Enter The Dinner Company. They want to take the hassle out of dinner parties so that more people can try out new recipes, flex their cooking muscles and discover the joy of entertaining. How does it work? You go to the Dinner Company website, choose a menu and they will deliver everything you need for a three-course feast right to your door (anywhere in the UK), alongside a fool-proof online flowchart to guide you through the recipes.
We got to sample a summery Spanish selection a couple of weeks ago on the May bank holiday Monday and had so much fun. Our menu looked like this:
Starter: Gazpacho soup with croutons
Main: Spanish paella with chicken, chorizo and seafood
Dessert: Apple and almond tart
The box arrived in the afternoon with all the ingredients neatly weighed out, sealed and labelled. This, to me, is what’s great about the Dinner Company method: it removes the need for time-consuming shopping and weighing, and prevents you from being left with jars and packets of ingredients you had to buy from one recipe but you’ll never use again. Case in point: we need just a pinch of saffron, the priciest of all seasonings, in our paella.
The recipes are really easy to follow too. The entire menu is set out in a step-by-step guide on one web page, and you click on little clock icons to set timers for every stage – like blind baking the pastry and browning the chicken legs. Between us, Helen and I managed to pull off all three courses without the slightest slip up, much to the delight of our fellow diners, my housemate Caroline and Sophie aka blogger La Fashion Folie. While the ready-made gazpacho was obviously a doddle, I was particularly amazed that the paella turned out so tastily, as it’s something that I would have been too scared to try and cook myself before.
Is it expensive though? I hear you ask. Not really. Most menus are less than £15 a head, which is decidedly cheaper than your average three-course meal in London. And it’s BYOB of course. By clubbing together with your foodie mates this is a really fun, sociable way to try your hand at new cuisines and discover ingredients you might never have cooked with otherwise. I’m currently contemplating what Dinner Company menu I want to try next. I think it’s between three bean chilli and Punjabi lamb. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Click through the gallery below to see how we got on with our Spanish foodie feast. Visit www.dinnercompany.com to find out more.