1. HAVE A GAME PLAN
Leaving work at 6 pm and still needing to dash to the shops to get those missing ingredients just isn’t going to cut it. Write down a shopping list and head to the shops the evening before.
If you’re especially organised, write down a plan of what needs to be cooked when – not only will that ensure that cooking goes smoothly, but a hovering partner can be easily put to work.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Did you spot a delicious-looking recipe last week and decide to cook it for the first time for your guests? Don’t. Stick to what you know (or at the very least, do a trial run the weekend before.)
Choose easy recipes – a multitude of elements requiring different pots, cooking times and temperatures is not going to work. The more chaotic the kitchen, the higher your stress levels will be.
3. SET THE SCENE
Pop the bubbly into the fridge and have the glasses laid out, ready to be filled on your guests’ arrival.
Attention to small details will make a lasting impression: lay the table with the good crockery, iron the napkins and include a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers to complete the scene. Select one of these seasonal bouquets from Woolies to match your theme – and since they last longer thanks to the retailer’s efficient cold chain, they’re a treat for yourself, too.
4. NEVER ACCEPT HELP
Unless they are related to you, guests should not help with the dishes. Despite the polite offers, no-one really wants to become closely acquainted with your pot-scourer.