Lots of us are really looking forward to entertaining again soon, and there’s a real sense in which while we’re ready to get out and socialise again. Our homes have become integral to our social lives this last year though and the relaxed vibe of staying home, and entertaining guests in situ, has a real appeal.

That said, it is not without its pitfalls. Who doesn’t have a friend with an allergy or specific dietary concern, that can completely throw you, and suddenly undermine your menu confidence. before you know it your allotted six spaces at the table result in you toiling over six different meals to meet every need – suddenly that at-home relaxed vibe seems a distant memory.

But don’t worry – we have some top tips for you to figure out the perfect menu to keep everyone happy, safe and well fed at your party.

Cauliflower pannacotta with a spicy granola and a mixed seed tuille

No dairy

Lots of people are intolerant to dairy, in this situation we try to stick with vegetable based sauces, skip the cheese course and don’t serve cream or ice-cream with dessert (unless it using a non-dairy alternative). However, lots of people with an intolerance can still enjoy dairy when it is baked into a dish.

Watch out for anyone coming that can’t have dairy even if it is cooked into cakes or pastries. For these diners there are so many non-dairy alternatives (and the list continues to grow) that can easily be swapped in to your recipe. Finding the right alternative for a specific dish can take a little time but we find our guests don’t even tend to notice a difference in taste once it is cooked.

We have been developing a number of dairy free alternatives for our menus including the cauliflower pannacotta (pictured) served with spicy granola and we have another which is pea & asparagus pannacotta, both of which are huge hits with all of our diners.

Gluten free or Coeliac

Again this may be a gluten intolerance or you may have someone at your table suffering with Coeliac disease. They are different in the sense that a Coeliac may require the entire meal to be uncontaminated by gluten containing ingredients whereas a gluten intolerance is usually only affected if actually eating the gluten containing ingredients.

This can be a daunting one to tackle at first but the key in the first instance is to understand what has gluten in it.

Basically fresh fruit and vegetables are fine, as are meat, fish and dairy.

Breads & pastas should be excluded unless from the free-from range and any pre-packaged items need to be checked as you can often find gluten in unexpected places.

If you have enough time (or a bread maker) you can get gluten-free recipes and make your own bread – which may add a nice personal touch. Make it easy for yourself and give everyone a taste of gluten free for your party – that way no-one feels awkward about needing a special meal.

This list may help you to work out what you can and can’t serve too.

Our favourite is Fillet of Sea Bass with basil mash and vegetable ratatouille (pictured) delicious, beautiful and completely gluten free.

Sea Bass with basil mash and vegetable ratatouille

The Nut Allergy Sufferer

Nut allergies are a big issue for a lot of people, and even being in the same room as the offending article may pose a problem. With this one, we suggest keeping it simple and keep it nut free if you can. Definitely remember to check the label on any processed or shop bought items you are using to help you along – even if you bought it before as sometimes recipes change.

This is a good one to check in advance if you are planning something nutty on your menu, simply because the range of possible reactions can be pretty dramatic and would definitely spoil everyone’s evening – especially the poor person with the allergy!

Vegetarians or Vegans

These diners were once the nemesis of old school French chefs like @chef Sainlo, but we’ve come a long way since then. If you want to keep it simple at your dinner party you may be able to make at least one course vegetarian for everyone – which will ultimately be less time in the kitchen and more time to relax with your guests for you. How about this fig and burrata salad (pictured), or one of the no dairy pannacotta options above to start?

Happy dining!

Need Some Help?

Not sure you want to tackle this alone?

we’re on hand to help so if you would like us to tailor a menu for you and your guests, that everyone will enjoy and no one will lose sleep over,  give us a shout below.

Get in Touch