Living Well for Less – Part 4

I love cooking for friends and family but hosting a dinner or cocktail party can be expensive.

But according to Orchids on Your Budget – you don’t need to entertain expensively, these days simple meals are more stylish than fancy ones anyway and an amusing party is less about than what you put on the table – but more  your guests, you as a host rather than an elaborate meal.

Sunday brunch is a great way to have friends round and is a fairly cheap way of feeding lots of people – jugs of grapefruit and orange juice – if you can get blood orange it looks great!! Or bloody Mary’s too – served in large jugs with tabasco, worcesteshire sauce and celery salt on the side so that guests can mix to their own taste. To eat serve a variety of bagels, toast and muffins with a selection of marmalade, honey and jams, huge bowls of berries, and melon, a platter of cheese and cold meats and kedgeree is a simple dish that is easy and cheap to make.

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Buffet suppers are another way to host a dinner for lots of people without the hassle or cost – Nan Kemper, a famous New York socialite was known for her stylish supper clubs  – she would individually set up small tables in her apartment and let people help themselves. Pasta dishes, curries or casseroles in large serving dishes – find a variety in vintage and charity shops – it is more chic if they don’t match, then serve with mixed salads, rice and bread.

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The oh so glamourous Nan Kempner!

Afternoon tea has a very special atmosphere – find some mix and match teacups and teapot in your local charity shop or vintage store – finger sandwiches can be made very cheaply – think how many you can get from one loaf of bread, then you can splash out a little on buying some bubbly and a variety of teas. Simple but fancy cakes can be bought or get your apron on and do some baking – it is actually quite rewarding to see the results!!

Photo: The Connaught.

Photo: The Connaught.

 

Cocktail parties could be expensive with lots of ingredients for different drinks – but if you decide on the cocktails you want to make ask you guests to all bring one of the ingredients that way you are not taking on all the cost. Nibbles to soak up the booze can be made fairly cheaply too – among my favourites are baby potatoes roasted with crème fraiche and chives, mini frittata, cocktail sausages with honey and mustard, various toppings on crostini – a large French stick with jars of pesto/goats cheese or feta that can be bought from the supermarket for not much? Add in bowls of olives for Poundland that you have jazzed up with garlic, chilli and lemon.

Cocktail hour!

Cocktail hour!

Make the house look fabulous with fairy lights everywhere, tealights in vintage glasses or teacups, serve food and drinks in a mix match of vintage pieces, see what you have growing in your garden or what you could maybe “cut” from over hanging branches near to your house – greenery can look very stylish and much cheaper than flowers!!

Most important – get some good music on the decks, the right mix of people and chill!!

 

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