Friday, November 28, 2008

Dinner Party Idea - Don't Forget the Playlist!

This is so true - great music playing softly in the background adds to your dinner party success..

In this article, geeksugar says:

"When you're making a big important meal, the last thing you want to stress over is the dinner music. So you put off making the perfect playlist until now. Big deal — as long as you know some great last-minute ways to do it for you!"

geeksugar suggests iTunes Genius, or if iTunes doesn't grab you "plug in your laptop speakers and head over to Pandora or Last FM, both of which will provide you with "stations" that are exactly what you're looking for."

How-To: Make a Last-Minute Dinner Party Playlist | holiday, How to, iTunes Genius | geeksugar - Technology, Gadgets, & How Tos.
How-To: Make a Last-Minute Dinner Party Playlist | holiday, How to, iTunes Genius | geeksugar - Technology, Gadgets, & How Tos.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ten Green Dinner Party Tips

Check out these smart eco dinner party tips as included in the New Zealand Herald.. wherever we live, the planet is so important!

Their 10 tips are:

1: Plan and invite wisely. Before you shop, make a guest list. Knowing the number of people coming to your party is the first step to reducing waste. Save paper by sending electronic invitations.

2: Encourage your guests to travel green. In the invitation, indicate clearly how to get to the dinner party on public transport. Is there a bus nearby? If you don't live near public transport, ask guests to carpool.

3: Use eco-conscious decorations. Decorations are often paper and plastic and last only a short time. Look outside for nature-inspired decorations. Why not gather branches, flowers, foliage and rocks?

4: Buy seasonal and local produce. The farmers' market is the ideal place to buy local food, which is good for your health and for the Earth, because it travels only a short distance from producer to your plate.

5: Sip green drinks. When you're planning what drinks to serve, try to avoid those in cans and bottles. But if you do have drinks in these containers, clearly mark a place where guests can recycle.

6: Go vegetarian. Meat production contributes to climate change - producing 1kg of beef requires 14,000 litres of water. Cattle and other livestock also produce methane, a gas 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

7: Choose sustainable seafood. If you're thinking of serving seafood, go the sustainable route and avoid contributing to the overfishing that is devastating the world's seafood population.

8: Use the right tableware. Avoid paper cups, plates, napkins and plastic utensils. If you are stuck on these, look for unbleached or biodegradable products. Or use dishwasher- safe china and glasses.

9: Send guests home with leftovers. Instead of letting leftovers sit in your fridge, send some home with your friends. Lend them your green Tupperware or encourage them to bring their own to fill up after the party.

10: Clean up green. Set up bins that mark where guests can recycle and compost. Composting scraps is great for your garden and easy to do. Be sure your dishes are finding their way into an efficient dishwasher.
The Ten Green Dinner Party Tips - 24 Nov 2008 - NZ Herald: Life & Style News and Reviews from New Zealand and around the World

Great ideas don't you think?

Stay tuned for more dinner party news soon..

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Friday, November 21, 2008


Interesting dinner party news from our Brittish friends.

A survey suggests Britons would rather have actress Helen Mirren as their guest at a dinner party than any other celebrity saying she would be the ultimate dinner party guest!

I found this interesting given recent posts suggesting that readers consider who the would invite to dinner if they could..


Stay tuned for more dinner party news and idea soon.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tight times? Never Too Tight for a Dinner Party!

A very interesting article by Tessa Boase..

"The little treats are on the rise," says Giles Henschel, founder of the Dorset food producer Olives et Al, whose sales of classy pre-dinner nibbles and dressings are up 20 per cent.

Henschel sees this as evidence of "a new-found thrift and indulgence culture. People want to say to their friends over the dinner table: 'I grew these onions myself. They cost me nothing, but I pickled them in some really nice balsamic vinegar.' Or they want the satisfaction that the salad cost thruppence from Lidl's, but they cleverly tarted it up with some good extra virgin and a handful of pistachios from the deli."

Credit crunch entertaining is about making a few intelligent decisions for maximum reward. As London-based accountant Kate Pollan puts it: "An evening sinking a few bottles of prosecco with friends is meant to take my mind off the school fees. Fiddling around with vol-au-vents and worrying if I've overcooked the salmon is just going to stress me out and take the joy out of the occasion."

Pollan, 42, has taken to calling in the caterers for what she prefers to call supper parties. "It's very low-key. They just drop the dishes off with heating instructions. We think of it as a really good takeaway shared with friends. Everyone knows I didn't cook it, but it's no big deal. Most people want the caterer's contact details as it's so much cheaper than a restaurant and often more delicious."

I'd suggest having a look at this article..

Tight times? Cheers for the dinner party - Telegraph

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Undergournd Dinner Party - Exploring Secret Culinary Terrain

Hear of an underground dinner party near you? In fact, have you heard of the term in the first place. This article takes you on a journey of exploration..

"The legality and definition of an "underground restaurant" varies state to state and house to house. Garbee defines the term in part by saying what it is not:

"It's not a standard dinner party with a few unknown faces around the table; it's not a group of friends and acquaintances who split the cost of dinners at rotating homes (otherwise known as a classic supper club); it's not a brick-and-mortar, fully licensed restaurant (which is not to say all undergrounds are illegal; catering licenses can come in handy)."

"Underground restaurants are a relatively new element in the restaurant world, and their specifics are fleeting and unstable by nature."

Am interesting read really..
On Food: Exploring secret culinary terrain

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Peking duck: easy-to-make showstopper for your dinner party

Whilst not a duck eater myself, I found this interesting article by Judy Sarasohn which included an easy Peking duck recipe.

Sarasohn says: "I took a lesson in making Peking duck — crisp skin, thin pancake wraps and all — some 15 years ago from Joan Shih, who teaches Chinese cooking in Silver Spring, Md. It turned out to be so simple that now I only roughly follow a recipe drawn mostly from memory, adding honey and wine if more marinade seems necessary. She continues:

The pancakes for serving are difficult to make just right, so fragile that they are cooked two at a time and then pulled apart. After proving once that I could do it, I now rely on store-bought pancakes (Asian markets carry them sometimes frozen) that need only steaming before serving.)

The other issue is finding a place to hang the duck.

The day before the meal, the duck is scalded for a few minutes and then rubbed on the outside with a mixture of honey, dry sherry or wine, minced ginger and chopped scallions. Then it must hang over a pan overnight to catch the drippings until it is time to roast it in the oven (about an hour before serving). Hanging the bird extracts fat; also, the scalding and marinade make the skin so crisp and delectable that it is served as a separate course at banquets.

The traditional method of making Peking duck calls for inserting a tube or straw under the skin of the duck's neck, then blowing in air to separate the skin and flesh, so that the skin becomes especially crisp and the remaining fat can render and baste the meat during the roasting."

You can read the whole article here:

Peking duck: easy-to-make showstopper for your dinner party - San Jose Mercury News

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dinner Parties Need Not Cost the Earth

I agree with Natascha Mirosch's comment in this article that preparing a dinner party for six can costs around the same price as two people going out for dinner.. and yes - keep things simple.. Quotes from the article:

"Use things you already have. You can make a dip for example with some whole egg mayonnaise and a bit of pesto. I did one recently with tinned beetroot, yoghurt and mint and it cost about $1.50," she said.

Taafe said buying cheap olives in brine and marinating them overnight in lemon, garlic and chilli could add finesse to your antipasto platter.

Tips for dinner parties that don&squo;t cost the Earth | The Courier-Mail

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top 10 Ultimate Dinner Party Faux-pas.

Great tips to avoid this dinner party faux-pas..

"Dinner party etiquette can be a minefield of trip-ups, and with the Christmas party season fast approaching many will be planning intimate dinner parties, albeit with dread creeping in case they don’t pull it off.Damian Clarkson Manager Director of A-list cater Red Snapper Events divulges his top 10 dinner party faux-pas.

1. Time management – be as prepared as possible; do as many of the kitchen preparations before hand, leaving you free to socialise.

2. Dietary requirements – you must try to cater for any dietary requirements, ask guests before hand, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

3. Airing your laundry in public – Make sure the house is tidy with all washing etc put away. No one wants to look at your underwear drying whilst they eat dinner.

4. Unexpected guests – finalise your guest list. Ensure you know exactly how many people are coming; having an empty seat is just as bad as squeezing in one extra.

5. Hitting the bottle – being drunk is never glamorous but a drunken host is sinful, especially when it leads to serving burnt food. Don’t be tempted by a tipple before people arrive.

6. Mystery diners – ensure that you introduce people. Everyone around the table should know who they are dining with.

7. Nipping to the shop – make sure you have food and wine to last the evening, nothing is worse than leaving your own party and no guest should go home hungry or be searching for a drink.

8. Chained to the kitchen – although it’s important to make sure the food is delectable it is just as important to spend time with your guests. So don’t spend the majority of your time back of house.

9. Let me entertain you – dinner party entertainers such as magicians are very old hat and just plain tacky. Spend the money on some extra bubbles to ignite conversation.

10. Shutting the door – Don’t rush your guests out the door at the end of the night. Even if you are exhausted, be a welcoming host to the very last guest leaves."
Top 10 Ultimate Dinner Party Faux-pas.

Great tips Damian - thanks!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Light-up table adds interactivity to your next dinner party

Light-up table adds interactivity to your next dinner party | Appliances and Kitchen Gadgets - CNET Blogs

Why focus on food at your next dinner party?

While this is probably a major concern for most of us,  there really is so no need it seems.. Not when you can have this..dinner party table!

"The festive and attractive design is also environmentally conscious: the table uses recycled materials like the glass top, and LEDs require so little power to run that the table doesn't require a ton of energy to function. It's definitely not a centerpiece for every family's dining room, but technophiles and children-at-heart can all agree that it's a cool invention".

Interesting huh?

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