Since we have started being more sociable in our new house, I have started to pick up some tips that make this easier because when you have a number of guests round, you really don't want to be messing around with food. I have developed a number of habits and divested a magnitude of guilt Using this method, I can comfortably cope with up to about 14 people coming over for gaming.
1. Plan it on the kitchen whiteboard and tick off when done. Start with an empty dishwasher and empty bins. Feed the cat beforehand and have a pot of coffee on. Have a good stock of disposable wipes/kitchen roll/bin bags.
2. Take everything out of the fridge which I intend to use and group into recipe clumps on the worktop.
3. Buy chopped onions/pre chopped veg/grated cheese the day before.
4. Buy pre rolled pastry and bake a quiche.(Fry the veg, stick on the pastry, top up with beaten egg/cream and grated cheese, bake). And if I have pastry left over - jam tarts.
5. Depending on attendees make the same meal work for them all: A vegan butter nut squash soup, have cream on the side and bacon bits.
6. Any guest who turns up and asks if they can help will be taken seriously. (Last poor victim ended up frying halloumi, making popcorn and assembling meringue nests and also later playing with cat to keep her occupied (the cat that is)).
7. Own 2 slow cookers and limit the people coming near the stove, getting under your feet and spilling soup on the cooker.
8. Meat eaters: To a large slow cooker add two raw lamb shoulders, a jar of very good quality pasts sauce (Zest) and a bag of good quality frozen veg. Come back 6 hours later and pick out the shoulder bones with fingers.
9. Partially assemble salads and leave the dressing as something people can add themselves.
10. Breadmaker - have two or three bags of mix in reserve and know they take 2 hours on rapid and serve it hot.
11. Carpet bomb the place with coasters and mats.
12. Have a designated dead bottle space.
13. Frozen to oven pain chocolait/croissants are an excellent cheat.
Beyond that I try to keep the cat off the dining table (because she'll walk around displaying her butt), keep long hairs out of the food and always use a temperature probe so you don't poison your guests.
Anyone got any other lazy tips?