My last post about dinner with friends was one of my most popular, so I thought I’d share a few more secrets and recipes with you. Entertaining shouldn’t be stressful, and for me it never is. I love it, but only because I make it as simple as possible.
I like staying in. It’s comfy, I don’t have to dress up, and I can get as drunk as I like without having to worry about finding my way home. I also don’t end up taking my shoes off and walking barefoot through pee, spit, broken glass, and all the other delights a town centre pavement holds on a Friday night 😂
I normally prepare everything in advance, for two reasons.
1. I want to actually enjoy my friends company and not be slaving away in the kitchen; and
2. I don’t like my friends to see how little effort I put in to what I prepare 😂
This weekend went slightly off piste, and so I ended up with our 2 guests in the kitchen with me while I made dinner. Thankfully they’re our closest friends so I don’t really care what they think. They know enough to just be grateful they’re getting fed before we get too drunk 😂
I did get drunk, and I did forget to photograph everything we had. I’ll list below what it was, how I made it, and I’ll add some links to some proper recipes in case you want to ignore me and make it properly (and waste hours of your life you’ll never get back!)
Firstly, drinks. Normally we down Prosecco like nobody’s business, but we decided cocktails might be quite nice for a change. Don’t knock your pipe out trying to make hundreds of different cocktails. You’ll end up with a mess, and a shopping list as long as your arm for obscure ingredients you’ll never use again.
Pick one, and make it well. We chose espresso martinis. They go down a treat, and bizarrely make you feel sleepy and wide awake at the same time. They did get a bit much for us after a while so we switched back and finished off with a couple of bottles of Prosecco. I followed this recipe at www.bbcgoodfood.com, however I didn’t make a sugar syrup, you can buy that ready made. I also didn’t measure the alcohol…that might be where I go wrong 😂 I just roughly put double the vodka to the coffee and coffee liqueur. It tasted good though. Oh and I don’t have fresh espresso, I’m not that posh. I made really strong instant coffee instead.
Now the food. I like food that you can graze on while you talk. I also don’t like repeating recipes for people. When you’ve been friends with someone for 37 years though, it’s tough. I don’t think I’ve made this for them before though.
Hot wings and blue cheese dip
First up, buffalo wings. My favourite. Here’s my simple way…
Chicken wings. Take some plain flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Dunk the chicken wings in the seasoned flour. Put them in the oven for an hour ish on 180 degrees. I have no idea what gas mark that is, I don’t have and never have had, a gas oven. I’m sure you can google it though 😁 My oven is a fan oven if that helps though.
While they’re cooking mix equal amounts of franks hot sauce and melted butter. I always chuck in a tablespoon of brown sugar or some honey too. When the wings are done, coat them in the sauce. Pop them back in the oven until they caramelise a bit. That’s it, done. So easy. They’re a great nibble at a bbq too so remember this one for the summer.
Here’s a proper recipe with measurements and stuff https://www.delish.com
Secondly, they need a dip. If you’re feeling super lazy, a jar of ranch dressing goes perfectly with these. If you want to look a bit snazzy with zero effort, make a blue cheese dip.
Simple way…big tablespoon of mayo, big tablespoon of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of blue cheese. Mash it all up together and add salt and pepper.
Celery sticks go well too, unless you forget to add them to your shopping list like I did, then it’s also quite good without them.
This is amazing, and so easy!
I just cut up an iceberg lettuce into wedges, and then throw stuff on the top 😂
This week I found red pepper, red onion, cooked bacon, fried onion bits, blue cheese, and croutons, and then I smothered it with ranch dressing. (Because Tesco didn’t have blue cheese dressing)
There are hundreds of recipes online for wedge salads. I’ll only ever share ones I’ve either tried, or used as the basis for something I’ve made, so here’s a good one
Another one that couldn’t be easier. I cook a bag of French fries, then top them with loads of grated cheese, then back in the oven. When the cheese has melted take them out, sprinkle with cooked bacon, spring onions and ranch dressing. That is all it takes. You can top them with anything. My absolute favourites are Mac n cheese or chilli topped.
I haven’t tried all of these on this list yet, but I’ve given some a go, and they’re good
To bulk it out a bit more I cooked some frozen onion rings too 😁 the whole meal took barely any time at all to prepare, meaning I could carry on drinking my espresso martinis quite happily.
Ooh, I forgot dessert!
Take one strawberry Swiss roll slice it up and pop it in the bottom of the trifle dish. Cover in frozen mixed fruits. Pour on a whole carton of prepared custard. An hour later because you’ve forgotten all about it and you’re now really pissed, get someone else to whip up 300ml of double cream and plonk it on the top. The quickest trifle in the world.
And that’s it, how to entertain without exhausting yourself. And if you’re more organised than I was this weekend, a lot of this can all be made in advance so you can pretend you’ve been slaving away for hours.