You know the whole “Things I want to do before xxxx” bucket list? Well one of my desires is to (wait for it…) throw a fancy dinner party. I know, I know, I feel equal parts shallow and boring that one of my lifelong passions is to be the hostess with the most-est rather than say climb Kilimanjaro, but I can’t help it – I think it would be fun. And excellent experience cooking-wise whilst potentially improving my um… time management skills?

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Seriously though, James loves eating food, I enjoy making new dishes and, what with this whole “we never spend enough time together” conundrum we are currently facing, I thought this is something we could plan and work on as a twosome. It’s not that I haven’t ever had friends over for dinner before, I have, plenty of times. It’s just I’ve never prepared any more than two courses and it’s always been very casual and, in typical O’Shea fashion, always rather last minute and disorganised.

When I say I want to throw a fancy dinner party I mean cocktails upon arrival, at least three courses, some kind of pretty floral centrepiece arrangements and definitely sexy table linen. I have some French place mats and napkins that I have never really put to good use. I also invested in some lovely champagne flutes in the Laura Ashley sale that I want to fill with something that involves bubbles. (As I write this I realise just how excited I am about glassware, what the hell happened to me?!).

The point of this feature is actually to ask your advice as, apart from the aforementioned new purchases that will make my affair aesthetically pleasing from a pre-dinner perspective, everything else is all a bit un-confirmed. What with my new “clean eating” regime I need to choose a menu that is not only relatively simple to make and universally enjoyed, but all the dishes need to be dairy and gluten free with no refined sugar. Oh and I don’t like fish. And I’m allergic to coriander.

I’m planning on starting small and hosting an affair for just three couples (including James and I) and, as our kitchen is essentially our dining room we are hoping to host the party outside. We’ll have to invest in a small cover thingy for the patio area as obviously it could potentially rain.

As per Miranda’s recent Healthy Haul post my Hemsley and Hemsley The Art Of Eating Well is on its way, as is my Lurch Spirali so I’ve got a starting point I guess. No clue where to go from here though.

My list of advice requirements is in the grey box to the right, please feel free to answer as many questions as you have time for – it would be much appreciated!


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{The Perfect Hostess?}
  1. Have you ever hosted a dinner party before? Did you enjoy it?
  2. How much time did you leave between courses?
  3. Did you prep everything before so you are essentially just adding dishes to the oven?
  4. What dishes would you recommend I cook?!
  5. From your own personal experience what should I definitely avoid cooking in terms of potential disasters? (I have no intention of attempting a soufflé…)
  6. What was the most enjoyable dinner party you’ve attended and why?