I love the idea of throwing dinner parties. What’s not to like about getting together with your favourite people and having a good old natter over an abundance of delicious food and copious amounts of delectable wine?

Well, if you’re anything like me, the responsibility of not only having to choose and prepare a great quality three course meal within a specific timeframe, whilst also ensuring that all guests enjoy the experience, fills me with dread – and I am sure I am not alone in thinking this way.

Surely there is a way to take the stress out of hosting a dinner party that isn’t as costly as calling in caterers?

Well I think I may have found the answer… M&S Food to Order

What Is This Ingenious Invention?

If you haven’t already heard of it (or used it), M&S Food to Order is a range of over 200 foods made for occasions such as family get togethers to dinner parties and even weddings. The menu includes products such as sandwich platters, meats, fruit and wine cases and cakes (plus lots more).

Where Do I Start?

So – the first step is to decide what you think your guests would love to eat and drink… M&S make this very easy to choose with their mouth-wateringly accurate descriptions and pictures of the food. You’re also informed of how many servings each dish provides in their descriptions.

M&S Food to Order is an online facility so it is so easy and convenient to order. So start clicking away!

What’s On Offer?

What isn’t on offer, more like! You can select ready to cook dishes or if you really want zero stress, ready to eat dishes. And as well as dinner party options, there are also categories for party food, sandwiches, cakes, office lunches (delivered to the office, no less!), a selection of healthy options, plus seasonal highlights. Not to mention the select wines on offer, too.

There are so many different categories, you’re really spoilt for choice. And with the usual M&S quality that you can be sure of – you can’t go wrong.

What’s For Dinner?

So, for dinner party options, click on “dining” and then you’re presented with numerous categories to choose from to suit your requirements. For instance, I’d like to host a dinner party for 8 people. I’d like the main course to be chicken, to be ready to cook, to collect in 5 days and to be rated 4 and above (the best rating).

I am then presented with 5 different delicious suggestions which include pesto chicken flatties (£9 for 8 pieces) and chicken shawarma kebabs (£9 for 4). M&S will also present you with suggestions for starters and sides “you may also like” to go with this dish – which again, takes out the stress of having to decide from a larger selection.

Looking for a dessert to die for? Look no further… Fruit tarts, honey and ricotta cheesecakes and a profiterole stack are just some of the tantalising temptations on offer.

If you’re anything like me and know next to nothing about which wines should accompany which dishes, then check out the M&S Wine Shop for inspiration.

I’m sold! How Do I Order?

It’s so easy. Like most things these days, just order online. I’d recommend ordering at least a week before your dinner party. You then just pick up at your local store around 24 hours before the event. Couldn’t be easier! Thanks, M&S!

http://www.marksandspencer.com/c/food-to-order

Below are my tips for hosting a stress-free dinner party

  1. Buy in some excellent quality food and wine (see above!)
  2. Ensure you have enough plates, bowls, cutlery, wine glasses, tumblers and sparkling water for your guests.
  3. Make the most of candlelight – if you haven’t had the time to do a thorough tidy – up, candlelight can hide most things.
  4. Keep it casual.  Place the food in the centre of the table to promote a relaxed serving style and everyone can take as much or as little of each of the dishes as they like.
  5. Set the mood. Put on some relaxing music, light some incense and ensure make you put flowers and candles on the table. Create some nice mood lighting by placing lamps placed around the room.
  6. Check ahead of time (before you order or make food) if your guests have any intolerances or allergies, so you’re able to cater for them, too.
  7. Only invite those who you want to be there – it’s the people that make a night a great one; top-notch food and wine are only the icing on the cake.
  8. Most of all – enjoy yourself! Relax and let M&S (and candlelight) take care of everything else!