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Book Review: Last Minute Dinner Party by Frankie Unsworth

By Leigh O’Connor.

Love to host but short on time?

So many of us, myself included, enjoy having friends over for dinner but too often social occasions turn into full-on affairs that leave us stressed before the first guest arrives.

Enter London-based stylist and author, Frankie Unsworth, whose latest cookbook ‘Last Minute Dinner Party’ dishes up more than 120 recipes to feed family and friends at a moment’s notice.

Offering a hassle-free approach to entertaining - championing simplicity over showiness - learn how to pull off the perfect carefree dinner party with a few simple get-ahead hacks. Weekend prepping, shorter shopping lists and freezer shortcuts will set you up for easy impromptu gatherings, while versatile pantry staples will help elevate your dishes and expand your repertoire.

Using Frankie’s expertise, we dish up a three-course dinner from the book as inspiration for your next party:

Book Review: Last Minute Dinner Party by Frankie Unsworth
Let’s start with an entrée of phyllo-fried feta with a tomato and caper salad – a delicious and creative way to begin a memorable meal.

"Once you have tried this technique of wrapping feta in phyllo pastry, you will be going back to it time and time again,” Frankie says. "The feta softens in the crispy outer shell of the pastry and the salty-sweet combination with the honey is very moreish.

"I use citrusy sumac here, but you can spice it up with a few hot pepper flakes or sesame seeds, if you prefer.”

For the main, don’t go past sea bream acqua pazza with ancho chillies – be aware that not all dried chillies are created equal!
Book Review: Last Minute Dinner Party by Frankie Unsworth

Ancho chillies are mild in heat but they have a rich, smoky, sweet depth, making them an interesting alternative to an ordinary fresh chilli. If you can, use a variety of tomatoes and olives to make this dish extra colourful.

Dessert is always the favourite course of the evening and Frankie’s fudgy chocolate skillet cake is a prime example of simple dishes done well.

"I like to think of this as the dessert version of an all-in-one pot dish. Just throw it in the skillet and serve it straight from the pan. Melting the chocolate in the pan also saves on the clearing up - just be gentle when you do melt the chocolate as it burns very easily.”
Book Review: Last Minute Dinner Party by Frankie Unsworth

Frankie says once you have perfected the get ahead larder, there’s no need to plan on a daily basis to have a delicious meal at the ready, whether it is a Bloody Mary station for a brunch get-together; a classic wedge salad with blue cheese dressing to go with a steak; or skillet-fried gnocchi with wild mushrooms for a cosy Autumn dinner.

‘Last Minute Dinner Party’ offers everything you need to make your next best-ever dinner party well within reach and will become a primary go-to cookbook in your culinary stable.

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