Top 5 Tips To Host The Perfect Dinner Party
This Winter resist the urge to stay rugged up next to the heater and mindlessly searching for an activity to do. Before you reach peak boredom, why not host the perfect dinner party which your guests will remember for years to come. We've developed these 5 super simple tips so you can plan your soiree without a hitch:
Preparation is absolute key
Give yourself ample time to plan your dinner party. Two weeks out from your event, create a list of:
Your invite list
Any dietary requirements
The food you'll be serving as well as taking note of which dishes can be made ahead of time. (We can provide 3 x simple and delicious Aussie inspired Syrian dishes)
Visualise the scene
One week out from your dinner party, have a think about the type of atmosphere you would like to have and what the dinner table aesthetic will be
Consider setting a theme to liven up the dinner table and think about how the dishes will be plated
Flowers and candles add a touch of elegance and can serve as a centrepiece for any dinner party
Make a list of the décor you'll need and then start shopping!
Tick off your shopping list
Two - three days prior to your dinner party, create a shopping list of all the food quantities you'll need and pick them up from your local grocery
Organise your recipes in the order you'll be cooking them
The day before your event, prepare any dishes that can be made ahead of time (the more dishes you prepare, the less you'll have to do on the dinner party day)
Give your home a clean and empty out your dishwasher and trash can
Dinner party day
The day has finally arrived! Two hours before, throw on some music to liven up the ambience and set up your décor
Don't forget to set up the snacks and drinks bar, and set any food that you've previously cooked onto the counter
Lastly make sure to enjoy yourself!
To create an even more memorable soiree with a feel-good element, why not host your own #CookForSyria or #BakeForSyria campaign which encourages the community to come together and celebrate Syrian cuisine to raise money which will go towards providing life-saving food, medical care and clean water to children affected by the Syrian crisis.
Interview with Nadeem Turkia
Syrian refugee Nadeem Turkia runs a popular food truck (Flavours of Damascus) in the Northern Territory and is well versed in demonstrating how to bring Syrian flavours to life in easy and accessible ways.
Question: What is the #CookForSyria campaign?
Nadeem Turkia: Cook for Syria is global fundraising initiative to celebrate Syrian cuisine and raise funds for UNICEF to protect children displaced by the war in Syria. This year, some of the country's top chefs will be coming together to cook for a purpose, and raise money for UNICEF's work. The community is also encouraged to participate by uniting over a meal with friends and family or hosting a bake sale.
Question: What inspired you to get involved in the #CookForSyria campaign?
Nadeem Turkia: If you know Syria before the war started, you will know how great it was and when you look to the Syrian children, you can't stop thinking how you can help them because you don't want that to happen to your children. Also, because I've been in a really bad situation and look what I can do now when I got help to face the world. I believe everyone should get a chance to live in this life equally and get at least good education and health care. The children in the camps now, they don't ask for the luxury life, they ask for basic stuff such as water, medicine and food. Some people don't know how hard it is to get clean wat
er to drink because here in Australia, we just open the tap and we have good water to drink, but over there it's a different story.
Question: How can Australians get involved in the #CookForSyria campaign?
Nadeem Turkia: #CookForSYRIA is the easiest thing, to help, go to cookforsyria.com/au and register to host a dinner and cook anything you love - it doesn't matter if it's Arabic food or not, it just should be cooked with love and it could be much better if they let their children help them so they can feel the
love in the food and then they can invite their friends, family or neighbours and let them pay any amount they want, and then send the proceeds to UNICEF Australia. Or, if you own a restaurant you can add to your menu Cook For Syria items and donate $5 from that price to UNICEF. You can do that by filling out the form in cookforsyria.com/au.
Question: What advice do you have for those of us who want to host a fundraising event?
Nadeem Turkia: #CookForSYRIA is the easiest thing, to help, go to cookforsyria.com/au and register to host a dinner and cook anything you love- it doesn't matter if it's Arabic food or not, it should just be cooked with love; and it could be much better if they let their children help them so they can feel the love in the food and then they can invite their friends, family or neighbours and let them pay any amount they want, and then send the proceeds to UNICEF Australia. Or, if you own a restaurant you can add to your menu Cook For Syria items and donate $5 from that price to UNICEF. You can do that by filling out the form in cookforsyria.com/au.
Question: What are typical Syrian cuisine ingredients?
Nadeem Turkia: Our most common ingredients are parsley, coriander, cinnamon, rosewater, thyme, onion and garlic. You can add a mix of them to Aussie food - it adds Arabic flavours to any dish.
Question: Can you share your top Syrian-inspired recipes to serve at a dinner party?
Nadeem Turkia: Entree: Tabbouleh Salad
500g fine chopped parsley
150g fine chopped tomato
75g fine chopped onions
200g fine bulgur
1 iceberg lettuce
150g fresh lemon juice
3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Cook the bulgur in medium-hot water for 15 minutes, drain if necessary and leave to dry.
Mix the parsley with bulgur, then add in the onions and tomatoes.
Add in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the dish with lettuce.
½ Brown onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil, divided in half
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp turmeric
3 cups basmati rice
5 ¼ cups boiling water
500g beef, cubed
500g mixed vegetables (peas, corn, chopped carrot)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup slivered almonds
375g puff pastry sheets
3 tsp ground cinnamon
200g natural yoghurt
Fry the chopped onion and crushed garlic in a large pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Add the nutmeg, cardamom, pepper, turmeric and uncooked rice and stir continuously for a few minutes.
Add the boiling water and a pinch of salt. Cook the rice on low heat for approximately twenty minutes. Stir occasionally.
In a separate pan, fry the cubed beef in the remaining olive oil on low to medium heat. Stir until the beef it well cooked.
Transfer the meat to a separate dish and fry the vegetables in the pan used for the meat.
Combine the rice, meat and vegetables together in a new dish. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease eight 4 x 8cm base pie dishes.
While waiting for the rice mixture to cool, fry the pine nuts and almonds lightly in a pan until golden brown.
Cut 4 x 15 cm circles of pastry to fit the pie dishes. Line the dishes with the pastry circles. Rub the pastry with butter and add a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Scatter toasted nuts over the pastry and then add the rice and meat mixture. Fill to the top of the dish. Add another layer of pastry for the lid.
Bake the pies in the oven for approximately twenty minutes or until golden brown.
Serve the Ouzzies with a dollop of natural yoghurt, fresh salad, and a refreshing glass of lemonade.
1 cup carrots
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
2 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp Starch
1/2 cup water
Grate the carrots into large slices.
Fry the carrots and the sugar in a pan and keep stirring until dry.
Add lemon and butter and keep stirring until it's dry.
Mix the water and the starch in a cup, then add them to the mix and keep stirring until the mixture is dry.
Add in the coconut and mix it all together very well.
Place the mixture into the refrigerator until it's chilled. (Chilling time is less than one hour).
Once the mixture has been chilled, you can shape it into ball then serve it.
Interview by Brooke Hunter