Ok so my lack of posting over the last week has to be blamed on two things, firstly a nasty cold, and secondly, organising a Christmas drinks party for my work friends.
I had invited people over from about 7pm, which gave me less than an hour to cook and prepare, and so I needed to do some night before preparation.
First up, chocolate truffles and a recipe I had never tried before which I got from the January 2012 Good Food magazine. The quantity in the recipe makes about 24 truffles so scale this up or down as you need.
- 2 100g bars of dark chocolate (I used 70% Lindt)
- 85ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- cocoa powder for dusting
Just melt the chocolate, cream and vanilla very gently to bring the ingredients together, then chill in the fridge. When the mixture is hard enough, make little balls of the truffle mix either with your hands or teaspoons and roll in cocoa powder to coat.
These are very rich but really delicious and would make a lovely present. If you don’t want the bitter cocoa coating you can roll the truffles in grated white chocolate!
Ideally I would have made pasty from scratch but this time there wasn’t time and so I have cheated a little bit and used ready rolled pastry!
- Ready rolled sweet shortcrust Jus-rol pastry
- Jar of mincemeat
Just cut out rounds of pastry, put in a greased cake tray, and fill with a little bit of the filling. Don’t overfill otherwise the sugar will bubble up and make the pies messy and hard to get out of the tin. Top with more pastry in whatever shape you want – I thought little stars looked quite pretty.
Bake until golden and eat as soon as you can!
Mini Santa Hat Cakes
I found this idea on Daisy’s World, a really nice blog filled with yummy looking recipes and thought this was a fab idea for party food! I used a standard chocolate sponge recipe rather than the brownies on this recipe, and used a different buttercream (without mascarpone) but love the cute Christmas hats that the strawberries make!
These got so many great comments and looked lovely on a big cake stand in pride of place of the table.
So with all these lovely sweet treats made the night before, there was a mad rush to make the remainder before everyone arrived so I kept things really simple.
Parma Ham Bites
Roll up some parma ham, and top with a bit of mozzarella and a mint leaf. Skewer with a cocktail stick and you’re done – easy peasy and really delicious!
Smoked Salmon Crostini
Either buy ready made crostini or toast small pieces of good bread, and add a blob of crème fraiche, and a twist of smoked salmon. Top with some finely chopped chives, a grind of black pepper and a splash of lemon juice.
Parma ham, sliced chorizo, olives, sun-dried tomatoes……whatever you want! Just set everything out and let people nibble at whatever they like. I arranged everything on one of my favourite bits of kitchen kit – my Jamie Oliver antipasti plank which always makes the simplest of food look amazing.
I like to always have some hot food as well as the cold nibbles, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend a long time cooking when your guests are here! As I brought these out after the party had started there are no pictures, but I promise to put up pictures when I make them next time!
Chicken Satay Skewers
The first step for these is to marinate bite-size pieces of chicken. These need to marinade for between 20 minutes and 24 hours. For the marinade you need the following:
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 garlic cloves
- grated zest and juice of one lemon
- chilli (at least one depending on their heat)
- 3 tbsp oil
Dry toast the spices in a hot pan for 30 seconds, and then blitz all the ingredients until you get a smooth paste which you can stir around the chicken.
Mini Puff Pizzas
I have already posted about these, and these were exactly the same, just in miniature! I made cheese and tomato ones for speed and because I wanted there to be plenty of options for the vegetarians who were coming, but play around with these depending on the tastes and any dietary requirements of your guests
Pesto and Parmesan Swirls
Puff pastry again! I spread red pesto on top of the pastry and then grated parmesan on top before rolling the pastry into a sausage shape. Cut into slices and baked until golden, these disappeared as soon as they came out of the oven before I could even photograph them!
Phew! After all that a glass of wine was definitely needed! Hopefully this has given you a few ideas if you are entertaining over the festive season, whether you are wanting an appetiser or a full range of canapes. Let me know what you think!