I know the thought of throwing a party or hosting a dinner is an absolute nightmare for some people, but me? I LOVE IT! Every little detail is crucial, from choosing the perfect mood music to how clean the toilet is. I get some kind of weird satisfaction from people coming to my home/party/event and having a great time. I usually care about THEM having a good time more than ME having a good time!
As someone who has developed a passion for cooking, food is now an essential part of social occasions. From just “popping round” for the evening to having a full blown party, food is right at the top of the planning list. I’ll suggest a lush takeaway feast, bake some sweet treats, put out some moreish snacks or, if I’m feeling really generous, I’ll cook something for everyone. Recently, we invited some friends over for the evening and, as a thank you for them all traipsing out of the way to my place, I offered to cook.
Panic then struck when I realised, “Shit. I don’t have any money!” That’s why people were coming over to the flat in the first place! How the hell would I feed these people? I couldn’t give them any old rubbish, we need a proper tasty meal – and loads of it, because a guest potentially going hungry is just out of the question.
So, how did I solve this conundrum? Well, I thought about what was important. Keeping costs low, of course. Something that could be made ahead of time. A crowd-pleaser. Something that can easily be turned into a vegetarian alternative for my veggie friends. I thought about what I already had to hand – a fridge full of veg from this week’s shopping, a store cupboard of spices and a slow cooker. The answer? A curry, of course.
I popped to the shops and bought a pack of chicken thighs – the cheapest cut of boneless chicken on the shelves but also one of the tastiest – and some coconut milk. Affordable. Bulked out with the vegetables from home, which were also used for the veggie version, and with some handy additions from the spice rack, I managed to get it all in the slow cooker before midday.
By time everyone arrived I had the plates out, the rice cooking and the curries ready to go. All that was left was to crack open the beers to wash it all down. I felt a little anxious about the food but, then again, I always do when I’m cooking for anyone outside of my comfort zone (i.e. my boyfriend or my mum). I think that’s just that “Monica” * side of me coming through. But every single plate was cleared, not a scrap of food left in sight. In fact, I found SOMEONE tucking into the few spoonfuls of leftover veggie curry after everyone had left. Now that can only be a good thing, right?
* Another Friends reference. Duh.