You’re hosting a dinner party. You’ve got the guest list sorted, the event location sorted (let’s be real, it’s going to be in your house right?) and even the alcohol sorted (few nice bottles of malbec, a nice riesling, couple of nice beers…maybe even a bottle of sparkling wine to kick the evening off)…but you’ve got one problem – what are you going to cook?
To be honest, one of my favorite ways to think about meal ideas is to look to the least effort possible – checking out local restaurant and takeaway menus! There’s no point reinventing the wheel, and if someone else, who’s a trained chef, has already put a huge amount of time and effort into crafting a beautiful and tasty menu then why should you spend hours and hours looking through the internet and pulling dusty cook books off your shelves trying to find recipes which will only be half as good as the ones they’ve devised? You can do this easily, just by Googling for restaurants in your local area. And even better – who says you’re limited to that? If you’re in the mood to cook some French food – why not look up the best chefs in Paris and see what they’re serving on their menu today?
Yes, don’t get me wrong – there’s no way that you’re going to be able to produce a meal of such as high quality that it is the same as a Michelin starred chef, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them as inspiration!
This is also a great way to find recipes in cuisines that you’re unfamiliar with cooking and know that they’re the right kind of dish to serve at a dinner party! If you’re unfamiliar with a certain nation’s cooking, then it can be hard to understand the difference between ‘fancy food’ and ‘comfort food’, etc. However, if you’re looking at a high end restaurant then you can bet that the food they’ll be serving is on the fancy end of the spectrum.
You can also use this technique brilliantly to help you pair wines with your meal. Certain wines really suit certain types of cuisine, and by looking at the wine list offered alongside the menu at local restaurants, you can identify great wines to serve with the cuisine you’re interested in! You can do exactly the same for beers, and even cocktails if you’re really going fancy! This is an often overlooked aspect of meal ideas that is as important as the food – the drinks you’ll be serving alongside.
Every time you host a dinner party there are any number of awesome meal ideas you can use to really entertain your guests but one of the most important things to consider is also vareity. Mix it up! Don’t serve Italian every day – throw in some other types of food to keep your guests interested whether that means sushi (it’s surprisingly easy to roll your own), Chinese, Thai, French, Lebanese – just keep switching things up and you’ll quickly find some food you love!