Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass before serving the first course. This lovely touch helps get your guests into the mood and whets their appetite for what’s to come, although don’t forget to serve a little appetiser as well. But don’t overdo it, or your guests won’t have any room for the meal itself.
When it comes to choosing appetisers, it’s best to go for light and healthy ideas in keeping with the meal ahead but which won’t spoil your appetite. If you’re hosting an informal supper, you could start with an appetiser that guests can eat standing up, along with some olives in extra-virgin olive oil and oregano, and some toasted, spiced almonds.
If you want to shift up a gear, try some fancy vegetables: crispy artichoke hearts or an original pistachio hummus will go down a treat. For a lighter result you can serve the hummus with vegetable crudités (carrot, celery, etc.) instead of pitta bread.
For a more surprising, elaborate appetiser you can serve on the table, try this salt-cod brandade, which you can serve in little pots, vol-au-vents or tartlets, depending on how much of a feast you’re throwing. Or king-prawn brochettes with your own mayonnaise with a twist: pear and hazelnut, mustard and dill, ginger…
Finally, you can conjure up some show-stopping appetisers with cheese cubes in herbs. Take your favourite cheese, cut it into bite-size cubes and put into a pot with extra-virgin olive oil, together with some cayenne peppers, black pepper or basil. Seal it tightly, let the cheese take on the flavours and you’ll have a delicious appetiser ready to serve at the drop of a hat.