Good-time food; simple, original and fun sharing dishes to eat with the people you love

Posted by
Anna Brech

What is life, without delicious food and the people you love to share it with? 

For our edit of ultimate sharing dishes, we take a dip into the national cuisine of Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan and more.

We've picked out easy-to-assemble dishes that pack a culinary punch and feed many hungry mouths at short notice.

The snacks and treats we've chosen are as fun to make as they are to eat, for a collective and interactive experience that doesn't involve one person slaving away resentfully in the kitchen alone. Picture instead a happy, relaxed group of people passing round ingredients and mucking in together to make the meal come alive. 

So whether you're hosting a low-key dinner party for friends or have a crowd to feed on the cheap, come revel in these good-time group dishes that are all about the sharing, from seafood paella to raclette, fondue and Hawaiian-style fajitas:

Words: Anna Brech

  • Party paella

    If ever a dish was made for revelling in glorious bonhomie, it's paella. Cook up a giant pan filled with mussels, clams and shrimps, grab a fine bottle of Rioja and give everyone a fork to dig in with.

    For the true king of stomach-satisfying paellas, you could add in chorizo sausage, chicken or even lobster, as with this recipe. Or, keep things simple and classic

    (Source: The Pretty Blog/ Catherine Mac via Pinterest)

  • Build your own fajitas

    There are few finer ways of spending a Friday evening than round an over-sized griddle of fajitas with all the trimmings. This Hawaiian take on the time-honoured Mexican snack features pineapple slaw and coconut rice for an added sense of zing.

    The base items - and especially the oven-roasted pulled pork - take a little prep but are more than worth it for the end effect of DIY-ing your own fajitas from a irresistibly moreish buffet of tortillas, pork, grilled peppers, diced avocado and cheese (not to mention the  jalapeño-fuelled sides and toppings). 

    (Source: Half Baked Harvest via Pinterest)

  • Fajita-style quesadillas

    For a nifty spin on fajitas, try these fajita-style quesadilla quarters. Quick and easy to make, you can cook up a batch of 3-4 at a go on a giant griddle pan, for a snack to feed many in under 20 minutes. The best bit? You can really go to town on the fillings, from sauteed onion, red pepper, and green pepper amid a hefty seal of melted cheese to dessert fillings such as peanut butter with chocolate sauce

    Go with the flow depending on what everyone feels like.

    (Source: The Recipe Critic via Pinterest)

  • Grilled cheese and ham raclette

    Mm, raclette. This traditional Swiss dish is a superb way of giving soul to casual gatherings of around 4-8 people. You will need to invest in a raclette grill to get started, then load up on crucial ingredients, from ham, sliced pepper, mushrooms and gherkins, to dipping stuff such as a huge bowl of potatoes and crunchy baguette and of course, lashings of Gouda or Greyere cheese to create that scrumptious smell of freshly grilled fromage.

    See here for more tips.

    (Source: Key Ingredient via Pinterest)

  • Jacket potato bar

    This is a foolproof, low-maintenance way of feeding crowds on the cheap. Simply lay out a tray of jacket potatoes (dash them with olive oil and sea salt before baking for nice crunchy skins) and create a series of toppings for people to choose from, from chilli and soured cream to crumbled bacon slices.

    You can decrease the work factor even further by asking guests to bring toppings with them, for a potluck approach

    (Source: Perfecting The Pairing via Pinterest)

  • Lemon shrimp kebabs

    The beauty of this dish is just how easy it is to make. The tricky part is peeling and deveining the shrimp (find instructions here) but once you've made it past that barrier, it's all plain sailing.

    Thread the shrimp onto skewers inter-weaved with fresh lemon chunks, and while you grill the kebabs create a creamy topping of garlic butter and herbs. Pair with a crisp, dry white wine for a party snack that's brimming with flavour. 

    (Source: Damn Delicious via Pinterest)

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.