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Lucy Tweed is known for her delicious recipes. Here are 3 she makes to impress her guests.

Lucy Tweed knows how to whip up a damn good meal.

The food stylist, author of Every Night of the Week (you might be familiar with her Instagram account by the same name) and partner with Sydney Seafood School has been creating food that both looks good and tastes good for years.

Lucy also loves entertaining - cooking up a feast and enjoying it with friends or family over a glass of wine and good conversation.

Watch: Want to drink something a little more interesting than water? Try these drink recipes. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

We asked Lucy all about her insider cooking hacks to make entertaining stress-free, and got her to share her go-to recipes for when people come over.

We're already drooling...

Lucy Tweed's entertaining hacks.

1. Divide your recipes into three categories.

The first tip that Lucy says makes entertaining that much easier is dividing your recipes into three distinct groups before you even think of picking up a knife:

"[First] the super-prep - how much can you do way before everyone gets there and chuck in the fridge or freezer?

Then it's the morning-of stuff you don't want to be doing when friends are there - looking for ingredients and all the ugly, chaotic stuff (like taking the spine out of a chicken).

And then choosing a few nice little things [to do at the end]," Lucy told us. 

"So, you can still chat to your friends, but you're finishing off the dish and having a glass of wine."

"[For example] you might decide just to pick your salad leaves at the bench with your friends because that's quite a nice thing to do, rather than wasting time doing it beforehand," Lucy added.

2. Prepare elements way ahead of time.

You know how Lucy mentioned doing your "super-prep" before? Well, that because it's an important hack to make cooking for guests more relaxed.

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"When you design a menu or have this fantasy about what you're doing, it's always a good idea to get a look at [the] recipes and work out what you can do way ahead of time," she said.

For example, she suggests considering whether there are breadcrumbs you can make up the week before and chuck in a bag in the freezer, or a salad dressing you can make two days out and have sitting in the fridge.

"All those little things that you can pre-do are really crucial," she said.

3. Drizzle, sprinkle or fresh.

Once you're prepped, you've cooked and your friends have come over, think about how you can dress your dish. Or as Lucy likes to call it, "drizzle, sprinkle or fresh".

"Can I do an inviting drizzle of the dressing to get things going?" she said. "Is there something I can sprinkle on it? Is there something from the cupboard like crispy fried shallots or a spice mix or sesame seeds or parmesan?"

"It doesn't have to be an impactful ingredient, it's just a lightness on top."

"[Then] the last thing: is there something fresh I can put with this? Is there a picked herb, is there a lemon zest, lemon wedge or lime that I can serve with this just to give it that layer of freshness?"

Now you know Lucy's insider tips, here are three recipes from her cookbook Every Night of the Week that she recommends you make next time you have people over.

1. Salmon with Dill Sauce and Spring Spaghetti.

Image: Supplied/Lucy Tweed. 

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Why Lucy recommends it: "It's so light and fresh, and you can really play with how much pasta [you put] in it."

"If you just want to do it as a starter or a side salad, you can dial back the pasta and keep it really fresh and herby," she said. "Or if you are actually wanting to make that your main thing, you can do [more] pasta."

Serves: 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg salmon whole fillet, pinboned and skin on
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 zucchinis, julienned 
  • 2 bunches asparagus, halved (or quartered, if fat) lengthways 
  • 250g angel hair pasta 
  • ½ cup dill, loosely packed

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbs lemon juice 
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed 
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt flakes
  • ½ cup grated parmesan 
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ½ cup dill fronds, chopped

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C oven and boil a pot of heavily salted water. 

2. Place the salmon on a paper lined tray, skin side down. Brush with oil and season with salt. 

3. Place all your divinely julienned vegetables into the colander you intend to drain the pasta into. 

4. Cook angel hair 1-2 minutes under the box instructions. 

5. Drain pasta over veg and place this beautiful tendrilly mess onto a platter to create a nest for the salmon. 

6. Tear the salmon into chunks and nestle about the spaghetti. 

7. Blitz the sauce ingredients in a small food blender until emulsified. 

8. Drizzle generously over the salmon and spaghetti. 

Hot tip: to turn this into a cold salad, replace the spaghetti for rissoni and only dress your pasta before plating.

2. Big Meatballs.

Image: Supplied/Lucy Tweed. 

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Why Lucy recommends it: "There's a happy generosity to [this dish]. You serve one [meatball] per person... it's the perfect thing for having friends around."

"It breaks a barrier because it's a delicious big thing to eat, but also soaking up all that beautiful tomatoey stuff with the bread is fantastic."

"It's a great one to bank either side of a starter and a dessert," she added.

Makes: 8 meatballs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sourdough loaf
  • 2 cups (500 ml) milk
  • 1 kg mixed pork and veal mince
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 200 g mozzarella
  • olive oil spray
  • ½ bunch basil, leaves picked and chopped
  • 700 g tomato passata (pureed tomatoes)

Method:

1. Cut the loaf of sourdough in half. Remove the crust and tear up the bread from one half (about 2 cups worth), and save the other half to serve.

2. Soak the torn bread in the milk for 20 minutes, then drain and discard the milk.

3. Place the milky bread, mince, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, parsley, oregano, pepper and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine.

4. Roll the mixture into eight balls.

5. Cut the mozzarella into eight 3 cm chunks (thinly slice whatever is left and use it to top the meatballs later). Push a chunk of mozza into the centre of each ball, moulding the mince back around it into a ball.

6. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

7. Spray the base of a 35 cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan with oil, then sear the meatballs over high heat for 1–2 minutes each side. (This is a delicate procedure, and you could cheat a bit and just brown them under the grill for 5 minutes a side. Either way, you are bound to have one that splits but this a super rustic messy affair so embrace whatever happens.)

8. Remove the meatballs from the pan, then place the pan over medium heat. Saute the remaining garlic for 5 minutes, then add the basil, passata and 1½ cups (375 ml) of water and simmer for 5 minutes.

9. Pop the big boys back in (any splits should face up), and top with the thin slices of mozza.

10. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until cooked through and oozing melted insanity.

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No plates + giant chunks of hand-torn bread + linen napkins + sauce so red you-better-be-tight = big fat smiles* of ‘Really? We’re just going in like this?’ from your guests.

*I will often ignore/wilfully misread a grimace as a smile. I recommend it.

3. Pulled Pork Tacos.

Image: Supplied/Lucy Tweed. 

Why Lucy recommends it: "It's interactive - people can DIY their own food. And it's a conversation starter."

"There's nothing that you need to stress about or do on the day," she said, insisting that you can prep the entire recipe in advance.

Serves: 8.

  • Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg pork neck
    16 tacos

Marinade:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) pineapple juice
  • 1 cup (250 ml) barbecue sauce
  • 3 tablespoons American mustard
  • 1 onion, skin removed and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Pickled pineapple:

  • 2 cups (500 ml) white vinegar
  • ¾ cup (165 g) sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons sea salt
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored if liked and thinly sliced

Slaw:

  • 3 cups (225 g) shredded cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons kewpie mayonnaise
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Optional ingredients:

  • thinly sliced red onion, coriander leaves and lime wedges

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 120°C.

2. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a heavy ovenproof dish with a lid. (I use a Dutch oven; you could also use a slow cooker, but I’m not really sure of the settings.)

3. Add the pork and turn to coat on all sides.

4. Place a piece of baking paper over the pork and press it down into the juices – this is like a face mask, keeping the whole thing moist while it cooks. Pop the lid on, place in the oven and cook gently for 6 hours.

5. Remove and allow to cool, then shred the meat with tongs and stir with all the juices, breaking up the garlic and onion as you go. You can discard harder spices, like the cinnamon stick.

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6. The pork can be made ahead of time, and preheated to serve. You can do this in small batches in the microwave, checking and stirring often, or in a saucepan over medium–low heat, stirring occasionally.

7. For the pickled pineapple, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, cardamom and 2 cups (500 ml) of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then allow to cool slightly.

8. Place the pineapple in a large airtight jar and pour the pickling liquid over the top. Seal and allow to pickle for at least an hour. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

8. To make the slaw, toss all the ingredients together in a bowl.

9. Warm the taco shells*.

10. Take all the components to the table and let everyone help themselves.

Tips:

  • Low and slow pork - all in the pot, lid on, set and forget. No browning.
  • If you pre-shred the cabbage, pick the herbs, chop some chives and pack some soft tacos, you’ve got one killer bring-a-plate setup that will muscle over anyone else’s contribution.
  • I really don’t like the hard shells you can buy off the shelf − they taste like stale corn chips to me. I choose the soft ones, give them a quick spray with oil and heat in the pan, then let them cool flopped over an old paper towel roll. DIY crispy tacos. Or just keep them soft.

Images and text from Every Night of the Week by Lucy Tweed; photography by Lucy Tweed. Murdoch Books RRP $35.00.

Image: Supplied. 

Feature image: Supplied/Lucy Tweed.

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