When you’re hosting a party or an event, the last thing you want is to cut corners on food safety. The guilt of giving someone a dodgy tummy is enough, but a lack of food safety could be dangerous. So here’s our tips to make sure your party or event catering goes without a hitch.
Firstly, give yourself plenty of time to prepare food - you'll save time and ease any time pressures.
Keep food chilled
Keep food in the fridge until it’s needed. And if you’re short on fridge space, move wine and beer into buckets of ice, or somewhere cool like a cellar.
Don’t cook too quickly
Even if people are waiting to eat, don’t reduce cooking times. Better safe than fast.
Check food is cooked before serving
Food should be steaming hot all the way through to kill bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check it has a core temperature of 75°C to be safe.
Duringbarbeque season the temptation is to try and cook everything at the speed of light before the rain comes on. But nobody wants an undercooked burger, so here's how to avoid giving guests sore stomachs instead of full ones.
Make sure any frozen food is completely thawed before you cook it.
Keep raw meat in sealed containers, separate from other foods to avoid cross contamination. And use separate plates and utensils for raw meat.
Don’t use a sauce or marinade for cooked food that’s had raw meat in it.
Wait for the charcoal to glow red with a powdery grey surface to start cooking. Flames will blacken the outside of food but leave the middle raw
Keep everything moving so it cooks evenly.
Check the centre of the food – steam should be coming out of it. Meat isn’t necessarily cooked inside just because it looks charred on the outside.
Make sure chicken, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs are steaming hot all the way through. There should be no pink meat, and juices run clear
Sometimes the best way is to cook meat indoors (in a pan, grill or oven), then finish it off on the barbecue for that chargrilled flavour.
Apart from the threat of some unwelcome rain clouds, the other thing that can ruin your picnic is food poisoning, here are some picnic tips:
Wicker baskets are cute, but cool bags are much better at keeping your food fresh.
Keep food in the fridge until you need it to keep it as cool as possible for travelling. This is especially important if it contains cream, meat and poultry.
Wash fruit and vegetables – if you do this before setting off, your fruit and veg will be clean and ready to eat when you start your picnic
Cover your food from pesky wasps, insects, dogs and any other unwanted picnic thieves.