Having friends or family round for dinner and want to impress? Then you need a meal that you know will work wonders and that won't take you away from your guests for too long.
For a starring main course, try knocking up a slow-cooker classic like beef stew, chicken tagine or pulled pork in advance. A towering pavlova, elegant gateau or set of perfectly-set possets can be made ahead of time then brought to the dining table in a flourish. And for starters? You need something quick and easy that you can prep on the night. Who said entertaining was difficult?
Here are six starters you can make in 15 minutes or less...
Classic tomato bruschetta
Ah, bruschetta. The perfect, simple starter to kick off any dinner party. Taking just minutes to make, this combination of garlic-rubbed toasted bread and juicy, ripe tomatoes is an absolute winner. Mix up your topping combos with tapenade, fresh basil and a little fresh mozzarella or burrata.
Garlic mushrooms on toasted French bread
Not a fan of tomatoes? These creamy garlic mushroom toasts make a delicious and indulgent alternative to traditional bruschetta. Pan-fry mushrooms with a little garlic for just a few minutes before stirring through some crème fraîche and a little parsley. Delicious, rich Italian flavours in a flash!
Scallops with ginger and garlic
Melt-in-the-mouth scallops are sure to go down well amongst your dinner party guests. These little seafood morsels take just seconds to cook, too - meaning you can spend more time socialising and less time slaving away over intricate dishes in the kitchen. We like to liven up our scallops with a punchy hit of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and our secret ingredient: sherry!
Ultimate prawn cocktail
Who doesn't love a cheeky prawn cocktail before their main course? There's a reason this traditional starter is so iconic - not only is it a delicious way to whet your appetite, but it's surprisingly simple to rustle up from scratch, too! Feeling bold? Add a few drops of hot sauce to your Marie Rose sauce to elevate the dish beyond its 1970s roots.
John Torode's lamb salad with beansprouts and chilli
Masterchef's John Torode spent many years living with his nanna. Under her roof, he learnt his basic cooking repertoire and love for food. The food she cooked was delicious and simple, according to John, and the flavours in this lamb salad with lime leaves and fresh coriander remind him of her kitchen.
Succulent lamb steaks are flash-fried with punchy Asian seasoning and beansprouts - a flavour-filled starter that takes just 10 minutes to whip up.
Prosciutto, melon and olive skewers
Looking for the easiest starter ever? Look no further than these ham, melon and olive skewers.
What might sound like an odd combination in fact works really well - the melon is lightly caramelised to bring out its incredible natural sweetness whilst adding depth of flavour. Pair this with salty olives and mature prosciutto ham and you've got yourself a hot-meets-cold, sweet-meets-savoury flavour sensation.