Tagged food

Being a Gracious Party Guest: 12 Ways of Showing Appreciation to Your Hosts

Invitations to a person’s home are always memorable. It may be a birthday or special celebration, a house warming or just a more or less informal get together for a group of friends to catch up.
Obviously your gift for the host or hostess will depend on the occasion, but even if the gathering is just for fun you don’t want to arrive empty handed. Start by asking if you can bring something for the party, a beverage or dessert maybe. A stylish carrying tote, dessert platter or lovely tea towel can easily double as present.
Alternatively choose from the suggestions below. While some assume that you know your hosts’ lifestyle and habits, others are quite universal.

One – Homemade food specialties

Your homemade Jam, Chutney, Pesto, Liqueur or cookies presented in an attractive container are sure to please and are truly individual. Add a personalized label and if you like include the recipe.

Presentation is everything. Make sure your homemade delicacy is wrapped in style.
Two – Wine

A fine bottle of wine is an obvious choice for oenophiles.  Afraid it might come across as unimaginative? Spruce up your offering with a creative wrapping. You can find inspiration here.

A fabulous bag makes any wine or beverage special. Image source
Three – Mixed drink kit

Arrange all the ingredients of your friends’ favorite mixed drink in a basket or ice bucket along with cocktail napkins and/or stirrers and coasters.

This Margarita gift crate comes complete with a miniature lime tree .
Four – Wineglass markers

Glasses get easily misplaced at parties. Color coded glass markers are a fun way to help everyone identify their drink. A small gift that is sure to be appreciated. You can follow this step-by step guide to create a one of a kind set.

These handmade wineglass markers are as cheerful as they are practical.
Five – Candle holders

Candles are a gift universally liked, however unless you know the recipient really well I recommend staying away from the scented kind. Complement them with candle holders – you might even want to make your own for a unique flair. Here are some charming yet easy projects.

Use your imagination to create charming candle holders from materials you may already own.
Six – Flowers

Flowers are always well received. If you choose cut flowers present them in a receptacle, your host/ess is probably busy enough as it is and won’t be too happy having to hunt for a suitable vase in the back of a kitchen cabinet. Or you can opt for a potted plant instead.

A humble mason jar embellished with a string serves as a vase for this adorable arrangement.Found here.
Seven – Plant for the garden

Your hosts live in a house with a garden or patio? How about a perennial plant that can be moved outdoors? A lasting gift that will grow with time. Depending on the size of the property and the type of garden you might even consider a tree sapling.

Give a perennial like this eye catching Mandevilla.
Eight – Herbs for the windowsill

For  your friends who like to cook potted herbs for the windowsill make a splendid offering, especially if it’s a collection of several different plants.

Assorted herbs are arranged in a wooden planter box. Source
Nine – Special olive oil or vinegar

Food lovers will likewise appreciate that distinctive bottle of olive oil or vinegar. Buy it ready at a gourmet store or make your own by infusing good quality olive oil with herbs and spices.

Delicious herb infused olive oil.
Ten – Apron

Yet another option for the cooking or barbecue enthusiast.  Available in a wide range  of fabrics and styles, from classic to colorful to whimsical. For a more personal touch sew it yourself.

You can find a sheer endless variety of apron DIY projects on Pinterest. I like this unisex model for its classic simplicity. Instructions here.
Eleven – Picture

Maybe you have a great photograph of your friend or of the two of you together. Print it and frame it for an genuinely personal present.

Choose a frame that matches both your picture and the personality of your host.
Twelve – Breakfast kit

After a successful (and tiring) party the last thing your hosts want to worry about is breakfast the morning after. Put together a basket with the ingredients for a healthy – or totally irresponsible – way to start the day.

Your hosts will adore a nicely arranged breakfast kit. Why not include something home made, like a loaf of delicious banana bread?

You’re all set for your next invitation. Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to sign up for e-mail notification or follow me on facebook or bloglovin’.

























From my Kitchen: Traditional Pesto Sauce

The basil in our garden has grown vigorously thanks to the abundant summer rains we’ve had here in the past weeks. It has become a delicious addition to a variety of dishes, but pesto sauce is still my favorite use for this savory herb.

It is equally perfect with pasta, boiled new potatoes or as dressing for a tomato salad. I make a large batch whenever the basil plants need trimming. It keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator, making for effortless dinners even when surprise guests show up. Alternatively it can be frozen for longer storage. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays, so portions can be defrosted according to need.

By the way your basil-less friends will love to receive it as a gift!


36 basil leaves

4 cloves of garlic

150 g pine nuts or walnuts or blanched almonds or Brazil nuts – or a combination thereof

100 g freshly grated mixed pecorino romano and parmesan cheese

200ml good quality olive oil

salt and black pepper


Rinse the basil leaves and spread them on a paper towel to dry. Place them in a food processor and blend together with the garlic. Gradually add the nuts, cheese and olive oil. Finally add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Just before serving mix with 1 -2 tablespoons of hot water (from cooking the pasta or the potatoes) per portion.

Serves six.

Adapted from the book “The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces” by Diane Seed, Ten Speed Press


Molho de pesto tradicional

Observação: este pesto pode ser feito com manjericão, mas fica melhor ainda com basílico doce (alfavaca)


36 folhas de basílico

4 dentes de alho

150 g pinhões, nozes,  amêndoas descascadas ou castanhas do Pará – ou uma mistura

100 g mistura de quejo pecorino romano e parmesão ralado

200ml azeite de boa qualidade

sal e pimenta do reino

Modo de preparo:

Enxágüe as folhas de basílico e espalhe-as em uma toalha de papel para secar. Colocá-las em um liquidifiquador e misture com o alho. Adicione gradualmente as nozes, o queijo e o azeite. Por final, adicione sal e pimenta do reino a gosto. Use imediatamente ou guarde na geladeira por até duas semanas.

Antes de servir mistura com 1 -2 colheres de sopa de água quente (de cozinhar a massa ou as batatas) por porção.

Serve 6 pessoas.

Adaptado do livro “The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces” by Diane Seed, Ten Speed Press


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My Perfectly Imperfect Kitchen

Sunday lunch

Sitting down for a good meal with that special person or a group of friends is one of the great pleasures in life. Cooking is the anticipation of that pleasure, and it is immensely satisfying to see everybody truly enjoying the food you’ve prepared.

I consider it the ultimate praise when guests ask me for the recipe.

What could be a better place for sharing than right here? Starting next week I will periodically post some of my favorite dishes. While in most cases I cannot take the credit for creating them, I’ve cooked them all to general acclaim. I hope you’ll like them as much as we do.

In consideration of my Brazilian friends and followers I’ve decided that the recipes should be posted both in English and Portuguese.

Please check in from time to time to see what’s cooking or, better yet, subscribe and you will never miss a post.