Love hosting dinner parties but not the hassle? Here are some genius dinner party hacks that will have you relaxed, enjoying your friends’ conversation and not running around like a crazy person worrying about soufflé when you should be kicking back with a glass of sparkling and some witty repartee.

  1. The cheese platter is your friend. It’s hard to stuff this up. Get a variety of cheeses and some crunchy circles to put them on (pro tip: get rice crackers for your gluten-free friends but make sure you have wheat-based biccies as well for the purists). Add a dip or two. There’s no cooking involved. There’s no artistry involved. Seriously, people. Cheese on a plate. Everyone loves it.
  2. Provide plenty of wine but also keep sparkling water with ice and lemon on the table. That way you’ll cater for your non-drinking friends but also allow people to slow down or sip on something non-alcoholic in between glasses to keep themselves rational or able to drive.
  3. I love a party bag. How fun would it be to send your guests home with lolly bags or cute bonbons? It’s a nice way to set the table, too.
  4. The main event – unless the whole point of your dinner party is to impress everyone with your culinary ninja skills (and if it is, you’re reading the wrong blog) – then keep it simple. A roast is a good way of doing this because you can put everything in the one dish and let it all cook. Or a curry or one-pot meal with rice makes it easier.
  5. This is where the retail supermarkets have really made it easy for everyone. Coles, for example, now sells lovely packaged tarts/cheese cakes which I always buy and team up with some posh ice-cream. It’s a winner!
  6. What can I bring? When your guests ask you this, you can decide if you want to make this a regular thing or a super-special one-off. If your guests all bring, say, the wine, that makes the night much cheaper for you and therefore easier to do more frequently. Or if they are close friends you could get each person to bring one dish, making the preparation far easier. I’ve done this many times and it’s lots of fun.
  7. Pro-tip: always commence your dinner party with an empty dishwasher.