Stress Free Dinner Party During Renovations

Stress Free Dinner Party During Renovations
Stress Free Dinner Party During Renovations
Kitchen c. 1935 – 1939, photo by Lyle Fowler (1891 – 1969). Harold Paynting Collection, State Library of Victoria.

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to adapt to one bathroom while the other is being renovated. And given we’ve been talking about doing the kitchen too, it’s made me wonder enough about doing without that to develop a Stress Free Dinner Party During Renovations.

Of course, the easy thing to do would be to go to a restaurant or order takeout, but that’s cheating. You’d have a fridge plugged in somewhere, and some appliances, so in theory at least, a Stress Free Dinner Party During Renovations is possible. But you’ll probably be tired, so make it as easy as possible. Though to be honest, you’d be better off cancelling!


With your cooking options limited, you’ll probably want to focus on:

  • Food that doesn’t need to be heated, or
  • Foods that can be prepared in different appliances that you can hose off on the lawn after dinner.


I get to the end of the day, and I absolutely need many many drinks, preferably ones that don’t take a lot of effort. Beer, cider or wine that just needs opening is perfect!


I would normally advise that you clean your house thoroughly before inviting people over, but when you are renovating that’s futile so just make sure the toilet and food preparation and consumption areas are clean.

Dress Code

Very, very casual – we’re only looking for clean here.

Dinner Planning

As always, six guests invited to arrive 6.30 for 7.00 pm.

6:30 Apéritif: Chips with Champagne

Open a bag of potato chips and a bottle of Champagne.

7.00 Entrée: Garden Salad with more Champagne

Dressing: Whisk six tablespoons of olive oil with two of balsamic vinegar and a little salt and pepper.

Salad: Wash and tear up a lettuce, add chopped avocado, cucumber, sliced red onion and capsicum and a punnet of halved cherry tomatoes. Add any other salad veg you like and toss to combine. Dress just before serving.

8.00 Main: Crockpot Beef Stew with Red Wine

You will get better results if you brown the meat before bunging it in the crockpot, but this will still be tasty if you don’t.

Slice 8 carrots, 2 celery sticks, an onion, and 225 g (8 oz) mushrooms. Add to the crockpot with 4 diced potatoes, ¾ cup pearl barley, 6 crushed cloves of garlic, ¼ cup tomato paste, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp dried thyme, and a bay leaf. Top with 1 kg ( 2 lbs) diced (and browned) chuck steak and slosh in 7 cups of liquid (ideally a mix of red wine and beef stock). Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. Top with chopped parsley and serve in bowls with crusty bread.

You’ll be drinking the same wine you cooked with, so try to pick a nice one.

9.00 Dessert: Bakery Fruit or Custard Tart with Muscat

You may well be flagging by this point, so just a fresh tart from your favourite bakery, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

10.00 Cheese with Coffee and your favourite Liqueur

Make it easy on yourself with just one cheese and some crackers.


You probably only need about 20 minutes in the morning to chop the stew ingredients and throw them in the pot, and another in the evening to put the salad together, so don’t worry too much about when.

31st January 2018

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