TIP 5- GET AHEAD
When planning a menu for a group I always pick food that can be prepped and ready so all it needs is to be uncovered, dished up or thrown in the oven at the last minute. Nobody wants to be slaving away chopping, frying, stirring and generally rushing around in the kitchen whilst your guests sip drinks and party without you.
Even if your guests gather around you in the kitchen you don't want to be so busy you look more frazzled than calm party host. I love risotto but I would never make it for a crowd. It has to be made there and then and requires you to stand over a hot pan, stirring for at least 20 minutes, which is OK for a couple of you but not a huge pan of the stuff for ten!
A perfect party food is pizza. Here are my get ahead pizza tricks:
You can ready roll the bases and place on oiled tin foil. Oil both sides of the foil and you can stack the bases on each other in the fridge until you need them. Have the cheese grated, sauce cooked and cooled and the toppings ready cut and placed on a large plate. Get your guests to add their own toppings to make personal pizza's. Just place the pizza on its tin foil straight into the oven. The added bonus is you just throw the foil away once your pizza is cooked- no washing up wins in my house!