Sometimes the best nights are the impromptu ones, where everyone brings their own food and nips across the road in their slippers to share supper in one quarter. With Christmas around the corner, culinary queen AJ Sharp shares her favourite feasting ideas…

If you want everyone to get to know each other better, there are many meals which work as conversation starters. Some easy options include build your own fajitas, where only a little cooking and preparation is required and everything else is put out on the table for everyone to help themselves.

A new concept which we really enjoyed recently was dingdongdimsum.com, a home delivery service of delicious dim sum which is frozen and just needs finishing off in the oven. They offer all sorts of flavours, our favourite was Surf & Turf, but you can also choose from Chicken & Veg, Vegetarian and Duck Gyoza.

Doing the rounds

Another way to get to know lots of people quickly is a safari supper.

The idea is that you travel around the patch having a course at lots of different people’s homes. Start with drinks at one person’s house, then starter at another, main at another… you get the gist.

Finally, pudding and usually that lucky person gets to host the after-party! These can be very merry nights!

Sing for your supper

At one patch we lived on there was a carol singing safari. It started with some of the ‘livers-in’ coming out to the patch and singing Christmas carols at the first house.

The host of the first stop would then invite them in for a drink and they would join the group and go on to the next house, where they sing and are given a drink, and so on, until the carol singing group is enormous and the last house hosts the after-party!

Bring your own banquet

We had a truly epic feast one New Year’s Eve when we planned a ‘bring a course’ evening.

Every course had to be small but delicious, a few bites per person, so that no one got lumped with all the cooking.

It was fantastic and the best part was everyone took home their own washing up!

You can follow AJ @ajsharpflavourfanatic on Instagram

“The magic ingredient for a patch party is laughter. Someone has to make a joke or dress up to break the ice. I like Asian food, so if I’m only taking one or two dishes it’s normally sushi and cake!” – Jodie Reynolds, @themilwife

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