Saturday 24 February 2018

Easy entertaining

Baked white chocolate & mixed berry cheesecake
Baked white chocolate & mixed berry cheesecake

Kevin Dundon

It's Mother's Day tomorrow -- the perfect opportunity to get the family together and enjoy each other's company around the dinner table. Having a large family event at home is no mean feat, be it a First Holy Communion, Confirmation, Christening or birthday, so I have compiled a series of recipes that can be prepared ahead, then regenerated and served later.

Catherine and I love to entertain and we've hosted all the family Christenings in our home; last year we celebrated Emily's First Holy Communion at our house.

There is something special about inviting your nearest and dearest over and looking after them. This can be a big challenge, but these simple recipes will prevent any last-minute stress.

For the main course I have chosen a chicken gratin. The taste of this dish is superb because it includes chorizo, leeks and wild mushrooms, so you get a really deep and intense flavour. The beauty of it is that you can prepare it all in advance, then on the day you can relax with your guests, rather than whizz around the kitchen.

I've also included some of my favourite salads to serve alongside the gratin: lemon and broccoli couscous with sun-dried tomatoes, and pasta with basil pesto and roasted vegetables.

For dessert, a baked cheesecake is a sensational showpiece. This one, with white chocolate and mixed berries, is a very rich dessert -- that's great because it means you get lots of portions from the cake. The recipe will yield 12 substantial slices, but I would suggest that you get up to 16 slices from it.

So plan and prepare ahead, then relax. A buffet-style menu is an informal approach that means people can select whatever they like.

For your convenience, the main course and salad recipes are suitable for six to eight people and can be very easily multiplied or divided as necessary to suit the number of guests.

Happy cooking!

Irish Independent

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