Entertaining made easy 

Close-up Photo of Dinnerware Set on Top of Table With Glass CupsWith Easter comng up, and warmer weather making it fun to eat outside, I look for easy recipes that work indoors or out.

I used to love entertaining but now find it difficult to lift heavy pans and dishes.  However, for Easter, I’ve dusted out a favourite chicken recipe that is easy to cook –  and less expensive than the traditional lamb.

And – I’ve decided now’s the time to forget about pride, and take up those offers from friends who say “let me know what I can do to help”.

So I now ask friends to bring a salad, or new potatoes, or bread – so I just provide the main dish.

In the old days neighbours would think nothing of helping each other out;  and, when you ask friends to help with a feast, it brings everyone together to join in.  BUT, to ensure entertaining is easy, make a list of things you need doing, and ensure you allocate each task so everyone does their bit, and no one is left hanging around not sure what to do.

Easy Party Chicken

This recipe is a guideline for enough for ONE person, so multiply according to numbers

  • sprinkling Salt to taste


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat most of the butter in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned and juices run clear if pierced. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

    Add shallots to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; add stock. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes).  . Remove pan from heat and keep warm.

    Then before serving, bring sauce to boil and ensure chicken is cooked through, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter cut into small pieces (gives gloss to sauce), stirring until butter melts. If there isn’t much sauce, add more wine or stock. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

    And get everyone to help themselves (so you don’t have to carry a heavy pan).

Then, you need a glamorous pudding, which you can make days or even weeks ahead, and freeze.

Lemon Ice-cream

This is a festive lemon colour, and an unusual take on an old favourite.  It makes enough for at least 8 people.  PrepareLeafy Lemons, 1kg over 2 days.
  • 1 pint double cream
  • 8 ozs single cream
  • 10 ozs caster or icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest  (it’s a bore to do but gives a wonderful flavour)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 – 8 ozs freshly squeezed lemon juice (sorry, it has to be fresh, not bottled)

Put double cream, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan, gently bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved (about 5 mins).  Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 mins.

Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl,  Add the mixture in pan to eggs in bowl slowly and gently, then pour back into the saucepan (doing it this way so it doesn’t curdle).  Stir over low heat until mixture thickens (about 10 mins) then cool, cover and leave in fridge overnight.

Next day, stir in lemon juice, and freeze in a covered container until you need it.  Take out of freezer a few minutes before you need to eat (time depends on how hot the day!)

Decorate with swirls of cream / crystallised violets or flowers  / miniature easter eggs.

Tip  When chopping herbs, use scissors and a mug.
Strip the a leaves off their stalk and fill the mug.  Dip the scissors in to the mug and chop away;  withing a minute or so you will have finely chopped herbs at no risk to your fingers.  
Happy Easter!