In my opinion January is the best month for entertaining. December is all about family – my auntie cooking a massive turkey and dad sending me home with tin foil parcels of honey-roast ham – but January is about my friends.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to you if you’re doing dry January. Sorry buddies. Unless you fancy being my designated driver, look then I’m all over it.
Yes, tadalafil January is an excellent month for entertaining at home. Everyone’s skint and a little bit miserable, drug it’s too cold to venture far out the house and you’re still feeling a little tired from all the celebrations of December. Do you need any more reasons to get partying at home? In case you do here are my top home entertaining tips. Fill up your wine glass and read on…
- Plan ahead
Last night when I was doing my Ocado shop I found myself unable to get my hands on either a cauliflower or minced lamb. They were completely out of it – nada, nothing. Which is why it pays to plan ahead and make sure you have all the essential ingredients for your dinner party
- Go fancy
I really love to make my friends feel special when they come to be entertained Chez AJT so I make an effort to go fancy. I don’t mean anything overly intricate but you’d be surprised at how far your linen napkins and matching glassware goes. I also love to go matching with my crockery and think white looks chicest.
- Be prepared
I once went to a dinner party and there wasn’t any white wine in the host’s house… CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?! I’m going to let you think about the dire consequences of this one yourself, but needless to say there was one very big Sauvignon Blanc fan (raises hand) who was not happy. That’ll teach me to pick a bottle of Rioja to take with me on that particular evening. I always keep in my house things I think my guests might like, from gin to beer to stilton to herbal teas and coffee.
- Pick your entertainment
I keep it simple at my dinner parties and stick on one of my Spotify playlists (and in January, my Fireplace for the Home on the TV), but for my 30th in July you’d better believe there’ll be a live guitarist playing Dire Straits covers in the garden. Oh yes.
The lovely people at Tassimo recently sent me a coffee machine to trial at one of my soirees over the festive period. I’ll tell you something; I never thought I’d be a coffee person but then I started working full-time in an office and now I can’t seem to get enough. The Tassimo has been perfect for my morning cup of joe (I literally can’t get going without it); I’m such a fan of the authentic taste and the crema it gives.
Tassimo asked me to arrange a gathering with my best buddies and sent over some specially-created recipes from John Torode so I could show off my hosting skills and new coffee machine but, as is our way as parents, it had to be cancelled last-minute (damn you children ruining my social life). Instead I decided to re-created one of his recipes on Christmas day, my favourite festive party dish of Devils on Horseback.
John absolutely loves these. Devils on Horseback are a hot appetizer or small savoury dish normally served as part of a Christmas feast but can be a great appetizer for any party occasion. You can also soak and cook with verjuice, which John also adores.
Devils on Horseback
You will need a large flat tray and 24 toothpicks
Preheat the oven to 200 c
– 24 large prunes
– 100ml hot earl grey tea
– Orange rind
– 200ml cream sherry
– 24 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- Place the prunes into a large bowl and rub the orange rind between your hands, so it releases its aroma.
- Heat the sherry, and then pour with the tea over the prunes.
- Add the orange rind, giving it a stir and leave to sit for 10 minutes. This should help plump the prunes up and give them loads of flavour.
- Lay out 6 slices of the bacon on a work surface and place a plumped prune on each rasher of bacon at end closest to you. Roll the prune up into the bacon and place on the cooking tray.
- Repeat until all of the bacon and prunes are used. You should have a little liquid left in the bowl, which will be used to baste the bacon as it cooks.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, brushing with the sherry mix every 5 minutes or so.
- Serve hot or warm, as they are better that way.