Food & Drink

Rita’s Culinary Trickery by Rita Konig

You don't have to be a fantastic cook to entertain friends.

Rita Konig has never professed to be a good cook and you have to take your hat off to her, writing a book about the very thing she can’t do. But this is a book about entertaining in the larger sense. Having made her name with Domestic Bliss, the most natural step was one towards the kitchen and a spot of cooking.

Rita cooks food that allows her time to sit on the sofa before dinner and enjoy her friends. She is not one for getting hot and bothered over the stove. She goes for simplicity in food and has some good advice to offer. After all, she is a collector and assembler and with some kitchen craftiness, epic parties are within everyone’s grasp. All it needs is some careful thought about the menu well in advance, the perfect table setting, the right mix of friends and you will be a star. This book is about creating all the above and with her fresh style, she does make it look easy.

Shopping with a keen eye, whether for delicious morsels or a set of pretty glasses can elevate your entertaining into an occasion to remember. Rita is a hunter gatherer, always on the lookout for something interesting. It can be a pair of expensive coffee cups or some old linen sheets that can be used as tablecloths, or may be delicious macaroons or mustard. She shops with a real pro’s eyes. A great believer in shopping at Farmers’ Markets and buying seasonally, she likes to ask advice wherever she goes.

Look through your cupboards and put things to different uses. Pint glasses are good for serving prawns, along with a good mayonnaise. Use heavy tumblers, full of ice, to serve sparkling wine before dinner. The effect of the ice drives down the liquid’s temperature even further and makes sparkling wine taste really quite good. Add Framboise or Cassis and you’re talking. If you are prepared to go to the effort of decanting milk into glass pitchers, your breakfast table will appear all the better for it.

Rita advises that if your guests offer to bring something like a pudding, say ‘Yes’ as it saves you the trouble and makes them feel happy too. Don’t stand on ceremony. Rita isn’t proud and happily admits to picking up a takeaway en route home. Providing you reheat it in a saucepan, dispose of the evidence (foil trays) and cook your own rice and broccoli, who’s to know. And she says, ‘If anyone asks questions, just say that the curry is really easy to make, which I’ve heard it is anyway.’ This girl isn’t proud. Rita has included some of her fail safe recipes, which are bound to impress.

Rita’s Culinary Trickery is a magician’s hat full of party turns and makes the perfect present for your best friend. It’s fun, light and full of good ideas, making the sometimes onerous task of entertaining a real pleasure, which is exactly what it should be.

Publication details:
256 pp. Illustrations by Joy Gosney. £17.50
Published by Ebury Press
ISBN 0091899192

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