My really easy dinner party gave me a Mary Berry moment!

I had people over on Saturday and it was possibly the most satifsying easy dinner party ever. Everyone loved it. Here's what I served up...

by Carol Muskoron

The really easy dinner party - get in the kitchen an hour before your guests come...


Confession: the starters were all shop-bought. But who cares? It was quick and delicious and freed me up to make a fab main course and dessert. We had... Bodega olives, taramasalata, caramelised onion hummus, sweeet picked cucumber spears, matzo crackers and bread sticks - all of which I put on cute plates. I did drizzle some paprika and olive oil on the hummus.


Main course

First I cleaned some new potatoes and put them in a pan of cold water with some salt.  Then I set about making a huge cauliflower cheese with my no-lumps white sauce recipe. I parboiled a chopped cauliflower for five mins, heated 1L of milk in the microwave until steaming, whilst heating 80g butter in a big pan, then adding 50g of plain flour. Once a little browned I threw in the milk and whisked on a medium heat until the sauce thickened. Next I added two crushed cloves of garlic, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard and lots of mature Cheddar cheese until the sauce tasted amazing! This topped the cauliflower in two big roasting dishes and was then topped with lots of grated cheese and sat waiting on the side to go in the oven. I chopped up a very quick green salad of rocket, cherry tomatoes, onion and cucumber. Finally I washed my rainbow trout and lay them in a pan ready to grill with a knob of butter and a lemon slice on each - the less you do to fish the better in my experience. You don't need fancy sauces masking the flavour of fantastically and simply cooked fish.



I wanted a hearty, healthy dessert and really fancied apples bursting with flavour (and vitamin C to help ward off evil the many coughs and colds going round right now), so I made this really easy apple crumble recipe, doubling up the ingredients, cutting the apple into small but not fussy pieces and using moist muscovado sugar instead of demerara for the topping. It was seriously quick to prepare.


I preheated the oven just before my lovely guests came, put the cauliflower cheese in once they arrived and then sat down and nibbled on the starters with them. Ten minutes later I put the potatoes on, fifteen minutes later the cauliflower was cooked and the potatoes were boiling and turned down to a simmer. I put the cauliflower at the bottom of the oven, turned on the grill and popped the fish under it. The fish was quite thick so I turned it once but I'd say it took about 10 mins to cook. Once done, that went on the table with the cauliflower and the salad and the drained potatoes (with butter on a side plate, for the sake of the January dieters). The fish was succulent, the potatoes were bursting out of their skins, the salad was a nice fresh touch, and the star of the show was the cauliflower cheese. When one dish of it was emptied the other was brought to the table to the sound of applause (I kid you not!). I'd hoped for leftovers - there were none.


When we'd finished eating I preheated the oven for the crumble and we ate that about 25 mins later with single cream. the muscovado sugar gave it a fantastic deep flavour and the apples had turned to purée beautifully.


It was a relaxed and wonderful evening and everyone was wowed by the food. I went to bed dreaming of my happy guests and their full and happy tummies!


We've just published a new feature on easy dinner party recipes , but in truth my dinner party's far easier to make. I'm not a fancy cook, but I am confident. I keep things simple just like Mary Berry says to. I think that's really good advice.


Bye for now


Carol (keep it simple) Muskoron

Here are some more dinner party recipes - but be warned: they're not all easy.

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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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