As we reach the darkest part of the year, there’s no better feeling than getting cosy and sitting down to eat something delicious. Whether it’s a mid-week dinner for two or a weekend feast with all the family, any at-home meal can be just as special as dining out. Our friends at Dishpatch have put together four tips to elevate your winter nights in.
While the chilly months ahead are usually associated with familiar comfort food, one way to make at-home dinners more exciting is to try something brand new. Think of your plate as your window to the world — will you be jetting off to Sri Lanka tonight? The Caribbean? Northern Spain?
Trying different cuisines and incorporating new ingredients into your repertoire can liven up any evening. Unusual spice pastes, funky pickles and preserves, smoked salts — pick a country and let your imagination, and your tastebuds, run wild. All from the comfort of your own kitchen!
Getting creative with your tablescapes can really elevate a night in. We love Laura Jackson’s #makeamealofit hashtag, a celebration of dining at home on a beautifully set table. Whatever’s on the menu, a curated tablescape can add a real sense of occasion. And it doesn’t have to be hard work!
Invest in a colourful tablecloth that you can use time and time again, or pick up a bunch of flowers on the way home to divide between several little vases. Even fresh fruit can be used as table decorations (and eaten afterwards!). The one essential element is candles — flickering candlelight adds Scandi cosiness to a wintry lunch, and atmosphere to a romantic evening dinner.
Set the mood with fun music to accompany your menu. Lots of restaurants put their playlists on Spotify, so you can hunt down your favourite spot and recreate the experience of dining there at home. If you’ve got friends coming round for a weekend lunch, why not create a shared playlist that each guest can add their favourites to?
Even better, make the music a feature of your lunch — ask everyone to add their choice of Desert Island Discs and guess who picked what. And although we love vinyl, save it until after you’ve eaten! Leaving the table mid-conversation to turn a record over is a real vibe killer.
It’s never fun to be a stressed out host! Our favourite meals with loved ones feature no-fuss snacks such as fancy crisps and olives, followed by hearty dishes that can be made ahead of time — anything braised or slow-cooked, for example.
Our menus at Dishpatch, from the UK's best chefs and restaurants, are also designed to be simple to put together at home; all you need to do is heat and serve. That way, you can spend less time in the kitchen once your guests arrive, and more time enjoying your evening.
Dishpatch believes that the best chefs deserve the biggest tables - that incredible food shouldn’t be confined to those that live in the city. Partnering with the UK’s most talented chefs and restaurants to deliver their incredible food nationwide.
From seasonal British vegetables to high-welfare meat, Dishpatch’s chefs pride themselves on using the highest-quality ingredients. Their meal kits come fully prepared, so all you have to do is heat, garnish and enjoy.
They came over for dinner to give us some ideas for elevating dinners at home this festive season.