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Organizing a sit-down meal
- Don't try anything you haven't done before - test new ideas out well in advance!   
- Don't go for a five-course dinner with nibbles, hot and cold starters, fish, meat, cheese and dessert. It'll take too long to prepare.     
- If you know what your guests like, cater to their tastes.
- Don't spend half the meal in the kitchen fussing: your guests are here to see you, not just to marvel at your culinary skills!  

Organizing a buffet  
- A buffet is the most practical option if you're catering for more than 20 people.     
- Go for finger food, snacks and nibbles that you don't need a plate for.
- Get the balance right between hot and cold, raw and cooked, sweet and savoury dishes, so that there's something for everyone.
- Make a list of easy cocktails to conjure up.  
- If you're no master chef, buy pre-prepared or frozen food, or order food in and present it nicely!  

For party recipes, snacks, biscuits, cakes, cocktails see our Food & Drink section.


Sarah Horrocks
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