A continuation from last weeks Top tips for home entertaining – to read Part One click here
Write a time plan
A time plan is a super useful tool to stay on top of your schedules and things that need doing. Write a list of everything that needs to be ordered or arranged – flowers, helping hands, food, drinks, equipment, decorations etc. Assign different days and check them off when they’re completed. The food, drink and home preparation will need a more detailed plan and it’s worth assigning times as well as days to these.
Be realistic. It’s way better to give yourself too much time than too little and ending up in a panicked rush. If reading through your time plan makes you feel unduly stressed, you may have taken on too much so look at some ways you can downscale and simplify. Providing a relaxed and fun event with a small selection of different but well cooked dishes is better than an overambitious spread which turns out to be hit and miss.
Need a handy event planning tool – look no further. Click here.
Work out your quantities
Having sufficient or way too much food is always a concern. Here are some general guidelines per person.
- 225g meat
- 200g fish
- 60g vegetables
- 85 – 115g potatoes
- 60g rice
- 30g cheese
Keep in mind that for large numbers, you can cater for a few less. When working out quantities you do not need to multiply everything by 40 – the more people there are the less they eat! To avoid waste and expense work to feeding about 34 people if 40 attending and so forth.
Remember that if you’re serving a number of dishes, you don’t need to provide enough for people to have a full portion of each, they will likely have a taste of each and not a full portion.
If you’re worried about running out, bulk up on cheaper items like potatoes, bread and salad.
The ideal situation is to have everything prepared in advance.
Cook, chop and prepare all the different components of your dishes that can’t be made fully in advance, then seal and store. On the day of your party you’ll only need to combine the components and add dressings. Dressings for leaf salads are best left to the very last minute to avoid wilting.
- Take food out of the fridge just before serving. If people are grazing over a long period, it’s best to put out smaller quantities and replenish them once they’ve run out.
- If you’re serving hot food, ensure it stays hot while you’re serving it.
- When the party is over, if food has been out for 1 1/2 hours, it will have to go in the bin.
- Before you cater for large numbers, it’s worth brushing up on your food safety knowledge, find out about storing food and preventing food poisoning. Home catering is less likely to endure these risks, whereas larger functions must keep these essential tips in mind.
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