Thursday, December 27, 2007

How about throwing a dinner party on New Year's Eve?

I don't know about you but I am not a big fan of the crowds on New Year's Eve and if you have a glass or two of champagne to celebrate with friends then the sensible thing to do is not drive. So, you have to also face the crowds trying to get onto public transport or compete to get that rare vacant taxi!

So, why not make it nice and easy on yourself and celebrate New Year's Eve at a dinner party at home with friends?

Have a look at any of the themes listed under the category column - my suggestion is to have a late(ish) dinner party and get friends to bring a plate for a buffet dinner.

Or, if there's only a few of you, maybe your friends could bring a course each? Or, maybe this is the night to try out a formal dinner party where you all dress up?

Have a fantastic night and here's hoping 2008 is a wonderful year for you and your loved ones.

You may be interested in this new year's party kit:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, now is the time to start your magazine subscriptions for the year.
Check this out.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas dinner

Now is the time we are all preparing for our Christmas meals.

Here in Sydney where we are in Summer and the weather is warm, people seem to be choosing cold seafood more and more for their family Christmas meal.

But then there are many who stick to the traditional turkeys and hams with all the trimmings.

Here's hoping your Christmas lunch or dinner will be wonderful and that you enjoy spending time with those you love.

I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the new year and will be in touch soon with more dinner party ideas.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon. In the meantime, take a look at this chocolate hamper!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vietnamese dinner party idea

Imagine your friends walking into the dining room you have lit with red paper lanterns and candles. The sound of traditional Vietnamese string music playing softly in the background and the smell of some Vietnamese aloes wood incense or another fragrance that touches your senses without being too over powering - a subtle fragrance but one that makes you feel you're in another far off part of the world. A warm and peaceful atmosphere.

It's not hard to understand why the Vietnamese food experience has become hugely popular therefore making a great dinner party theme - whereby the theme of the evening's meal focuses solely on Vietnamese flavors. A dinner party where a selection of Vietnamese dishes sit at the center of your table and which are shared with your guests.

The vitality of Vietnamese cuisine revolves around fresh produce. The food is light, delicious and easy to digest. It has a "clean" feel. A typical meal for the average Vietnamese family usually consists of bowls of rice for each person and a selection of other dishes that are shared communally around the table.

This selection of dishes generally includes a roasted meat or fish dish and a stir fried vegetable dish. Prepared fish sauce and/or soy sauce dipping sauces always accompany these meals. Vietnamese cuisine also boasts a huge variety of noodle soups and rice paper rolls (that your guests can roll for themselves). The rolls offer a large variety of fillings and are served with a delicious dipping sauce.

So, the food is perfect for Winter and Summer!

In Winter you could host a pho soup party! The lovely thing is that you serve individuals the delicious soup in their own bowl but centrally place a selection of fresh Vietnamese mint, regular mint, bean sprouts, basil, cilantro (coriander), chillies and lime or lemon wedges around a serving platter. Guests select whatever takes their fancy and add to their pho soup finally squeezing in the citrus juice before the delicious taste experience even hits their mouth.

You can pick up Asian soup spoons inexpensively from Chinese stores along with chopsticks which can be used to select the herbs they'd like to add to their soup (as opposed to using their fingers).

For summer, try the roll your own Vietnamese Banh Hoi rice paper rolls. Again, at the centre of the table is a plate presented with softened vermicelli rice noodles, thinly sliced carrot sticks, cucumber slices, basil, Vietnamese mint, regular mint and cilantro and sprouts and a dish of rice-paper wrappers.

A small bowl filled with warm water allows your guests to soften their burrito-sized rice paper sheet before they start adding the ingredients and roll their own roll. This is really a great and fun experience to share with your friends.

Apart from these ingredients you serve the amazing flavors of grilled shrimp paste on sugarcane prawns or grilled flat beef, chicken or pork or grilled cleaned shrimp and squid just cooked on a skillet. Or tofu if you want a completely vegetarian meal. Then there's the lovely sweet dipping sauce that tops off the flavors. Also Summery is the famous green papaya salad, Goi Du Du.

The sweet, salty, and spicy, nuoc cham is the indispensable sauce of Vietnam's cuisine. Here's a recipe:

The famous nuoc cham Vietnamese Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fermented fish sauce
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño chili with seeds

Stir all the ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Let the sauce stand for at least half an hour. You can make this sauce a day ahead so the flavors really blend together if you like and serve slightly chilled.

There's a huge selection of other dishes you can serve if you want to serve the traditional meal I spoke of earlier.

For dessert you could serve a tropical fruit platter, banana fritters with ice cream or a sticky rice with mango. Again, there is a large variety to choose from.

I love good food and good wine and I love to socialize. Dinner parties give me the opportunity to indulge both my passions. I love dinner parties so much that I host a blog which provides ideas for your next dinner party. They provide such a great way to catch up with the important people in your life.

People love to be invited to dinner parties because they can enjoy an excellent event of great food and company and all it costs usually is a bottle of wine - and maybe a taxi fare home. But it's not about the money - it's just great to be spoiled by your hosts.

Here's the recipe book I would recommend:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Thai dinner party idea

Have you thought hosting a Thai dinner party?

Thai food is delicious and it doesn't take long to prepare.

Here in Sydney, Thai food is so popular that it's probably the most frequented restaurant in terms of foreign cuisines here.

But you can still enjoy great Thai food in the comfort of your own home (you can even buy it and heat it up). Why rush when you can spend hours chatting and catching up - not feeling like you have to leave so someone else can have your table?

But the enjoyment for me is in the cooking of the meal - knowing that my guests are enjoying something I have prepared.

You have some many choices - spring rolls, money bags, fish cakes for a starter - for main Pad Thai or a stir fry and some steamed rice with a tropical fruit platter for dessert or stick rice. You really have so many choices. All you need to do is look at the menu of your local Thai restaurant and the recipes are easy to find.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon. In the meantime check out this wonderful Thai recipe book:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Delicious seafood dinner party idea

You may want to consider a seafood platter/buffet for your next dinner party idea.

A seafood platter is often a real treat for people when ordered at a restaurant so you can imagine your friends' delight if you decide to serve them this meal at your next dinner party together.

The first thing I'd suggest when considering this idea is to make sure you have checked that your guests actually like seafood first. You don't have to ask them directly if you'd like to surprise them with a seafood platter - you could simply ask if there is any food that they don't like or can't tolerate (remember, a lot of people are allergic to seafood).

The platter could consist of anything from oysters, prawns (shrimps), crabs and lobster (or crayfish) for a cold platter or you can add some hot seafood like fish fillets, calamari rings, scallops and baby octopus. Try to buy all of your seafood on the day on which it is to be served. If you are serving a combined platter, make sure you keep the cold seafood in the fridge until just before serving so nothing goes off.

Pre set your table for each guest with a large dinner plate and also small bowls filled with warm water and a lemon wedge. This would be used for people to clean their fingers after taking off shells, etc. Be sure that there's a quality cloth serviette for each guest since they'll be rinsing their hands with the warm water and using the serviettes to dry their hands. If you are serving crab, it's great to be able to offer claw crackers to each guest so they can break open the legs and harder shells. Here's an example:

Be sure to have a large bowl in the middle of the table for shells to be placed within as people peel the prawns or crack open the crab or lobster - a place also to discard oyster shells.

On your platter you can include natural oysters along with garnished oysters (add some salmon row for instance) to the platter or try some of the following:

- Oysters lightly grilled with a dill, lemon and caper butter finish
- Oyster grilled with a tomato and onion relish and a little haloumi cheese
- Oyster Kilpatrick (grilled with julienne bacon and Worcestershire sauce)

If you are adding other hot seafood to your platter, I would suggest barbecuing the seafood (or any grill is fine).

Be sure to brush or spray any seafood lightly with olive oil before you grill it so it doesn't stick. Make sure your grill is very hot before you cook the seafood. If you are using a barbecue with heat beads, wait until they have turned a whitish-gray before cooking - this can take 45-60 minutes so make sure you have properly timed this into your schedule. If food has been refrigerated bring it to back to room temperature before cooking. White fish will only take around a minute to cook.

Prawns with the flavor of a barbecue taste delicious and char-grilled baby octopus is always popular but you must remember not to overcook these as they will become chewy and rubbery.

Marinades are great and very popular for seafood but if you don't have time for this, the seafood cooked in their own juices are tasty too. Marinades are liquid bases that you season to marinate food in before cooking and this method allows foods to absorb the flavors - and makes the food tenderer.

Try to use a glass or ceramic bowl for the liquid then place the seafood within this allowing it to marinate in the fridge. Drain the food well before placing in onto the barbecue. Remember to stir the food in the marinade a few times (one or twice an hour) so each piece gets a good covering. Rather than pour the marinade over the food when cooking, brush the remaining liquid on while cooking the seafood otherwise it may cause a flare up.

You can marinate prawns for as little as 20 minutes in a mixture like this if you are time poor:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
a squeeze of lime juice
2 crushed garlic cloves

In fact, if you create any seafood marinade it will usually include ingredients like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and garlic (this is always a great base for a marinade) and marinate for three or four hours for best results.

When you've finished cooking, place everything tastefully onto a large platter and add some lemon wedges or some barbecued lime slices (thickly cut lime slices cooked face down until they are brown in color).

Imagine the faces on your guests as you carry out a platter brimming with delicious seafood. Place it in the middle of your table which has been nicely laid out with a crisp table cloth and a stylish floral center peice.

The great thing with seafood is that it's fairly light so it's ideal for either lunch or dinner indoors or out.

And don't forget the rule - white meat goes with white wine and red meat is best served with red wine. Find out more about matching food and wine here
ChateauOnline-Europes leading online wine merchant

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Arabian nights - dinner party idea

As Featured On Ezine Articles

One of the most fun dinner parties I have ever been invited to had a Middle Eastern theme and it was sensational.

The reason it was so fabulous is that the hostess went to a lot of trouble to make the experience authentic.

When my partner and I arrived, the living room had been transformed - the room was lit only with candle light and a variety of cushions had been spread around the room. There was a lovely scent in the air - not too powerful. It must have been some sort of incense. The room looked totally different to the way it normally looked. I almost forgot I was actually at my friend's house.

The background music was gentle but had that Middle Eastern beat to it - it was like Arabic chill-out music - very smooth indeed.

She'd also hung some rugs or material over the walls. It almost felt like being inside an Arabian tent - I have a warm feeling just reminiscing about it... because it had this really mystical feel to it.

I can barely remember what we ate because the atmosphere and what we had in store way over took and made the lasting impression

I do recall that on arrival we were given a glass of bubbly and could select appetizers from trays laid out with tempting dips like baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) and hummos (chick pea dip) and pitta and Lebanese breads that had been cut into smaller pieces, sprayed with olive oil and then lightly baked until crisp. There were also stuffed vine leaves along with a selection of pickled vegetables. I know my friend bought these rather than made them herself - recipes are available on the Internet for free if you want to do something similar and cook the food yourself.

These stuffed grape leaves are always popular and inexpensive:

We of course were all given small plates and serviettes and sat comfortably on the cushions mingling, eating and chatting. The experience had an incredibly soft and laid back feel. We'd all brought a bottle of wine so enjoyed a glass with the food.

Once we'd got through the starters my friend brought out some more dishes - felafels, lentils with spinach and some stuffed eggplant and tomatoes. Again, these were bought from a Lebanese take away restaurant and heated just prior to being served.

By this stage we were all feeling very full and content.

Then something magical happened - gradually we heard the music getting louder and louder - the beat was getting faster and then out of another room a belly dancer appeared and came dancing into the room.

She looked stunning - she had the full belly dancing costume on and her make-up was amazing - and her moves made me feel very envious (in the nicest possible way). She put on quite a performance, even producing a sword and doing the "sword' dance.

Toward the end of her show, guests were invited to join her but we were not put under any pressure. A couple got up and it was fun to see people having such a good time. Can you believe we got to see this sort of entertainment at a friend's house during a dinner party?

After the show, my friend served Turkish coffee and Turkish Delights which proved a lovely light way to finish off the meal.

It was such a great night that I'd highly recommend this idea to anyone who wants to make their dinner party memorable - just as this dinner party was for me. Afterwards, my friend told me she'd been taking belly dancing lessons and had found out who could do a show - it didn't cost her much but she said it was well worth every cent to see the delight on the faces of her guests.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dinner party ideas - host a murder mystery?

This is a popular dinner party idea .

And the great thing is that you can buy kits like the one I've listed here that comes with just about everything you need except the food itself. Why not try this novel and unique idea..

You see, most people like to play adult games but in this sort of dinner party, you are a part of the game yourself.

This Vegas mystery brings new meaning to Wedding-Day Blues. The deck is stacked against wealthy casino owner, Blackjack White, when he's shot dead by a member of the wedding party. Comes with a complete party planner, invitations, costume and menu suggestions, clues and more! Mystery dinner party game for 6 to 8 players.

Eat, Drink, and Be Married (Murder Mystery Party)

Or, if you want to cook pasta, here is the ideal game:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Try an 80s theme for your next dinner party idea?

The 1980s was a period of renewed optimism and economic liberalization. A new middle class emerged – “the yuppie”

Wikipedia says: “College graduates in their late 20s, early 30s were entering the workplace in prestigious office professions, holding more purchasing power with which they purchased trendy, luxurious goods. The decade witnessed a religious revival and the rise of conservatism, which began with a backlash against disco music late in 1979.

The eighties are also well known (and often ridiculed) for the popular culture of the time such as the over-the-top fashion, big hair styles and the commercialization of music and film.”

What was “hot” in the eighties? These will give you inspiration for the way you could dress, your hair and the music you play..

- shoulder pads
- both men and women began to wear loose shirts (tucked in) and tight close fitting pants. They also wore loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts or sweaters with the sleeves scrunched up to the elbows
- Big rand names included Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein
- Big, messy hairstyles were popular - similar to those worn by women in the 1940s or the mullet or jerry curl
- Bright and colorful make-up or the five o’clock shadow for men who wore t-shirts with the “Armani” style jacket over the top
- The film Flashdance or TV shows like Dallas, Dynasty and Miami Vice
- Ray ban sunglasses
- Pastel colors dominated clothes and acid-washed jeans
- Cyndi Lauper, Madonna (Material Girl), Michael Jackson (Thriller) and the moon walk in the U.S.
- or New Wave and Synthpop like Duran Duran, New Order, Tears for Fears, Bananarama, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, etc
- don’t forget Heavy Metal like Van halen, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc
- House music or hip hop and rap
- Music chart toppers included Pat Benetar, Billy Idol, Guns ‘n’ Roses, New Kids On The Block, Robert Palmer, The Police, Lionel Ritchie, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, John Farnam, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, Queen, U2, Prince – you get the drift?

What can you cook?

People became more health conscious in the 1980s. Pasta, which is low in fat and a good source of carbohydrates, really took off. The focus was on cooking with speed – with the introduction of the microwave meals could be cooked in minutes. Although people enjoyed delicate cuisines, hamburgers really took off as did fast food restaurants like Taco Bell and McDonals became popular

You could cook a blackened Cajun meal.. also quiche, steaks, chicken, burgers.. As guests arrive you could serve the a “hedgehog” made from an orange cut in half with cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks stuck in it – or even serve this at dessert time. Rice cakes and wine coolers were popular. You can be creative..

It is just a fun unusual experience to try for a dinner party idea.

And don;'t forget your hoop earrings:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, November 26, 2007

On vacation

I've been on a week's vacation - I managed to host two dinner parties up the Coast where we have a house.

I'll be brining you more dinner party ideas soon - the next will be a dinner from the 80s.

Stay tuned.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dinner party ideas - there are so many!

I was thinking last night about when I might run out of fresh dinner party ideas and then it dawned on me...

The answer is never - people have never run out of a story line for a book or for a film nor do they run out of tunes for a brand new song. And yet, you'd think that every script or melody had already been used.

Ideas can be infinite and I hope you get some new dinner party ideas from my blog.

I intend to keep adding ideas for themes and tips and stories so I hope you keep coming back here! And if you have a great idea, please share it.

To check ideas so far, simply look at the right hand column titled "category". You will see a range of dinner party ideas in the form of themes.

And to remember new ideas yourselves, my advice is write them down..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dinner party idea - present food from one country

A simple dinner party idea of course is to focus on food from a particular country.

If you pick a country, then you can prepare an appetizer, a main and a dessert that you would find at that destination.

For instance, if you picked an Italian theme, then you may have a small dish of pasta as an appetizer, a Veal Scallopini dish for main and then Tiramisu for dessert.

(For a traditional Italian meal, check the Italian dinner party article I have posted under the "themes" category.

Other countries that prove to be popular dinner party themes include foods from:

. China
. Mexico
. Thailand
. Vietnam
. France
. Lebanon
. India

You could pick any country really. In fact, if you look under the "recipes" category, you will have access to an amazing website I found with over 3,000 recipes from around the world.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may like to check out this coffee hamper - coffee is one thing we are all united on don't you think?

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dinner party idea from Roy Andrews..

Thank you Roy Andrews for this dinner party idea.

Roy says:

"I have had a cooking class with participation, everyone brings a bottle of wine, we have instruction from a good cook and share an amazing meal. It is nice to have guests participate with the meal."

It is great to share our ideas.. keep those ideas coming.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, check out this cook book:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dinner party idea - inviting lots of people?

Well, you don't need to have the dinner party at home!

There are so many smallish restaurants and cafes that will open their doors to you if you need to organize a dinner for 20, 30 or 40 people.

When I say open their doors, many cafes in my area are only open during he day leaving restaurants to cater to the evening crowds. So, many of these fab little venues are closed even on a Friday or Saturday night.

I have seen a number of signs recently stating that the cafe or restaurant is available for hire - that is, that the owner will allow you to book out the entire space for a set fee - dinner included.

This is a win win situation for both you and the venue - you are bringing them trade on a night when they are either closed or quiet. They are providing a space for you (preferrably a visually attractive space) where you can leaving the preparation, the cooking and the cleaning to them! Perfect.

The cost for the restaurant hire is negotiable - depedning on the meal you would like served.

These sort of nights are particularly great for a special event like a major birthday celebration or to celebrate a special anniversary. "Special" here is the operative word because you can make this sort of night really memorable and add any extra touches you'd like. These can include additions to table settings - like candles or deceorations.. much as tables are differently decorated at wedding receptions, etc.

A lovely touch is to leave some dispoable cameras on each table so guests can capture their experiences of the night. You will be amazed at the results when you get them printed. Check out these inexpensive disposable cameras:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dinner party idea - for scuba divers!

Only if you're a scuba diver will this dinner party idea appeal..

Enjoy the silence together underwater..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dinner party idea - base your dinner around a theme

Today's dinner party idea is to host a themed dinner.

If you've been to this blog before in the search for dinner party ideas, you'll see a number of themes that you can choose from or you can create your own.

If you think about it, it's not the regular dinner parties that are memorable, it's the dinner parties that were slightly different in some way.

The thing is that it's not that hard to create a theme - it can be very simple.. but simple things can often make a huge impression.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may like to take a look at this wildly delicious party tray:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dinner party idea - a buffet maybe?

For your next dinner party idea why not consider a buffet?

A buffet simply means a meal serving system where your guests serve themselves and it is popular when you are expecting large numbers of guests for dinner.

You can pre-prepare the food and heat it prior to the meal if you don't want to be cooking a number of dishes at once.

Whilst you often see buffets in a restaurant, I haven't been to many dinner parties where a buffet is served - so it's a little out of the ordinary.

This suggestion is always great for a food theme from a particular country. In fact, I was born in Egypt and when my family comes together this is the only way we eat - with a number of dishes placed in the middle of the table and we take what we want.

So, if you have an Indian theme, Chinese, Italian or any dinner where you could allow guests to try portions of several meals, try this idea..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to set yourself up with some elegant yet inexpenive serving platters like this one:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Throw the best Italian dinner party ever!

As Featured On Ezine Articles

You walk into an Italian Restaurant - the whole experience is just wonderful - the smells, the atmosphere and hopefully when your order is delivered - the food. The background noise is all a part of the experience - it's often at a higher frequency than most restaurants but it's all part of the fun.

Why not take this same experience back to your own home and create a more intimate and less busy Italian dinner party? A dinner where people can enjoy a more leisurely dining experience within the comfort of your own home. A night where you can share your favorite Italian recipes with people who are important to you - or maybe even try out some new recipes?

Italian food never seems to lose its popularity. There's often a feeling of comfort and contentment attached to Italian food and the flavors are simply sensational. So, just how do you host a great Italian dinner party then?

1. Planning - In your planning, consider who you will invite and check the foods that they don't like or can't tolerate and set the date and time well in advance.

2. Invitations - Will you just invite your friends by sending them an email or can you do something a bit more creative with your invitation? You could attach a note to something very Italian. I saw a suggestion of sending the invitation attached to a small packet of biscotti or you could incorporate the colors of the Italian flag as the background (three vertical columns - green on the left, white in the middle and red on the left) on your invite.

3. Atmosphere - Do you want red and white checkered table cloths with chianti bottles as candle holders with wax dripping down the sides - just to give it that really authentic look? Or a plain white, red or green table cloth?

Try to get hold of some background Italian music like some opera for example. Some of Italy's best singers generally have included Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Mina and Claudio Villa.

4. Food - since Italians are renowned for taking great pleasure in their food, wine and the company of their friends dinners can often go on for hours. Italians see meals as a time to spend with family and friends instead of to gain immediate sustenance.

The number of courses served can range from three to six courses (called portate) or sometimes more courses!

You'll no doubt have some lovely smells permeating into the house before your guests arrive - you could also slowly bake some garlic bread in the oven so the smell is wafting through the house as your guests arrive. This will really let your guests know they've come to the right place!

You could start with antipasto which literally means "before the meal". This is also the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal.

Rather than hors devours offered on trays that guests enjoy before they are seated at the dinner table, antipasto is served at the table and signifies the beginning of your Italian meal together. An antipasto plate is usually placed at the center of the table. The antipasto dish doesn't even getting numbered as one of the courses.. it's just a given.

Diners are given small plates on which to place their choices. Traditional choices can include cured meats (prosciuito, mortadella, smoked ham and salami), marinated vegetables, olives, peperoni (marinated small peppers - not the meat called peperoni) along with an assortment of cheeses (like provolone, bocconicini and mozzarella).

The first course primo piatto (also referred to as simply primo) or minestra may consist of soup (minestroni perhaps?), pasta, gnocci, risotto or polenta - this should only be a small portion like a cup or so. This is a dish rich in carbohydrates.

The second or main course is called secondo piatto or piatto di mezzo which usually consists or fish or meat. Traditionally veal, pork and chicken are the most commonly used meat, at least in the North. The side dish is called contorno and may consist of a salad or cooked vegetables. A traditional menu features salad along with the main course.

The first dessert which consists of cheese and fruit is called Formaggio and frutta - the cheese and fruit is usually served together.

Then it's onto Dolce - dessert such as cakes or cookies.

You should also serve coffee/espresso known as Caffè.

Finally, Digestivo or "digestives" which are liquors/liqueurs like grappa, amaro or limoncello - sometimes referred to as "coffee killer" or ammazzacaffe.

All these dishes sound great and I imagine when people see the number of courses it may seem a bit daunting but you only need serve as many courses as you choose. I have discovered a great website hosting 3000 free recipes from around the world. Under Italian, I noticed they offered 217 recipes so I'm sure you can find all you need there.

Just check our recipes in the "categories"section of my blog for the link.

And check out this lovely Tuscan Gourmet Hamper - you could do something special and present a hamper to each couple or if you're invited to a dinner party, surprise your hosts and give them this wonderful gift. Rather than just a bottle of wine, this will really impress people:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dinner party idea – capture the moment

This dinner party idea is about capturing some memories from the night.

The next time you host a dinner party that you’ve put thought and planning into, buy some disposable cameras so you and your guests can capture the moment.

Place a few cameras around the table or at each place setting and encourage people to take photos throughout the night. Or, you could hand the camera to your guests with their welcoming drink.

You’ll be amazed at the results. Once developed, send a print or two to your guests as a memory of the night.

If you don’t like the disposable camera idea, take some photos yourself and send a few of the best shots by email to your guests – a great oppoprtunity to also thank them for coming along.

Here are some inexpensive cameras available care of

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dinner party idea - a 60s theme

I'm always on the search for new dinner party ideas because occasionally it's great to do something different. And when it's different, it usually becomes memorable.

Have you ever thought of hosting a themed dinner party? That is, rather just the regular dinner party you can base your night around an era, a colour, a type of food or even a country.

I’ll give you an example – you could host your dinner around a 60s theme.

When I think of the 60s I think of hippies, beads, rose-colored glasses, peace signs, psychedelic lights and lava lamps.. you get the drift?

"Boring" was not a word that you could use to describe the 60's – in fact the saying goes that “if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there"!

But if you have a 60s theme for your dinner party, “boring” is not a word that your guests will use about this idea and I guarantee they will remember this night! Be certain to have a camera to capture some shots or hand some disposable cameras to your guests as they arrive and send them some photos afterwards as a memento! Just to make it really memorable!

When planning your night consider your friends and who would love to be invited – you tend to know straight off which friends would be open to a bit of fun while it’s just as easy to identify the other friends who wouldn’t like it as much. Who do you know that loves to dress up?

You may like to get hold of some swirly colourful sixties designs to use as background on your invite or you could send an image on your email invitation – like an Andy Warhol work. Alternatively, you could buy some Campbell’s soup cans, place an elastic band around each and attach an invite to the cans. Imagine that sitting in your letterbox!

Consider using some 60s slang in your invitation. They used a different lingo then - words like “groovy”, “baby”, it’s a gas, blast, cool cat, choice, don’t sweat it, dude, fab, flower power, hang loose, hip, neat, come to my pad, wicked, etc. You could ask your guests to come “decked out” for the occasion. Dig the idea?

When people think of the sixties they often think of hippies but there was much more to the 60s - like Martin Luther King Junior’s "I have a dream" speech, JFK’s assassination, the Vietnam War, and the first man to walk the moon AND psychedelic music! There are so many images that come to mind that you could use as invite backgrounds, props around your dining room or placed on your dinner table! Imagine a lava lamp in the middle, colored light bulbs creating atmosphere, etc,

If you have access to a laminator, you could even print off some Pop Art images, laminate them and use them as your place mats.

I’d suggest playing some 60s music during the night like The Velvet Underground, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Supremes, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and The Who. I could go on and on.

Films of the era that you might like to have silently playing in the background as your guests mingle include – Psycho, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, To Kill a Mockingbird, My Fair Lady, The Pink Panther, Dr Strangelove, Easy Rider, Doctor Zhivago, The Graduate.

Recipes from around the 60s era include:

Appetizer – Prawn Cocktail, Salmon Mousse, Sausage/cheese balls, Artichoke dip, Buffalo wings,

Main – Fondue, Steak Dianne, Beef Wellington, Swedish meatballs, Chicken Kiev, Macaroni Cheese, Quiche Lorraine, Trifle, Chicken Maryland, Ratatouille, Chilli Con Carne

Dessert – Baked Alaska, chocolate fondue, banana split.

Recipes are readily available for free on the net so when you know what you'll be serving a Google search will get you some quick results..

This could really be a fab night for you and your guests. It really is worth the effort.

So, there you have it – the basics of hosting a 60s themed dinner party. Visit my blog for other dinner party ideas if you’re interested.

You could even give your guests a gift on the evening - their own pair of rose- colored glasses. They'll continue to see the world differently as they leave your house with their momento of the evening!

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dinner party idea - movie theme

If you love the movies, well maybe this could be the next dinner party idea you try.

You can go as laid back as you like with a dinner party - invite some guests over, hire out "Breakfast at Tiffanys" or another movie and make your own pizzas and popcorn!

Here's the film:

And here's the popcorn!:

Now all you need to do is order the pizza!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Place card idea for your next dinner party

This dinner party idea is about a nice way to seat your guests so that there's no confusion about where people are meant to sit.

It's about place cards at where you'd like your guests to be seated around the dinner table.

I saw a nice way to do this recently in a magazine article. The suggestion was to buy tiny tastefully decorated boxes and to break up some lovely bites of quality chocolate or Lindt chocolate balls and place them within the box.

Then, hand write your guest's name on a small cardboard place card and have this visible from the box - sticking out of the box, stuck to the front or whatever you think looks the smartest.

Luxury chocolate gift

If you want to share your own ideas for creative place cards, feel free to let me know. This doesn't have to be used just for a formal dinner party, it's a nice touch to provide your guest with a small gift as they take their seats.

In the meantime, take a look at these place cards that will make a smashing impression on your guests. Hand-beveled gold edge for a unique look. Designed for your handwritten words (not computer printable). Pearl White Kid Finish®. 100% cotton paper.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Saturday, October 20, 2007

World recipes for your next dinner party

I wanted to share this dinner party idea resource with you that I stumbled upon.

This excellent collection of free world recipes really helps when you're planning a dinner party theme based around a country or region in the world.

The website is called the World Hearth Circle of International Cookingtarget="_blank". When I first saw the name I thought it was World Health but it is in fact World Hearth.

The collection of recipes has been gathered by Laura Law and Storm Wilder. There are apparently over 3,000 recipes in the collection - not bad for us dinner party hosts/hostesses..

They say: "This international obsession began in about 1993, with our first version of MasterCook. Many of the recipes were gathered from cookbooks. In that case, the cookbook is names and if possible, linked to that book on This means the original recipe was gleaned from the source listed, but I can't promise I haven't changed it. That is the way I cook. I try it their way the first time then make adjustments. "

To find a recipe they suggest the easiest way is to browse by category but you can also search alphabetically.

I like what they say about ingredient searches too .. "you can search by ingredients. Say you have a bottle beer that's about to go bad and you want to find out what you could do with the beer before it goes bad. Well, simply enter 'beer' into the the Ingredients box on the top of every page and click Search. This will show you a list of all recipes, in any category, that contain the word 'beer'."

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The World's Largest Formal Underwater Dinner Party

I am always on the lookout for new dinner party ideas and this has to be one of the most unique I’ve ever heard – not something you’d probably attempt in your own swimming pool if you have one but interesting nonetheless.

500 guests attended “The World’s Largest Formal underwater Dinner Party” on September 22nd in a Guinness World record breaking attempt. Funds were being raised for six charities. A free three-course gourmet lunch was provided. Portions of course had to be small, with each course consisting of a single mouthful, coated in a protective layer of jelly.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may want to check out the Unreal price on these wet suits - Tilos 3/2mm Titanium Fullsuit. The 3/2mm Titanium Chest Full Suit features: 3mm Body/2mm Sleeves & Legs Titanium Coated Neoprene, Adjustable Velcro Collar, Back Key Pocket, Flat-Stitched Throughout Suit, Back Y.K.K. #10 Metal Zipper Head, Prebent Coral Strip Rubber Knee Pads. This 3/2mm Titanium Chest suit is a great suit at a price you can afford. Be comfortable and look good at the same time.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Halloween Dinner Party Idea

This dinner party idea is to celebrate special occasions - like Halloween.. If you want to throw a dinner party in the next couple of weeks, you have plenty of time to prepare.

Here are some fabulous Halloween recipe ideas thanks to Razzle Dazzle Recipes!

Stay tuned for more ideas soon. In the meantime, check out this Scary Music CD - you may want this playing as your guests arrive.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, October 12, 2007

Meet someone new at your dinner party

This dinner party idea comes from a member of the new Dinner Party Club, Elena Guest. To join the Club, just send me an email.

Elena likes to occasionally throw a dinner party where she invites her friends and asks each one to bring someone new - someone she's never met before.

Chances are, if your friends like someone enough to bring along, then it may be an opportunity to make new friends and to build networks.

Thanks Elena for sharing your dinner party idea!

Stay tuned for more ideas soon. In the meantime, check out these great wines
ChateauOnline-Europes leading online wine merchant

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Dinner Party Must - tracking

As Featured On Ezine Articles

If you enjoy hosting dinner parties, chances are you do it on a fairly regular basis. You may have a range of friends that you invite repeatedly but there could be a long gap between reunions with of each of these guests. The usual drill is that you'll invite them, eventually they may invite you back and then it's your turn again.. It could be several months before your guests return to your house.

If you're like me, you may have had several dinner parties in between. If your memory is like mine, then this can pose a problem if you want to make sure you prepare a different menu for the night.

I want to share with you a great tip on how to make sure you don't serve the same meal to the same guests when you next invite them to dinner. It's sometimes hard to remember - especially if you haven't had the guests over for some time. My suggestion is that you keep track - keep records. Buy a dinner party notebook or create a spreadsheet and keep a track of the date, the friends you invite, what you served as hors de vours, what you served for each course and even the wine that you served with the meal.

This has helped me enormously. Over a period of time, I have served some of my favorite recipes that have proved to be a huge hit with my guests. Once I know they're a smash, I tends to repeat the recipe with another guest. In the past, I have had to try hard to remember whether I have already served the particular meal to my friends.

We have a number of people we invite for dinner so I really have had to think hard to remember what I served the last time my guests came. It may be six months or a year since I had the guests to dinner so I really do want to cook something unique for them.

That is, until I started keeping records. Not only do I now know the last time I invited a particular guest to dinner but I now also have a record of everything that was served on the night. So, of course I make it completely different. You can keep all sorts of records - like the foods a particular friend can't eat or doesn't like. This will really help you in the preparation when you invite the same guests back later.

Imagine a friend invited you to dinner and without you even having to remind them, they remembered that you can't eat seafood - they bring it up - not you. You think, "wow.. wasn't that lovely of you to remember that". These small touches make your guests feel important.. special - that you cared enough to remember. Little do they realize that you are actually so organized that you have kept track.

When I host a dinner party, the aim is to make my guests feel special.. pampered even and spoiled. A small tip like this can make all the difference. I love good food and good wine and I love to socialize. Dinner parties give me the opportunity to indulge both my passions. I love dinner parties so much that I host a blog which provides ideas for your next dinner party. They provide such a great way to catch up with the important people in your life. People love to be invited to dinner parties because they can enjoy an excellent event of great food and company and all it costs usually is a bottle of wine - and maybe a taxi fare home. But it's not about the money - it's just great to be spoiled by your hosts.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to check out this record keeping book with numbered pages. List you guests at the index and then you can keep write page numbers next to their name on the table of contents page as you invite them to dinner.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A formal or informal dinner party?

A poll on my dinner party idea blog showed that almost 53% of participants preferred an informal dinner party over a formal dinner party - while 38% didn't mind whether it was formal or informal. Only 8% of those surveyed said they preferred a formal dinner party.

To me, that means informal is definitely the favorite..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

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The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, October 8, 2007

Repeat your dinner party idea

If you have a number of regulars you invite around for dinner consider this dinner party idea - repeat your menu.

OK, you serve a great three course meal and your guests are very impressed. Why not serve the very same meal to your next group of guests? If you've been experimenting with new recipes, the next time you prepare the meal will be easier and then again, easier after that. And quicker. You know what you've got to buy, you know how long each course takes and you'll have seen and tasted the end result.

This has worked well for me personally because I don't have to spend hours trying to come up with a sensational menu - I know my whole meal was great from the hors de vours to the dessert!

I always like trying new dinner party ideas and this helped during one of my peak dinner party periods!

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to check out this record keeping book with numbered pages. List you guests at the index and then you can keep write page numbers next to their name as you invite them to dinner.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Holiday Dinner Party Ideas

I like this guy's holiday dinner party idea - especially if you're having a number of people over for dinner. He suggests serving an appetizer and dessert .. skip the main. Great.

What I like about sharing dinner party ideas is that while the idea you are reading or seeing right now might not cut it for you, it may spark off another idea for you .. a bit like brainstorming.

Stay tuned for more dinner party news soon.

In the meantime, check out the Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, October 5, 2007

Celebrity Chef Dinner Party Idea

Thank you to one of our readers, Jacq Love, who has sent me the following dinner party idea:

"Using a book from a celebrity chef (eg Kylie Kwong), you choose a
series of recipes or they may have a chapter with dinner party

If you were hosting the party you could either do it all
yourself OR you could get each couple to bring the ingredients for
1-2 dishes and then cook them in turns.

The surroundings could easily be matched with the type of chef eg Kylie Kwong's Chinese Banquet could be decorated with paper lanterns and other Chinese features."

Thanks again Jacq for your interesting dinner party idea!

Here is one of Kylie's cook cooks:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why you should share your best dinner party idea

If you are looking at this right now, chances are you love a great dinner party and what's more, you've got your own interesting dinner party ideas.

I'm always astounded when I see where in the world my visitors come from - you come from everywhere.. today I had visitors from Mozambique to Milan to Malaysia to Melbourne to Memphis! And that's just the places that begin with M..

No matter where we live we have something in common. We love good food in good company thanks to dinner parties.

I've been trying to give some of my own dinner party idea but if you are like me, you are also happy to share your ideas. Why not help someone else in the world astound their friends by doing something amazing that they may have never thought of and vice versa.

Rather than just leave a comment, I want to add your idea to a whole page post. I will include your name and where you live along with your dinner party idea. When the Google spiders have done the rounds, just search your name in Google and your name will be in lights.. well, maybe not lights but you'll get the credit.

I see from the searches people perform that Italian dinner party ideas are really sought after. Do you have one to share or any other dinner party ideas that others may enjoy hosting?

Please send me any of your ideas to

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas in the meantime.

In the meantime, have you seen these table conversation starters?

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, October 1, 2007

How to throw the best dinner party ever!

As Featured On Ezine Articles

It's not hard to throw a great dinner party. It doesn't even have to be time consuming nor do you need to slave over the stove for hours. But when you do throw a great dinner party not only do your guests leave feeling on a high but you feel great about yourself - you feel a sense of achievement!

The main secret to throwing a great dinner party instead of just the regular variety is to put thought into your dinner party and to be well prepared.

Who will you invite? Will all the guests get along? Where is the best place to host the dinner - at your house in your dining room? In your back garden? Or even in your front garden? The ideas are endless and again, you have to be prepared. Like if you have the party outdoors then consider that the weather might become a nightmare.

When you invite people, check to see what foods they don't like or can't tolerate.

Ask with enough notice so that you have plenty of time to prepare your menu. Make sure you have the plates, cutlery and glasses you need - it's nice if they match but then to have each person using something different also adds intrigue.

Consider a theme that you might use - food from a particular country, a colour or even a type of food - like a mango dinner party. You have lots of room to be creative.

Think about whether you can set the atmosphere - candles, music, colour, cushions, anything that fits with your theme and creates a great environment.

When people arrive will you offer them a cocktail or a pre-dinner drink of some sort? Will you have a plate of finger food that people can nibble on till the food is served.

To throw a three course dinner party really sends the message that you have gone to a lot of trouble. Consider a menu that can be prepared days ahead and do a little each day if you don't want to spend all day cooking. Or you know what? You can even cheat - pre buy an entree and/or dessert and take some pressure off.

Buy wine to match the food. Yes, people will usually bring a bottle but be prepared in case the bring a red and you are eating white meat or they've brought a white wine and you've cooked red meat. You can ask the liquor supplier for advice about the type of grape that will go with the particular dish you are making. And serving a dessert wine with your dessert or cheese platter always impresses.

Make sure there is plenty of still or sparkling water so people can be sensible with their drinking - especially if someone has driven.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to check out this coffee - at the end of the evening it's great to offer people decaffeinated so they don't stay awake all night:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sense-ational dinner party idea

As Featured On Ezine Articles

There’s nothing like a fantastic dinner party – and to make your dinner party REALLY stand out and become a wonderful and memorable experience I suggest catering to all the senses – sight, smell, touch, hearing and most importantly taste!

My partner and I had one of our best culinary experiences in a restaurant called The Dark Side - there was not a ounce of light in the dining room.

Initially, we were ushered into a bar where we got to see the menu and we picked our meals. Then the waiter came wearing night vision glasses to escort us to our table.. it was pitch black..

At first I could feel my anxiety levels rising but then I relaxed into the experience. My senses were on high alert. I listened to the chatter of nearby diners.

I smelt the food as it was being delivered.. the aromas filled our senses. I smelt spices and could identify certain subtle smells that I would never have before even noticed..

Then you had to try to get the food onto your fork. This alone proved more fun than frustrating.

The food was delicious - I enjoyed it immensely - the textures and the flavors were amazing. The experience brought home the fact that I had usually taken this experience for granted - even though I may have enjoyed a flavor it was never to this extreme. t So, my suggestion to you is to make sure your next dinner parties focus on the senses - make it extreme. Have a good think about how you can make an impression on each. For instance -

Sight – how can you decorate your dining area – whether inside or outside? What colors will you use? What color tablecloth, napkins, flowers, candles, center pieces? Will you hang flowers from a tree by your outdoor setting? Can you place a spotlight onto the tree using a colored bulb? You have so many options to consider. What sort of lighting will people experience at your table?

Smell – what aromas will be filling the air as your guests arrive? The smell of your dinner if you’re cooking no doubt – garlic maybe? Or the smell of a scented candle?

What pleasure to the ear can you bring to your guests? Imagine walking into a house where someone has hired a harpist or a string quartet. I have personally experienced this for a special occasion dinner and it has left it’s mark on my memory permanently. But it needn’t cost you anything – you can play a CD or two. Have a good think about some CDs you might play and in what order.. I’d suggest putting some thought into this. Make sure the music is great as background and that the levels are just right. You don’t want people to have to shout in order to be heard.

What about touch? Can you kiss your guests or shake their hands warmly as they arrive? Can the meal involve people using their hands somehow in the preparation or can you provide ingredients so that they can roll a course – like a Vietnamese hand roll? Or fill their own taco? Can they be dipping strawberries into melted chocolate when it come dessert time? Think about the texture of foods as they hit the tongue.

And last but certainly not least there’s taste. What flavors will you serve? Don’t forget to check what sort of foods your guests don’t or can’t eat. In fact, I always like to ask my guests what they like eating.. When I was asked this question by someone on an invitation to their dinner party it made me feel pretty special.

As I write this article it makes me realize just how sensual an experience food can be. Sure, you can prepare an incredibly romantic dinner party around the senses but it’s important to consider satisfying the senses of any guest you have to dinner – that is, if you want to host the perfect dinner party!

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to take a look at this coffee - it's decaffeinated so great for those who want a coffee at the end of the meal but don't want to stay awake all night:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, September 28, 2007

Great dinner party idea food and presentation

This video takes just two minutes to watch but it has given me some great ideas for my next dinner party.

You don't get the recipes but what I am taking away is the idea itself and I always like to watch the way in which a dish is presented by a professional.

Some of these could take you next to no time to prepare and yet they can look sensational and impress your friends at your next dinner party.

For instance, the cubes of vanilla cheesecake garnished with summer fruits. Me - I'd cheat and buy the cheese cake and slice it into shape - then serve a long row and place a different type of berry atop each one - simple. The melon and sorbet looks great too. Again, you needn't make the sorbet yourself.

This video was too good and quick not to share because I am always after ideas to make an impression at my next dinner party.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may want to check out this book: Long awaited by professional chefs, this groundbreaking guide to food presentation will also delight and inspire culinary students and sophisticated home cooks. Acclaimed food writer and culinary producer Christopher Styler describes seven distinctive plating styles, from Minimalist to Naturalist to Dramatic, with several striking examples of every genre. Each plating suggestion is accompanied by clear instructions along with color photos of step-by-step techniques and finished plates. Complete with essays on plating from ten leading chefs and recipes for the dishes featured, this book is a work of art in itself--a must for the kitchen shelf.

The Hostess with the Mostss

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Team dinner party idea

This dinner party idea is all about team work and fun – The suggestion is that you allocate your guests into small teams to create a course each.

Picture this – you invite five guests to dinner and you select the entrée, main and dessert dish you’d like for the meal. You pick simple recipes and you buy the ingredients for each.

When your guests arrive and after some mingling and welcome drinks, the couple preparing entrée go into the kitchen and start preparing this – everything is there for them – the recipe, the ingredients and all the utensils they need. You sit and enjoy the entrée together.

Then after this, the next couple prepare the main course and this is served to the guests who have been relaxing and chatting at the dinner table.

With this sort of dinner party there is no rush and the people you invite should be comfortable with the idea – like let them know the idea when you invite them. The idea is not meant to cause guests any stress – rather enjoyment and satisfaction knowing that all the guests created the meal together – as a team.

Once everyone’s enjoyed the main meal then the couple preparing dessert go and do their thing. I’d make each course very simple to prepare and not dishes that are time consuming.

This dinner party idea allows you to all participate in the making of the meal and the person hosting the dinner can relax a little more and enjoy the whole experience.

This is just one of many dinner party ideas you can find here. Stay tuned for more.

In the meantime, here's an example of an easy recipe book you could use to source the recipes for the team dinner. You only need up to four ingredients!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dinner party group

If you enjoy a great dinner party then chances are some of your friends like them as much as you do so consider this group dinner party idea. I really believe like attracts like.

So, why not form yourselves in to a dinner party pack and organize regular dinner parties together - this could mean monthly, quarterly or whatever frequency you agree upon as a group.

Run the idea past the friends you think may be interested and decide who goes first. You could even throw the first dinner party with the intent to make your decisions about future parties.

Will each party be a straight three, four or five course meal? or will each of you decide on a theme for your party? You could have a lot of fun here.

It doesn't hurt to set the dates well in advance so you don't double book and you'll know exactly when it's your turn as you will need to have decided on the order of whose turn it is on each occasion.

This dinner party idea really is fabulous in that you enjoy great dinner parties regularly but you might only need to throw one yourself every few months if that.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, now is the time to sign up for your Bon Appetit magazine subscription. This is a great way to get inspiration for your menu.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, September 24, 2007

Watch as dinner party appitizer prepared

I have watched dozens and dozens of youtube videos related to dinner party ideas and occasionally I do include something here. Check out this video on an easy appetizer:

More dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, check out the Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hire a chef dinner party idea

This dinner party idea is for a special occasion.

For instance, I went to a 30th dinner party a few years ago and my friend had hired a caterer - she and her partner could relax with the guests while the chef was in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

The chef had bought a kitchen hand and waiting staff and so they served hors de vours as we stood mingling and chatting. It was all very extravagant and beautifully presented. They made sure we were seated at the right time and then served each of the courses.

My friend had apparently done some research on the net and found these caterers who come to your house to cook the dinner for you. She liked the sound of this particular group so they organized a meeting to discuss all the arrangements and then we got our invitations in the post and RSVPd.

It really did make an impression on all of us guests.. it was a truly classy affair and a great way to celebrate a fantastic meal in the privacy of a home rather than in a busy restaurant.

We could truly focus our attentions on the birthday girl and everything was being organized around us.

Anyway, this is another dinner party idea for you to consider.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, consider presenting your guests with a small gift as they leave - as a keepsake of the occassion. An example is this lovely candle. The French Vanilla Cuppachino fragrance together with their own coffee scent creates a warm inviting candle that coffee lovers everywhere will enjoy.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Friday, September 21, 2007

A portable dinner party idea

I just love this video of a dinner party idea that was quick to set up, different and so creative.. the dinner party was held in a traveling train.. You'll see the guy carrying only two light cases - one a portable table and the other containing all the equipment and food needed. Easy!

OK, this might not be for you but all this shows is how quickly and easily you can take a dinner party anywhere.

One of the most romantic dinners I've ever had was a lovely meal by the water's edge - on our own at the beach. We took everything with us - a small table with a lovely white tablecloth, candles, plates, cutlery and of course glasses. You could hear the gentle sound of the waves crashing against the shore and we picked just the right spot. In many cases there are picn ic spots and tables there ready for you to use..

It was a warm night so the food was of the cold variety. When each course was finished, it was packed into the picnic basket and taken home to be washed. We could have used disposable plates and glasses but it wouldn't have been the same for us. After packing up, you'd never have even known what we'd just experienced there..

A dinner party can be very portable and with some thought you can really make your next dinner party unique.

Think of a location where you feel safe and you're not breaking any laws. It could be a picturesque location or it could be have an industrial feel - it really could be anywhere. It could even be on a train!

And why not to take a portable skillet along and cook on the spot. This portable non-stick skillet is perfect for cooking large breakfasts, lunches or dinners. The InstaStart push-button ignition makes for easy matchless lighting while the Perfect Flow pressure-control system allows for consistent cooking performance.

I love sharing my dinner party ideas with you.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Italian dinner party idea

This is an easy but very popular dinner party idea. You have so many choices in terms of what you can serve – and pasta is the first thing that comes to my mind. But of course there is so much more when it comes to choice. I’ve included a link to a website you may find useful when it comes to preparing you menus. This of course is one of many..

Yes, you can do a simple Italian dish and leave it at that or you can make your dinner party memorable and this is where my personal interest lays. Think about the extra little touches you can make to make it really feel like an Italian theme.

Think about the best Italian restaurants you’ve been to – what was their décor like? Do you want red and white chequered table cloths with chianti bottles placed on the table? You may want yours to be a little more sophisticated but you can still consider what sort of background music you’d like playing.

In fact, consider all of your senses – the more that your guests experience in relation to their senses – the more of an impact you’ll make. Like the smell of garlic wafting through the air as your guests arrive as they hear some lovely Italian music –some of Italy’s best singers have included Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Mina, Claudio Villa, Adriano Celentano, Gianni Morandi, Ornella Vanoni, Lucio Battisti, Patty Pravo, Zucchero, Eros Ramazzotti, Laura Pausini, Lucio Dalla, Renato Zero, Francesco De Gregori and Vasco Rossi. You have a lot to choose from..

We’ve covered the smell and hearing senses – the way you decorate your house and dinner table will make their impression upon the sense of sight and of course taste is the one that can give great pleasure on evening like this. Touch is probably the most challenging at most dinner parties but think about textures or a way in which your guests could touch something hot or cold. Maybe one of the courses will involve them making something for themselves or maybeyou could welcome each guest with a kiss or a shake of hand? The possibilities are endless..

If you'l like you guests to enjoy a range of wonderful Italian cheeses, try this sampler pack:

In fact,check out my store and you'll find a raneg of wonderful Italian foods and supplies to purchase for your special dinner.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dinner party idea - why have the party at home?

When people are trying to come up with unique dinner party ideas, the idea usually revolves around a meal at your own house - either indoors or in the garden. The question to consider is this - can a dinner party you organize be held at another venue altogether? Is it still a dinner party - a party of friends enjoying a meal together? I intend to give a few examples today and in future posts.

I know a Greek man who loves ancient history and he wanted to invite his friends and acquaintances to learn about the great Greek philosophers that he so admired.

What he did was this.. he found a small local Greek restaurant and asked whether he could organize a theme night. His house wasn't big enough for what he had in mind and this guy had a lot of friends..

He negotiated a night at the restaurant where invited guests would come and be served a traditional three course Greek meal at an affordable price and people could bring their own wine with no corkage price on top.

He spoke to a lecturer friend who agreed to come and speak about Aristotle - and so the first of many similar nights was set.

If you don't have a friend that can speak, you may have to pay someone - so if the meal at the restaurant costs $40 then you would add on a couple of dollars per person to pay the guest speaker's fee.

If your interest revolves around say a charity you wish to support then they often have ambassadors that will come to talk to groups for free - I do this myself for the M.S. Society.

He'd already run the idea past his friends and they were all very keen and willing to come along because this was something so unusual it was inviting.

His goal was to get say 30 people to the restaurant - 15 couples and the restaurant would be full.

And he actually got them to pre-pay their money because he didn't want to have promised the restaurant 30 people when only 20 people actually showed on the night.. so however many turned up on the night - the costs would be covered.

But everyone did show and the night was a smash - people enjoyed various dips at their tables and chatted and had fun. The starter arrived and then by the time it came to serve the main meal the guest speaker started his talk about the great philosopher.

People ate as they listened with interest and actually learnt some really interesting stuff. The waiting staff cleared the meals and then served some light dessert. It was all taken care of and the host and his guests could just sit back and enjoy the experience. And the best part was he didn't have to worry about washing up.

Everyone left on a high and really enjoyed the night. The host could go home to his clean house and he knew that his efforts to organize this dinner party with a difference really paid off!

Oh yes, and if you do take money off people, it's a good idea to give them a receipt so there is a record for you and your guests can bring their receipt as proof of payment. Here's an example of an inexpensive receipt book you can buy easily:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon!

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dinner party idea - avoid 1940s stress!

You may wonder what I am talking about but in my search for dinner party ideas I found this video on youtube about dinner etiquette from the 1940s.

Wow.. it is a long video and the sound can be poor but I managed to watch the whole thing as I personally find this fascinating..

Etiquette is important - even if it is just in the way that we place our cutlery, glasses, etc. We have relaxed over the years but the more formal the dinner party the more we stick to the old-fashioned ways.

Of course I will be visiting the topic of dinner party etiquette down the track - but here is the way it used to be half a century ago .. it's great to be aware of the rules even though you may choose to ignore aspects of them.

Here it is..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon..

In fact if you enoyed watching this video, you may like to see a little more on this DVD. These films are for anyone who loves the great old funny table etiquette, table manners and good manners film that permeated American educational culture following WWII.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A white themed dinner party idea

Have you ever considered a white theme as your dinner party idea? Yes, we can just host the usual regular dinner party or we can try to make ours stand out in some way - and a theme often helps with this.

When you think back of dinner parties you have attended during your life.. which are the ones that stand out in your memory? Either the food has been sensational or something about the party was different.. like it had a theme.

By white dinner party you could try to focus on the colour white and asks guests to wear white clothing.

Serve your dinner on a white table cloth, cloth serviettes with white plates and white candles.. set some candles amidst white pebbles even? Or, have a lovely vase of white flowers as your table center piece.

Then all you need to do is think of white foods and this is where it is easy – for entrée a pasta Carbonara or an entrée using white goats cheese and thinly sliced figs lightly grilled (so they are warm) and served with rocket salad and a balsamic dressing. Maybe.. chicken or fish (both white meats) for main with rice or potato salad and for dessert a white chocolate mud cake or a white chocolate mousse.. and of course white wine. You needn’t worry about a little colour on the side – like a lovely colourful fresh salad to serve with your meal.

I’d suggest a white theme when the weather’s a bit warmer as opposed to a cold evening.. and of course loose white clothing goes well with an outdoor dinner party.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas coming soon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A psychic dinner party idea

Here's another dinner party idea for you to consider - well, a theme really.

A few years ago some zany girlfriends and I decided that since we all wanted to get a tarot reading, the psychic might come to us rather than us go to them.

We did our research and found a reputable psychic and we discussed our idea with them - and the psychic agreed. If you do something similar make sure that they only give uplifting news which is what they're meant to give - no negatives thanks.. you don't want people leaving feeling uneasy in any way so make this clear with the psychic from the start!

One Saturday we all gathered at my house in the early afternoon. I'd set up a private bedroom with a chair for both the psychic and the friend that was getting the reading.

So, the times had been set and we all knew which hour we had scheduled for our reading. Also, we had the cash to pay the guy when we finished so we all paid for our own. We got a good deal since there were four of us!

I'd prepared some snacks to nibble on throughout the afternoon - one very easy but tasty treat was a tuna dip - a large tin of tuna in brine (drained), a large packet of creamed cheese and a diced onion mixed together by hand in a bowl.

Place the heavy mixture onto a serving dish and shape into a log or any other shape that takes your fancy.

The final ingredient is finely diced parsley which you cover the mixture with - so if you're looking at a log shape, it looks green from all the parsely you've embedded onto the top.

I then clean around the log so no parsley appears on the plate - it looks neat. Then, I place crackers around the platter and place a knife nearby so people can place an amount onto their cracker easily without having to dig in. Easy peasy but tasty as anything! And always very popular with guests..

I also had to make sure the psychic was comfortable - I made sure he knew where the toilet was and left a jug of water by his side and some cookies. In between readings, I checked to see if he wanted tea or coffee.

We went in one by one and had our readings - it was a lot of fun and then after four hours we were done. Of course as one by one came out we giggled and had fun but we agreed to save our discussion for over dinner.

I had my reading early and as dinner time approached my friends and I headed to the kitchen.

I cooked but my friends helped me prepare the ingredients - I cooked a wild mushroom risotto.

Some onion was diced and I'd bought a large selection of various wild mushrooms along with dried porcini mushrooms. It was the perfect dish for the occasion as risotto takes a lot of stirring as you add more stock. As my the last friend reached the end of her reading dinner was almost done. We thanked the psychic and he left - it was a happy experience for all of us.

We served the risotto onto lovely large white plates and dressed the dish with shaved parmesan and baby spinach leaves which were stacked on top. It looked fabulous!

We took our meals to the dining table and cracked open a bottle of wine..

The night was truly sensational - we shared what we'd been told during our readings and really enjoyed one-another's company over some great food and some great wine.

And if you take up this idea, you may want to send your guests home with individually wrapped fortune cookies such as these:

A dinner party doesn't have to be just you and your guests sitting around a table. You can make it different and memorable. As I write these ideas, I remember each and every experience with a sense of happiness and it reminds me of a certain time in my life. It reminds me of when you hear a song and it takes you back to a certain time in your life. And you reminisce..

I'll bring you more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess