Thomasina Miers & Willow Crossley tell Wicklewood how to host the dream dinner party

Entertaining made easy: How to host a dream dinner party with Tommi Miers

Tommi Miers OBE is an award-winning chef and food writer who puts sustainability at the core of her cooking. She cares deeply about where our food comes from and how its growth supports the soil, biodiversity and the planet... as well as how it is presented on the table to her guests...
So, to celebrate her latest cookery course with Create Academy - How to Streamline Your Cooking: The Building Block of Flavour Tommi cherry-picked her favourite Wicklewood tabletop pieces to adorn her table for the launch party. Check out Tommi’s curated tabletop collection here and get 20% off the cooking course with code: WICKLEWOOD20 until March 17th.
When it comes to entertaining, we know the difference between throwing a good party and throwing a great party. That’s why, alongside award-winning chef Thomasina Miers and famed florist Willow Crossley, we’ve collaborated to share our top tips and tricks to help you host like a pro.
Thomasina Miers & Willow Crossley tell Wicklewood how to host the dream dinner party
ONE: Be playful
A tablescape should be playful, creative, relaxed - think one-of-a-kind accessories and unexpected, fun-filled pieces - they make the perfect conversation starter. Keep one eye on practicality - avoid multiple trips to the kitchen with a pretty side table scattered with pitchers, bowls and trays. 

TWO: Layer up
Start bottom up; a patterned tablecloth will totally transform a table. From there, layer texture. Add pattern and colour via items that aren’t going to be removed from the table, like bud-vases and ceramic tea lights, to avoid your table looking depleted as the meal wears on. Ceramics add magnificence and food served in beautiful dishes can become part of the décor, especially if they’re unusual.

THREE: Colour, colour, colour
Colourful patterns and flowers are vital. Tea lights and small sturdy vases of varying height for the table. I like to keep a low horizon so everyone can see one another across the table. 

FOUR: Keep cosy
If doing alfresco, put blankets or quilts on the chairs for when it gets chilly. Plus, these will add another element of colour and texture to the table.
Thomasina Miers curated colourful edit of her favourite Wicklewood Tabletop pieces
For floral stylist Willow Crossley, there are a few simple tricks to help make the process of creating whimsical flower arrangements that little bit easier. “Flowers serve as the launching point for my entire tablescape,” she says. “Firstly, I’ll start by working out how many vases I want to use, then work out the flowers from there. Often people come home with lovely flowers but forget the vase and end up putting them in a pint glass, so think about your containers before you begin.”
“Make sure to vary the heights of the flowers and branches in your containers to create a three-dimensional effect; a good pair of secateurs will help make this a breeze,” says Willow, who believes arrangements should look as natural as possible. “Condition your flowers well – let them have a long drink before you start arranging with them. Make sure they have enough water and keep them out of direct sunlight. If your flowers are drooping, a good tip is to cut the bottoms, revive them in warm water then cover them in tissue paper or brown paper for two hours.”
Thomasina Miers & Willow Crossley tell Wicklewood how to host the dream dinner party
 - THE MENU - 
 A great menu is a conversation-starter. Good food brings people together, but it doesn’t have to be complex to be delicious. Try to plan a meal that doesn't take you away from guests for too long. We always recommend prepping in advance, where you can, to keep your dinner party as stress-free as possible. 
 For a dinner party recipe that’s packed full with flavour, we love Thomasina’s sweet roast red onion salad with lentils, watercress and blue cheese. “This is a real showstopper of a dish that will work beautifully for any feast,” she says. “A wonderfully rich celebratory beef recipe using the complex, sweet and rounded flavours of a trio of Mexican chillies to add real depth of flavour.”
What you'll need
3 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
5 tbsp balsamic sherry vinegar
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A handful thyme
200g Puy green lentils
80g watercress
2 heads pink chicory
1 ripe pear
A small bunch fresh mint leaves picked
100g any good blue cheese
Don't forget a few delicious cocktails to start or end the dinner. 
For a truly great cocktail, Thomasina recommends using the smoky flavours of mezcal to create this pineapple sour recipe.
You will need
a chilled coupe glass 35ml Gran Centenario Plata Tequila
15ml Mezcal
25ml Fresh Lime Juice 12.5ml Agave Nectar
15ml Pressed Pineapple Juice 20ml Aqua Faba**
Shake all ingredients together very hard without ice for 10-12 seconds until light and frothy.
Now add a large handful of ice and shake again for 8-10 seconds.
Strain into glass and garnish with 3 drops of Angostura Bitters.
Thomasina Miers & Willow Crossley tell Wicklewood how to host the dream dinner party
Imagery taken by Create Academy from the launch party of Tommi's new Create Academy online cooking course: How to Streamline Your Cooking: The Building Block of Flavour. Get 20% off the cooking course with code: WICKLEWOOD20 until March 17th.
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