Many of life's best moments occur over the dining table - where friends, family and food all come together for a fun occasion. I've always admired how the party host managed the incredible feat of cooking whilst entertaining without a sweat. 

Have you ever wondered how to host your own dinner party, stress-free? 

Whether you're inviting a few friends over for a casual dinner, or planning a bigger bash, hosting a cool dinner party doesn't need to be nerve-wrecking event. Having had a fair share of party-planning over the years, here's the secret to organising one that will impress without the stress. 

espagnole sauce
Great for hearty roasted or pan-fried meat dishes, Espagnole sauce (a.k.a brown sauce) is one of the more complex one amongst the French mother sauces. An important sauce to learn for every great cook, as it serves as a starting point for demi-glace and many other great secondary sauces such as Bordelaise, Chasseur and Robert.

This sauce is made from brown roux and brown stock (roasted bones), with addition of tomatoes towards the end. The process may be rather involved if you choose to make your own brown stock, but the resulting flavour makes it all worthwhile as its freezable in your ice cube trays. A little upfront effort on a weekend for weeks of easy, amazing meals seems like a no-brainer to me.   

April is a great time to get in touch with nature, feel the moisture of the earth, watch the lovely budding flowers and start bringing some green into the kitchen with our favourite spring herb. Minty treats and colours fill up our Food Moodboard this month.

I will be forever grateful to Christopher Columbus; his greatest deed for me personally, was initiating the spread of chilli peppers the world over.

As the story goes, during the 15th Century, black peppercorns were so valuable that the Catholic Kings of Spain sent Christopher Columbus off on a mission to find a new and quicker route to the pepper source in the Spice Islands, via the West. Of course, we all know that he didn’t make his way around and “founded” America instead.

He first landed in the Bahamas Archipelago and from there he ventured his way along the islands of the West Indies and came across an indigenous fruit that set his tongue on fire. Either he tried to deceive himself and in turn deceive the Kings waiting for him back home, or he was truly mistaken, we would never know…but he did duly named them pimiento which means pepper. These were in fact the red chillies we know of today, and not the pepper he was looking for.

Thanks to him, I now have a buffet of lip-smackingly spicy dishes from all over the world to sample from.

Some of you might omit chillies from recipes because of the uncomfortable burning sensation but here are a few reasons to start adding them into your dishes while being able to thoroughly relish its heat.

Velouté ("vuh-loo-tay") - one of the five classical French "mother sauces" - is a stock-based sauce thickened with white roux. Methodically similar to Bechamel, it differs in that velouté uses white stock (stock made using unroasted bones) whereas Bechamel is milk-based. It's especially great with poultry and seafood dishes, although veal and ham velouté are not uncommon.

Seasoning is not needed as Velouté is commonly used as a foundation sauce for other secondary sauces, such as Sauce Allemande (veal-based), Sauce Vin Blanc (white wine sauce), Sauce Poulette (versatile), Sauce Normandy (fish-based), Sauce Bercy (fish-based), and Sauce Supreme (chicken-based).

Once you'd mastered Bechamel, this should be a breeze to add-on in your sauce repertoire. It's a versatile sauce applicable to most dishes. Using a good quality stock base is key.

Most contemporary cookbooks encourage small talk – depicting undulating landscapes and colourful market scenes, evoking memories of gatherings with family and friends.

It was thus really refreshing for me to read a no-nonsensical, functional, direct and structured cookbook based on menus by Ferran Adrià, especially since he’s known to be as much of an artist as being the best chef in the world.

The book has its roots from designing daily meals for the staff, known as “The Family”, at El Bulli; shedding light on many interesting accounts in the professional world that can be applied to the home kitchen, and giving you the option to cook for a huge party – up to 75 people.

The Family Meal assumes that you already want to cook, and that you want to share the result of that passion with your loved ones.  

Leftover eggs funny
As the long weekend’s events mellow, are you finding yourself sitting on a pile of leftover eggs after Easter and wondering what to do with them?

We suggest poaching them; poaching eggs is like playing Barbie – the same body can have a hundred and one different outfits and be called different names – allowing you to play with a myriad of concoctions yet never tire of the same main item.

Here we have compiled a list of exciting recipes; originate from Turkey to Japan, where poached eggs emerge as the star ingredient.

20 Essential Kitchen
What are the essential tools and equipment you need in your kitchen? What kitchenware should you get for your kitchen?

Setting up your kitchen - or even de-cluttering one - can be a baffling task, especially when space and storage is limited.

Here, the Codlo team have distilled an ultimate checklist of  the top 20 kitchenware that would allow you to do most (if not all) forms of cooking, whilst taking cost and storage space into consideration.  Simples.