Many Australians are challenging themselves to be master chefs in the kitchen while entertaining at home.
For many home cooks however, while the challenge of juggling things in the kitchen can be rewarding it can also be incredibly stressful. With some thoughtful planning, careful recipe selection and intuitive appliances, hosts can ensure a dinner party triumph.
World renowned chef and Electrolux cooking ambassador, Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant, provides his advice on how to take the stress out of home entertaining but still impress guests with a restaurant quality menu:
• Careful planning - Plan out and shop for your home entertaining menu at least one day before the event to ensure you can get all the ingredients you need and to avoid running out of time on the day.
• Theme your menu - Consider running with a theme, for example seafood or an Italian inspired feast.
• Seasonal produce - Pick ingredients that are in season and plentiful.
• Simple gourmet starters - Incorporate some high quality gourmet ingredients like prosciutto, good cheeses and beautiful fresh fruits such as figs, making the first course simple and allowing you to spend time with your guests when they arrive.
• Pre-prepare - Consider a mixture of dishes that can be made in advance (i.e. dessert) and dishes that need only a quick last minute preparation. In winter, a slow braised dish that can be made in advance and warmed in the oven can be an ideal main course.
• A good cook should blame his tools - Cleverly designed appliances with innovative features can really help to take the stress out of home entertaining. Opt for a double oven if you entertain for large numbers as well as pre-programmed features. The Electrolux E:Line IOI electric double oven has a 160L capacity so you can cook two roasts at once and 12 multi-functions such as roast, pastry and traditional bake to take the guess work out of cooking.
• It’s in the details - Micro herbs and edible flowers can add a beautiful last minute flourish to a dish.
• Match your beverages - Don’t forget that beverages play an important role in your guests’ overall dining experience. Think about what wine will match your dishes and also select
beverages to suit the season and theme. I love to serve peach bellinis in summertime; they are always a big hit. And if you have forgotten to chill your wine, the Electrolux French Door Refrigerator has a chill timer to ensure bottles quick chilled in the freezer are not forgotten.
• Keep it clean - If there’s one thing that can put a damper on a great evening, it is the clean-up afterwards. Clean up as you go is my best advice, especially as the kitchen is often the focal point of socialising with guests. And don’t underestimate the benefits of a self-cleaning oven. Electrolux offers a range of pyrolytic self-cleaning ovens to help take out the elbow grease for you.
Try these great entertaining recipes from Peter Gilmore: