Tis the season for hosting dinner parties





Here are 7 Top DIVA tips to ensure your party goes without a hitch (or a trip to hospital!)




  1. Oysters, liver and anchovies are deemed to be some of the least liked food by the American public – so unless you know your guests really enjoy these foods – leave them out!
  2. So if liver, oysters and anchovies are out – what’s in? the 5th taste sense (along with sweet, sour, bitter and salt) is called umami – which is a Japanese word for “pleasant savoury taste’ It’s actually very difficult to describe fully, but bacon, melted cheese, caramelized mushrooms and roasted tomatoes are all plentiful in umami – so try and add some of these to your dishes (or just go the whole umami hog and serve a bacon and mushroom pizza!!)
  3. It’s great (some Divas even say essential!) to serve your food hot, but don’t serve the food hot in a boiling skin scarring blister giving casserole dish! It doesn’t matter if you shout “the dish is hot” someone will either not hear or you may possibly have one of those guests who’ll just need to stick their finger on it to check how hot it really is!!
  4. Keep the drinks that are supposed to be cold – COLD! If you don’t have much room in your freezer then make sure you have a large bucket filled with ice cubes. (The ice will also come into use later on when the idiot guest tries to see how hot the casserole dish really is!!)Don’t forget red wine should be served between 60-65 F (15-18C) this is slightly cooler than most people’s room temperature.
  5. Preparation! I’m sure we’ve all seen one of these cooking shows where the contestant has ended up serving the food at 11pm! My guests would all be on the floor legless by then if I hadn’t served them food!(one of the problems with having drunken divas as besties!!) To make sure you’re serving your food at a reasonable time – write out a timeline! –It’s the most simple thing in the world to do and can save a whole host of stress if done properly. You will find that you can do many aspects of the recipe the day before – creating less time in the kitchen on the night your friends are over and more time guzzling champagne with them – a true win win situation!
  6. OK – we have to look at this allergic reaction situation. Is it important? Well I guess if you don’t want to be pulling out an epi pen or rushing someone to the hospital with a slowly swelling throat – then yes it is! Find out beforehand if any of your guests have severe allergic reaction (and if they do, leave these foods out the dishes completely) or if they have some allergic reaction – for instance, if they are gluten intolerant and will bloat up with a huge belly of gas if they eat a slice of bread, then ensure there are gluten free options for them – don’t ‘not’ go serving a bread basket because you have a gluten free guests, just ensure there is a gluten free bread roll on offer for them. Same goes for vegetarian or dairy free guests – you can still serve a large rib of roast beef (yum) but offer your vegetarian a roasted mushroom or some tofu to go with the sides. Obviously if you have 5 vegetarians and you for dinner you may want to re-think the roast beef dish!
  7. It’s a dinner party – not a life threatening, country defeating, army deploying decision. RELAX! Yes you want to it to go without a hitch – so read these points carefully, be prepared and enjoy yourself! If it all goes to pot then ensure you have some cheese and biscuits in and lots of wine!