Menu Ideas

Weather its a romantic meal for two, a family visit or a dinner party with friends it can be difficult to plan a menu. I always want to find recipes which are both quick and easy to prepare but will still have the ‘wow’ factor with guests.

I have created a sample menu which I recently tried out with some friends. It worked quite well as it was easy to prepare, the starter and desert being made in advance. Each dish had just a few simple but stand out flavours. It can help to have a theme for a menu, here I took my inspiration from the Mediterranean as I just love food from the region.

There are links to the individual recipes below and the timings for how to put it all together as a single menu. I hope you and your guests enjoy it!

I made the Carrot Cake the day before but if you dont have time I recommend making it the morning of the dinner party. Its quite quick to make and it gets one course out of the way. The starter and main course are both quick and easy to prepare, so you won’t have to be stuck in the kitchen once your guests have arrived.

Menu for Four People


Tomato Salad

Prep Time 15 Minutes


Leek and Parmesan Risotto

Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cooking Time 35 Minutes


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time 40 Minutes

Cooking Time 1hour 20 Minutes

I began the night before by making the cake. I would recommend doing this as it needs to cool properly before icing. From start to finish the cake takes around two hours to bake.

I iced the cake about 2 hours before serving so there was time to chill it, as it has cream cheese in the icing you will need to keep it in the fridge.

Next I made the Tomato Salad which was quite quick to do. It took about 10 minutes to prepare everything (except the dressing) I then plated it up and covered with cling film before putting in the fridge.

I then began making the Risotto, once you have prepared the ingredients its relatively easy to make. It takes around 20 minutes to prepare and I would begin cooking it about 1hr before you want to eat. Once you have added all the liquid you can reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer to keep it warm. Make sure to stir every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Whilst the Risotto is simmering take the salad out of the fridge and uncover. Whisk up the dressing and when your guests are ready to eat, serve. You can leave the Risotto on a low heat with the lid on whilst eating.

The only thing left to do is open a bottle of wine, and enjoy a good evening!

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