The Impressive 4-Course Menu For Your Next Dinner Party

Lauren Powell

If you’re playing host to a fabulous dinner party this season, look no further than this summer-inspired four-course menu. With a chilled, fruity cocktail in hand, kick off your dinner party with a crowd-pleasing starter, followed by a fresh hearty main, and finish with a homemade dessert—hello, hostess with the mostest. Scroll down for a four-course summer menu that has impressive written all over it.

Barbados Cocktail


8 passionfruit

1½ cups (330g) caster sugar

1 cup (250ml) water

1 pineapple (1.2kg), peeled, halved, sliced thinly

4 medium oranges (960g)

1 cup (250ml) dark underproof rum, chilled

2 cups (500ml) lemonade, chilled crushed ice, to serve


1. Remove the pulp from passionfruit; reserve.

2. Place the sugar in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat; cook, stirring, until a dark caramel colour (the sugar will start to dissolve, then form clumps; as you continue to stir, it will eventually liquefy).

3. Carefully add the water and passionfruit pulp to the sugar (the mixture will spit); when the bubbles subside, stir the mixture until smooth. Pour mixture into a large stainless steel bowl, add pineapple; turn to coat in mixture.

4. Cut 1 orange into slices; juice the remaining oranges. Add orange juice and orange slices to the bowl with the rum and lemonade; stir to combine.

5. One-third fill a jug with crushed ice. Add rum and fruit mixture; serve immediately.

Leek & Fetta Fillo Cigars


80g butter

1 medium leek (350g), halved, sliced thinly

220g greek fetta, crumbled

1 small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley

10 sheets fillo pastry, halved crossways


1. Melt 20g of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add leek; cook, stirring, for five minutes or until soft. Transfer to a bowl; cool.

2. Add the fetta and parsley to the leek; mix until well combined.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

4. Microwave remaining butter in a small microwave-safe bowl on high power for 30 seconds or until melted. Brush one sheet of pastry lightly with the melted butter. Fold in half lengthways. Place one tablespoon of the leek mixture at the short end, leaving a 2cm border. Fold in the sides and roll up firmly to enclose.

5. Place, seam-side down, on prepared tray. Brush with a little butter. Repeat with the remaining fillo, butter and leek mixture.

6. Bake fillo cigars for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately.

Mediterranean Chicken


800g chat potatoes, halved if large

8 chicken thighs on the bone, skin on

3 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 medium red onions (340g), peeled, quartered

2 small red capsicums (300g), cut into strips

1 medium yellow capsicum (200g), cut into strips

4 cloves garlic, crushed

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

400g can diced tomatoes

20 pitted black olives

150g crumbled fetta

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced.

2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes; drain.

3. Dry chicken pieces with paper towel and trim any excess fat. Place the chicken in a large baking dish; sprinkle with paprika, rubbing in all over the chicken pieces.

4. Add the onion, capsicum, garlic and potatoes. Pour oil over vegetables, sprinkle with the oregano; season well. Bake for 30 minutes.

5. Add the tomato and olives; bake for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

6. Sprinkle fetta and parsley over the chicken; serve immediately.

Chocolate Panettone Pudding


800g plain panettone

⅔ cup (220g) blackberry jam

2½ cups (600g) ricotta

½ cup (100g) dark chocolate, chopped

5 eggs

2 cups (500ml) milk

200ml thick cream

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

¼ cup (55g) raw sugar


1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease a 2.5-litre (10-cup) ovenproof dish.

2. Cut panettone in half, then cut each piece into 2.5cm-thick slices.

3. Spread a generous layer of jam over the panettone slices. Arrange the panettone in overlapping rows with slices of ricotta in between. Scatter with chocolate.

4. Lightly whisk eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla bean paste in a large bowl until combined. Pour mixture over the panettone. Stand for 30 minutes to one hour. Sprinkle with sugar.

5. Cover pudding with a sheet of baking paper, then a sheet of foil, folding around the dish to seal. Bake pudding for 25 minutes. Remove foil and baking paper. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/200°C fan-forced.

6. Bake the pudding for a further 10 minutes or until slightly crisp, puffed and cooked through.

7. Serve warm.

Serving suggestion: Serve pudding with vanilla bean ice-cream or crème fraîche.

Shop a selection of our summer entertaining favourites below.

Recipes and images from Entertaining Made Easy with Deborah Hutton (Bauer Media Books) $39.99.

What is your go-to summer entertaining menu? Tell us below!

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