Food / Wellbeing

Ella O’Keeffe’s fool-proof dinner party tips for the festive season

In partnership with Uber


We are deeply amongst the time of year where catching up with loved ones before we all go underground for the holidays feels urgent. "We need to grab a drink before Christmas!" is always the message sent, but rarely followed up on, mostly because we're running around like headless chickens organising our holiday plans. If you are one of the people who have the capacity to fit in a catch-up per night, I tip my hat to you. Me? I prefer a batch catch up if you will. The humble dinner party has been in my household's repertoire for some years now, so below, I'm taking you through my fool-proof dinner party routine made simple with my Uber One membership.

The first step to any good dinner party is not in the extravagance of the food, it's in the company you keep and the ease of the evening, so gather a few close friends and plan a meal you know well. This is not the time to attempt your first flan. Eliminate risk.

The second step is to get any last-minute chores out of the way early in the day to avoid a manic rush, which is why I am pictured here jumping out of an Uber to pick up the dress I decided to wear from the dry cleaners, which felt easy and drama-free when making use of Uber One's 10% discount off on all rides.

Dinner Party Tips Uber One

Third, once home and settled, it's time to order your ingredients. QE Foodstores has excellent produce and artisanal deli options, so I opted to order from there for my feast. I went with a pasta I know well and is almost entirely stress free in preparation. It's light, summery, and only requires a few ingredients: Cherry tomatoes, spaghetti (I'm using gluten free so it works for everyone), red wine vinegar, nice olive oil, flaky salt, and fresh oregano. I also added something to snack on to my cart for the table – salads require more prep than they are worth and bread and cherries (perfect when in season) are better anyway.

Dinner Party Tips Uber One

As my groceries were getting packed up, I ordered a bottle of Chablis for the table at my wife's request from Vintage Cellars down the road. Since it was a weeknight, one was enough to enjoy with our supper. While everything is on its way to the door, I work on setting the table – a luxury I often don't have time to indulge in between finishing up with work and getting lost in the supermarket. I used some candles I had left over from another soiree stuck into limes to hold them (there are few candle sticks that work better in a pinch), and set the table with french green plates since the candles decided on a green theme for me.

Dinner Party Tips Uber One

Once the groceries had arrived, I set on adding the snacks to the table, de-seeding my tomatoes, and cooking my pasta. This is a recipe I learned from the brilliant Julia Ostro and it is as easy as it is delicious. I like to do this right after guests arrive so everything is still hot when we eat.

My wife cracked the wine, which arrived promptly, and with the thorough inspection of a valid ID, was in my hands swiftly to sip on while cooking (essential). Once the pasta is tossed through the marinated fresh tomatoes, candles are lit and dinner is served. Bon Appetit!

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