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Entertain Unexpected Guests

By: Laura Farrant - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Entertaining is not always a planned affair. At certain times of year, guests can just turn up on your doorstep. What do you do when this happens? Well, first of all you don't turn them away. Invite them in and read on. This is our guide to surviving unexpected guests and still coming out looking like the perfect host.

Take the Surprise Out of Surprise Guests

Be organised. At Christmas time or during any other religious holiday the chances of family and friends knocking on your door are heightened. It is therefore helpful to always keep some gourmet style staples in your cupboards and some drinks in your refrigerator. Preparing for the unexpected guests will ensure that you remain the perfect hospitable host.

Food and Drink

If all you have in your cupboards is a stray bag of crisps, serve that. It's better than nothing. If your kitchen is better stocked, share the food with your visitors. In terms of dishes, think tapas. Be realistic, you don't have time to whip up a three-course meal and anyway, it would take you away from your guests. Serving up a small selection of finger foods that will keep the occasion social and will take a maximum of 10-15 minutes for you to prepare.

Breads are a good start and complement a drink like red wine. Add to the mix some cheeses and you have a small feast. If you want to serve up something more substantial, get the pasta on. Pasta only takes about 10 minutes to cook. Add some pesto and a sprinkling of Parmesan shards and you have a filling and quick meal.

Your cupboards will also contain some useful staples. Many of us have tins of olives that we never seem to make use of. Now is the time to serve them up in a small bowl - the perfect accompaniment to wine or perhaps a key ingredient to add to that martini!

Think about serving something sweet. Children and adults will no doubt thank you! Biscotti, dark chocolate or small cakes, if you have them available, are an ideal partner to a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate, especially in wintertime.

Keeping a huge range of beverages in your home is not necessary. You're not an off -licence after all but do keep a few bottles of wine tucked away, red and white, and maybe a couple of other options like beer and vodka. Make sure that you have a plentiful supply of coffee, tea and mixers like orange juice and cola for the drivers and children.

Other Essentials

Don't worry if your house is not show-home tidy. If you have time, go through the areas where your guests are likely to visit; the kitchen, the living room and the bathroom, and give them a quick tidy. Remove any unnecessary clutter, spray a room spray or maybe light a scented candle to create the right mood. Consider turning down the lights - this is a great way to disguise the dust and dirt!

Turn the television off and put on some music to set the pace of the visit. This should be background music to allow the conversation to flow. If your best friend is paying a visit, put something on that you both like, if its an older relative make sure that the pounding dance music is confined to its CD case.

Entertaining last minute might be a scary thought. We cannot always prepare for everything but just make the most of what you do have to offer and enjoy the time that you have with them. If it is a last minute visit, your guests will not be expecting miracles. Share what you have and they will be grateful.

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