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Cook up a storm at your next dinner party

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Whether it’s your turn to host that family gathering or throw a dinner party for 10 friends in your new home, preparing a meal for a large group can seem overwhelming especially in home kitchens that are usually outfitted to cook for just a nuclear family.

It’s still entirely possible to have a large home-cooked dinner party, but the process needs to begin at least a few days in advance.

Pre-party planning

Assess your cooking and baking skill levels realistically and how much time you have to prepare for the party, then plan your menu accordingly. It’s tempting to pull out all the stops to impress your nearest and dearest, but the more complicated and extravagant the meal, the more time you’ll need to commit, leaving you less time to spend with your friends.

A simple and delicious meal is sufficient to make your guests happy. If you’re not an experienced chef, it might be preferable to cook a main dish that you’ve made and enjoyed before. Add a salad, a simple dessert, bread and voila! You have a complete dinner meal.

Take stock of your kitchen equipment and their limits. Don’t plan for baked or roasted dishes that require more than one oven, although if you have a large capacity oven like the Electrolux EOB305X, you can roast or bake up to three trays of different types of food at once. Cooktops like the EHG9340X cooking hob has four gas burners, two of which are wok burners, allowing you to cook more simultaneously on the stove.

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Try to have a mix of recipes with some  allowing preparation  ahead of time, and others that can be made quickly on the day itself.

Pre-party preparation

Once your menu has been decided, gather your recipes and plan a shopping list. If there are large amounts of ingredients, buy those that can be bought the week of the party, like sugar, salt and flour. Leave fresh fruit and vegetables for the last. Be sure to go over everything again the day before the party to ensure that you aren’t missing any ingredients or utensils.

Calculate the time needed to cook or chill the recipes for the dinner, then work out when to start preparing the food. Sauces can be prepared and frozen while vegetables like onions and capsicums can be sliced and diced the day before so that they are ready to be used right out of the fridge. For storage purposes, refrigerators like the EQE6307SA Quattro are made for storing a large variety of foods with seven side-out drawers for frozen food, a deli compartment for delicate foods and digital temperature control for more accurate temperature adjustments.

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Party Day

Actual cooking on the day itself, if you’ve planned and prepared properly, should be a breeze.  Prepare the rest of your recipes, pour the drinks, toss the salad and slice the warmed bread to be served. Those tasks can even be delegated to early guests, and can help make them feel at home.

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