4 stress-free dinner party recipes

Dinner parties always seem like a great excuse to gather with friends and family, enjoy delicious food, laugh and be merry. However, choosing what to cook can be tricky, especially if you want a stress-free experience. We’ve collated four tasty recipes to take the hassle out of your winter festivities.
FOOD SIMPLIFIED
18.12.2018

Garlic & Rosemary Baked Camembert

Deliciously gooey cheese enriched with deep herby flavours - this appetiser is a festive dinner party staple that is incredibly easy to prepare!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Camembert wheel in a box
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Flaked Sea Salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Remove any plastic wrapping from the Camembert wheel then place back in the box on a baking tray. With a knife, score the top of the Camembert and insert minced garlic, rosemary and thyme. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the Camembert begins to melt. Remove from the oven and top each wheel with a pinch of salt and serve with your favourite crusty bread – this starter is so tasty that you’ll have to remind your guests to leave room for the main dish. 

Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu

Showcasing the beauty of Italian cooking, this classic slow cooked ragu combines every day ingredients in a simple way, perfect for a stress-free dinner party dish to warm up your guests on a cold winter evening. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly
  • 1.2kg chuck beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup full bodied red wine
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 450g pappardelle pasta
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Method:

In a small skillet pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat, add the garlic and cook, stirring until lightly browned.
Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper or to taste then transfer to your slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes, stock and red wine over the beef and add the cooked garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and thyme.
Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the beef is tender enough to shred. Remove the bay leaves and thyme then proceed to shred using 2 forks. 
Cook the pasta according to the on-pack directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring until the pasta and sauce are combined, then top with Parmigiano Reggiano! 

Feta & clementine winter salad

This salad is a great way to bring a touch of summer to those dark nights, providing a refreshing side dish to compliment those indulgent festive dishes! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • 2 clementines
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g mixed nuts and seeds of your choice
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon runny honey
  • 2 red chicory
  • 75g watercress
  • 75g rocket
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt
  • Pomegranate seeds 
  • 200g feta cut into cubes
Method 

Dice the red onion and add to a small frying pan with a splash of olive oil, then cook over a medium-low heat for around 5 minutes. 
Add the zest and juice from the clementines to the pan and reduce to a nice, syrupy consistency.
Pour in the vinegar and 4 tablespoons of olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer on a low heat.
Roughly bash the nuts and seeds in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan with the cranberries and honey. Cook for 3 minutes or until sticky and caramelised.
In the meantime, prepare the chicory leaves onto a serving platter with the watercress and rocket then drizzle with the warm clementine dressing.
Finally, sprinkle over the feta and pomegranate seeds, serve and enjoy! 

Slow cooker Balti lamb curry

The slow cooker is your best friend for hassle-free, delicious food and this lamb curry is the perfect comfort food to serve during the colder months. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4cm piece root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 red chilli peppers, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 800g lamb shoulder, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml lamb stock
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Boiled rice
Method  

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion and garlic, cooking until soft. Then add the chopped ginger, red chilli, curry powder, cumin, smoked paprika and ground coriander stirring constantly. 
Add the lamb and coat thoroughly with the mixture, continue to cook for 5 to 8 minutes, ensuring the lamb remains pink in the middle. Add half of the stock, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree then bring to a gentle simmer. 
Turn out the frying pan contents into the slow cooker then add the remainder of the stock, half the coconut cream and season.
Cover and cook on auto or low setting for 7 hours or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, accompany with boiled rice, stir in the remainder of the coconut cream and garnish with fresh coriander. 

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