Looking like a hero with last minute entertaining

If you’ve been following the column and being kind, you’re likely surrounded by lovely friends that adore you. Maybe you’ve even made them feel welcome enough to embrace the ‘mi casa, su casa’ notion, which means dropping in for a visit with little or no notice. My friend Kate is the best at this.

I might drop by to say hello when I’m out running errands and by the time I’ve made it over to her place a few blocks away, she’s put out some fabulous little spread of nibblies and a great cocktail. This is the easy-going-come-by-anytime-sort of host I aspire to be. I’m getting there.

First step on my path to chic no-prep entertaining is stocking my cupboards properly. In fact, by devoting a little corner of your cupboard or fridge to an S.O.S. cocktail or dinner reserve, you’ll always have something to offer up friends, whether it’s a pre-drink nosh, or an impromptu dinner. With a few good quality staples, you’ll never be stuck ordering a sketchy pizza again (unless of course, it is at an ungodly hour when absolutely nothing hits the spot more than sketchy pizza. I digress).

Stock up on the best quality ingredients you can find:

  • Dried pasta
  • Good quality tinned tomatoes
  • Jar of pesto
  • Pine nuts
  • Posh balsamic vinegar and olive oil
  • Frozen baguettes
  • Good quality artichoke hearts, olives or tapenades
  • Napkins (I’m still not grown up enough for proper linen napkins, but that doesn’t mean Kleenex and paper towels are the answer her
  • Swank booze (my personal liberator because even my cooking improves dramatically after a few champagne cocktails or sips from some top-shelve tequila)
  • Tip: if you’ve got a bit of wine leftover (apparently this happens to some people), pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. Perfect size to add to a sauce. Le voila.
  • Happy entertaining.
    Chime in with your additions too. For example, should tinned fish have made the cut?