple takes care of one of the courses. If you want a really impressive spread then each person/couple takes two courses. Now remember here the definition of degustation: a series of small plates. This means that all the courses are about the size of a standard appetiser and can be as small as some artfully arranged finger food. You can go really simple or really complex, it totally depends on a) how much time you have to make the food, b) if inspiration has struck.
To keep the washing up to a minimum we used the same wooden boards for almost every course with a quick wipe in-between. Side note on the boards, my Dad is all kinds of amazing and he made them himself from a bit of wood he found under our house. Along with spreading the washing up responsibility the degustation also means that every single person there gets a chance to relax and chat, after all if it’s not your course you don’t have to be in the kitchen.
Potentially the only downside was the cocktails. Actually I lie, it was an awesome downside… We had my sister making the cocktails, and it took a few tries till she was happy with the result. Not a family to waste food (or gin) we, ah, drank all the test cocktails. I can’t tell you how hard it is to plate up multiple dishes when under the influence of sister.
Thank you so much to Julie and Greg for hosting, and everyone else for cooking. Because the super ultimate dinner party hack? Arrive home after 24 hours of flying and everyone else just feeds you while giving you gin and cuddles.
1. Cheese platter
2. Gin cocktail
3. Tuna carpaccio with black sesame
4. Home made meat balls (my favorite course!!)
5. Roast pork with crackling and apple
6. Cumin crusted lamb with kumera mash
7. Baked Alaska with sour cherry sauce