Best Easy Entertaining Recipes For Dinner Parties
Wine and dine your friends and family in style with these easy entertaining tips, including simple recipes and their ideal wine matches – best enjoyed for any occasion, and any time of year!
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Australians love nothing more than playing host or hostess and sharing our table with good company. It’s a big part of our relaxed, easy-going natures, and the great food and wine culture that we’ve cultivated here over the decades.
Yet despite this, who hasn’t pulled their hair out at some stage, thinking “what should I make for my guests?” The secret to entertaining well ultimately lies in keeping things simple.
Sure, you can go all out and plan an eight-course degustation menu, or a wine tasting party in your home – which, frankly, is a great idea that we’ve got you covered for in another guide – but when time is short and you just want to short-cut to the good times, these easy recipes will upgrade your entertaining game in no time at all!
Easy Entrée Recipes
Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus
This roasted sweet potato hummus offers a real mouthful of flavour, bolstered with garlic and spice. An excellent dip to serve with asparagus, olives, prosciutto and a white cheese when enjoying a simply-prepared charcuterie or sharing plate! When choosing a wine, opt for a subtly dry Rosé with a backbone of nervy acidity.
Tasmanian Rosé isn’t common, but the superb Pinot Noir that emerges from the region results in excellent Pinot-based Rosé styles – like the Cape Bernier Pinot Rosé 2019. Elegant and classy with a vibrant yet juicy mix of red fruits and soft spice, it’s the ideal wine for easy entertaining.
Stuffed Figs Wrapped In Bastourma
The sweet and savoury nature of this stuffed figs recipe calls for a lighter-bodied red wine with a red fruit core and a gentle, savoury nature – making Pinot Noir, Grenache, and a lighter-style Sangiovese all great choices.
Mike De Iuliis recently took home 5 trophies for his winemaking efforts, and one sip of the De Iuliis Special Release Sangiovese 2018 illustrates why. Light to medium-bodied with a bright mix of red fruit, woody herb notes and savoury tannins to finish, it’s a real treat.
Prawn Tostadas With Chipotle Mayo
Imagine the sweetness of prawns with just a gentle kick of spice and you’ll immediately understand why this simple prawn recipe ticks the boxes for a great starter plate. When pairing with wine, look for a light-bodied and fresh white wine such as Semillon, to make sure it won’t clash with the heat of the mayonnaise.
The Hunter Valley makes some of the best Semillon in the world, and Briar Ridge are masters of the variety. Light-bodied with a plate of lime juice, star fruit, green apple and crisp acidity, the Trophy-winning Briar Ridge Stockhausen Semillon 2019 is the perfect partner to prawn and a pure party-pleaser!
Vegetable Pakoras With Yoghurt Dipping Sauce
The fried batter crunch of this popular Indian entrée needs a wine that has enough acidity to cut through the pakora’s outer shell and harmonise with the herbaceous green vegetables inside – and we think a Sauvignon Blanc fits the bill perfectly!
From the cool climes of the Pyrenees – renowned for its delicate white varieties – the Mount Avoca Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 shows fresh lemony fruit with light herbaceous notes with lime-like acidity – just the thing to enjoy with a plate of moreish pakora.
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Easy Dinner Recipes
The chorizo in this delicious recipe gives this dish an Iberian feel and the mushrooms call for something earthy. Grenache, one of the classic Iberian red varieties, is a natural partner to chorizo, and has enough savouriness to pair beautifully with the mushrooms.
The Grenache Wizardry Grenache 2018 is a beauty from De Bortoli’s Heathcote vineyards. Its gentle mix of red fruits, beautifully supple mouthfeel, hints of bay leaf, vanilla and white pepper complexity and lovely savoury finish makes this a sensational match for mushrooms.
Quick Banh Mi
A simple dish, yet one that is utterly filled with flavour. We suggest serving a wine that contrasts with the flavours featured in this banh mi recipe, and think a savoury Rosé is just the thing to pair with the layered flavours, herbs and spices of this Vietnamese classic.
Dry and savoury with deliciously spicy red fruits, the subtle herb and white pepper notes of the Petaluma White Label Dry Rosé 2019, with its fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity, makes a mouth-watering match to a banh mi. Delicious!
A meal of delicate fish and punchy tomato salsa requires a lighter-bodied white wine that not only pairs well with the fish component of this tasty dish, but that also has enough acidity to complement well with the tomato. Our pick? Vermentino – it offers just the right balance of elements to keep everything working together, without one thing overpowering another.
Ripe and fleshy, youthful and fragrant, the Trimboli Family Wines Saverio Family Selection Vermentino 2019 is just the thing to match the flavours of a good fish taco… while being a generally delectable wine to share with good company!
Easy Dessert Recipes
Ed Halmagyi’s Fruit Salad With Thyme-Vanilla Sugar And Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bursting with a spectrum of bright and fresh flavours and just a tickle of sweetness, this lovely fruit-driven dessert finds its ideal match in a delicious Moscato, which almost mirrors the flavour character of the fruit salad.
With the winemaker’s Italian heritage shining through, the Sam Miranda Moscato 2019 is right at home in any party. It’s bright and refreshing with lychee, grapefruit and Granny Smith, vibrant acidity and an almost dry finish – just the ticket for a fruit salad like this!
Lyndey Milan’s Chocolate And Raspberry Brownies
If you love red wine, this is one of those desserts that pairs beautifully with a full-bodied Shiraz. An even better pairing, however, is with a liqueur Muscat, which has all flavour intensity and sweetness you’d expect, counterbalancing the power of the chocolate in this sublimely delicious recipe.
Fresh and full of flavour, the Andrew Peace Masterpeace Cellar Release Muscat NV shows caramel, butterscotch, honey, vanilla and five spice notes with savoury acid freshness on the finish – making it an absolute beauty of a dessert wine!
Tips For Planning A Dinner And Wine Party
When entertaining, it probably goes without saying that you’ll likely serve more wine than you would over the course of a typical dinner. You might wish to serve a different wine to best match each course of food you’re serving, for instance.
If that’s the case, give some thought to the order in which you serve your wines. Often, there’ll be two types of wine at the table – perhaps a white wine with the entrée and a red wine ready for the first course.
A typical wine serving progression might look like this:
- Serve white wine before red
- Serve lighter-styled wines before more full-bodied expressions
- Serve dry wine before serving sweet wines
- Serve wines with simpler palates before serving richly flavoured and complex styles
Naturally, this is just a guideline. You can feel comfortable, for instance, serving a very light red wine like Gamay or some Zinfandel before a rich, full-bodied Chardonnay. It’s simply about aiming for contrasts, while ensuring wherever possible that the wines are aligned with the foods you’re serving, and that no one style dominates the other.
More Tips For Easy Entertaining
- Our tip on the best wine to kick everything off? A Sparkling white wine, the ideal aperitif and party starter!
- One rough-and-ready calculation to ensure everyone has enough wine to enjoy for the occasion is to plan for one full bottle of wine per guest – or, depending on how many wines you’re serving, one bottle of each wine per four people.
- Make sure there’s plenty of water on the table for your guests, to ensure everyone stays well hydrated.
- Depending on what wines you will be serving, make sure you’ve got your glassware game on with our guide to wine glasses!
More Great Food Guides
Naturally, when it comes to entertaining with food and wine, the possibilities are almost endless – but we’re here to help you in your planning, with a range of great food and wine pairing guides to explore, including the basics of food and wine matching and the ultimate guide on how to make an amazing cheeseboard in no time at all.
Looking for the ultimate wines to serve at your next do? Wine Selectors has the largest expert-selected range of mixed wine cases available in Australia, so make sure to explore our wine shop – every wine we stock has been assessed as being of medal-winning quality by our expert Tasting Panel, made up of wine show judges, wine educators and winemakers, as well as a master sommelier.
Let their taste – and yours – be your guide, and happy entertaining!