Dinner parties, the easy way

The Rentacook.ie kitchen.

The Rentacook.ie kitchen.

There are many ways to reduce the stress associated with organising a dinner party for friends. You could ask your guests to bring dessert or starters instead of wine; you can cook the main course the day before if it is the type of dish that benefits from 24 hours in the fridge, eg, chilli dishes, curry dishes, or many types of casseroles. There is, however, an even easier way to remove the hassle, and that is to rent a cook for the night. Rentacook.ie was recently launched in Galway; it is the website for a business owned and run by Patricia Begley who has been providing a personal catering service for small to medium sized parties over the last few years.

Patricia has her own commercial kitchen in Liosban where she cooks whatever menu has been agreed and then delivers to your door. A typical party of 20 people will have a menu that includes a choice of two main courses, served with exotic salads and three desserts for approximately €20 per person. If you really want to eliminate any work, add €1 per head to this price and Patricia will bring all the dishes and cutlery. Her menu is quite comprehensive. I can strongly recommend the Moroccan dish lamb tagine with cous cous, it has really concentrated flavours and melts in the mouth. I am not a big fan of broccoli, however Patricia’s salad of grated broccoli, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and sweetened balsamic vinegar is a winner.

Patricia will also prepare dishes from the menu that can be frozen and will allow you to stock up your freezer. A great idea if you are expecting an influx of family over Christmas.

She will soon be fully booked for Communions and confirmations so if you were considering using the service for such an occasion call (091 ) 753877 now, or log on to www.rentacook.ie

While eating at home seems to be on the increase there are still some bargains to be found in restaurants. One such bargain is Kirby’s Restaurant beside Busker Brown’s in Cross Street. Kirby’s winter special is on offer from Sundays to Thursdays and offers a choice of starter, main course, and dessert for two people, for €49, and that’s not all, there is a bottle of wine included in the price. Now you are thinking this must be a very simple menu, but you would be very wrong indeed. Baked fillet of hake, braised shank of lamb, Caesar salad, and sticky toffee pudding are all part of this great value menu. To top off this great value is superb service — I chatted to several of the waiting staff who were all very welcoming and professional. I had not been to Kirby’s for quite a while but I will certainly be back soon.

Finally I would like to recommend two great wines for Christmas, they are both made by O’Leary Walker from Australia and the new vintages have just arrived at Woodberry’s. The Pinot Noir is simply one of the best of its type that I have tasted, and the Chardonnay is overflowing with flavours. Both are €17.95 however there is a special deal at the moment: two for €30. Finally one of the best value/quality champagnes I have come across is available at Coma wines, it is Cuvee Robert and at €29 is a great deal.

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