Pop-Up Friday No-Cook Entertaining Ideas To Host Friends
We all need quick and easy No-Cook Entertaining Ideas To Host Friends and for you as the host to sit and get as much catch-up time as possible. Weekdays are busy and we have friends in a range of life stages, so we turned to what I called, Pop-up Friday get together. If you kick off the weekend with something fun on a Friday you psychologically extend the weekend.
It takes motivation to down tools, get some dinner into you and pop out, or be the ones to host. Honestly, after a working week, we all feel like collapsing on the sofa, however, it is wonderful when you are sitting with friends and catching up. When the night (or in our case the morning our friends left at 1 am) comes to a close, you still have two more days to unwind before your working week starts again.
I toyed with many ideas, I circle back on ideas and walk through many scenarios, much to the frustration of my husband. However, thanks to the patience of my sounding boards, my mum, sister and close friends, it led us to this new formulae.
We would invite friends to pop in after they had had dinner. We steered away from a traditional meal as we were wanting a drop-in feel, something more akin to what we used to do in South Africa and Europe. Drop-in visitors usually are offered a drink and something that you have in the house that suits the time of day they have popped in to see you. Nothing formal, just a little something or nothing, with a drink. Being Greek, we have to offer some kind of snack or food. In my case, my friends were coming after their dinner so I decided on a dessert and a cheeseboard, you could just choose one of the two. This formula had worked well for two of my friends and was a doddle to prepare.
When people arrived we had a selection of drinks, you can offer what you like and perhaps you already know what your friends will enjoy. In summer I love to have a big pitcher of Pimms, it is a crowd-pleaser and brings a smile to everyone’s face. You can make a jug of your favourite cocktail too. I have recipes for Frozen Margaritas Salted Caramel Espresso Martini and Spiced Ginger a twist on a Moscow Mule here for you to enjoy. In winter you could have a pot of warming mulled wine as the welcome drink, it creates a Swiss chalet mood and it kicks off the evening with a wonderfully cosy atmosphere.
We usually open a bottle of bubbles on arrival, life has pulled us all into our homes and coming together feels like a celebration. So many events have been missed and bubbles make the memories being made feel that much more special. Having a non-alcoholic something that makes the drivers feel special too, is a win and I love the recipe for this non-alcoholic mulled wine it has a deep and delicious flavour or a carbonated drink of sorts in a champagne glass.
Water on the table is always recommended and I like to mix up a jug of flavoured water. It is so easy to make and makes your guests feel very pampered as they reminisce about their times in hotels and retreats.
Snacks and a drink always make a good partnership no matter what time of day it is or if you have just had a meal. You could pop the popcorn, flavour it and add them into individual bowls. Currently, I have packets of crisps in a big Sophie Conran salad bowl. It was more COVID safe than having bowls that different households would dip their hands in and out of. You can open larger bags and decant them into small glasses too, or place handfuls onto snack plates, in the style of a grazing table and place them at each person’s seat.
You could make a batch of these delicious nuts, they are easy to do ahead of time.
A cheese twist/straw and a drink always go down well. They are convenient and I like to stand them in a roomy glass they look attractive and are easy for people to help themselves. They are wonderful to have in the cupboard as a standby nibble but be warned they are addictive.
We love creme brûlée and the Bonne Maman creme brûlée is very good. I served these to our friends. I had a blow torch at the table which added a little theatre. You can of course make your desserts and I have plenty to choose from on the super-easy site. However, in the spirit of finishing work, ticking the dinner box and opening your door to your friends, I cheated and bought them.
Here is a list of easy to make super quick desserts:
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake this is an easy make-ahead recipe
Easy White Chocolate Pots this is an easy make-ahead recipe
Affogato is always a delicious and easy dessert to serve, have decaf coffee on standby too
I have lots more to choose from have a look at my cakes t00 if you have time and want to bake ahead.
We also offered a cheeseboard and this allowed everyone to feel the night had different chapters. I chose my favourite cheeses Pie d’Angloys, my friend Marie-Pierre introduced me to this cheese years ago, it is delicious. It is sold in most supermarkets, give it a try it is rich, oozy and creamy. It smells pungent, pop it into a clip down box to contain the aroma, however, the taste is subtle and just wonderful.
I also chose a Wensleydale Mango and Ginger, my friend and walking partner, who loves ginger and I thought it would be an interesting talking point, it was enjoyed and something a little different. In winter I usually seek out the Wensleydale with cranberries it looks festive and after a meal, the tartness from cranberries compliments all the cheeses served.
A wedge of stilton, blue cheese and brie make for a selection that everyone on the table will enjoy. I forgot to unwrap the mature cheddar! I am finding that after each hosting I find something I have forgotten to do. My latest one was I served tempura prawns naked I forgot to bring out the dipping sauce. Anyway, as they say, these are first world problems.
Shots (well a single shot for each of us)
For a little fun and because we were discussing our teenage years and having shots I offered a G-52. A Greek version of a B-52. If you love Kahlua, Baileys and have a little Grand Marnier or Cointreau in the house you can pour these out and add a little giggly fun to the evening. I used a back of spoon method to pour the three layers, as I was a little out of practice. Below is a reminder of the recipe for a B-52 and my Greek version G-52 but you can use any holiday liqueurs you have indoors.
How to make a B-52 and G-52’s
- The first layer is Kahlua, or any coffee liqueur you have this is a 2/3 pour into a shot glass.
- Baileys forms the second layer, you can use any Irish cream liqueur, leaving a little space at the top for the Grand Marnier
- The third layer is Grand Marnier, a thin layer on the top, you can use anything from an orange liqueur to a cognac. In my G-52 I used a Mastiha Liqueur instead of the Grand Manier. This was a lockdown purchase that I enjoyed neat and over vanilla ice cream. you could add any other liqueur you have indoors that would pair well with the coffee flavour of Kahlua.
A Hug in a Mug Ending
As the evening drew to the last chapter, I decided to make a pot of Elaichi cardamom tea, I also love my chai recipe however, this fragrant cardamon tea with a hint of cinnamon is lighter for the evening. It matched well with my ginger shortbread biscuits and chocolates that were passed around the table to end the evening. The tea is what I like to call a hug in a cup. I used decaf tea bags as some of my friends are affected by caffeine after a certain hour. The tea was well received and a lovely warming end to a soul-filling get together.
You can take just one element of the menu, however, we hadn’t seen our friends properly for nearly 18 months, with COVID, children heading off to uni and parents passing we haven’t all had the same time to sit in each other’s company and sit we did! From 7:15 pm to 1:15 am we still felt we had not covered all the ground we hoped to have. That is the joy of good being in the company of good friends.
The photo shown is my wonderful friend Michelle’s beautiful home, for her popup Friday evening.