Party season is here and be it 15 or 50, chances are you will need to host drinks for friends and families some time over the next few months.
With that in mind we have grouped some of our favourite finger food recipes here in one place with tips on what to buy and what to make.
Our friends at Marcel’s blinis have kindly sponsored this feature, we asked them to do so as we know their blinis are fabulous and it is well worth having a box or two in the freezer for those impromptu moments. Marcel’s blinis are purchased frozen (check out your supermarket and specialty food stores) and will thaw by the time you have arranged them on the platter and put your toppings on. They are quick and easy to prepare and it is easy to make them in quantity.
Some blini topping suggestions include
* Prawn, Asparagus and Dill
* Smoked salmon, creme fraiche, dill and lemon
* Chicken tossed in hoisin sauce and topped with slivers of spring onion
People at parties like eating food and generally the more the better. While it also needs to be stylish there are some great options for making it easy on yourself.
Caterers of course are the easiest option but come with a price tag that can make a party price prohibitive.
Instead, I suggest you minimise your varieties and stick to 4-5 different options. Start off with something that looks fabulous but is completely easy to make and then gradually progress in both portion size and quantity so people really feel genuinely satiated. Bowls of spicy nut mixes or
and dips such as guacomole or hummus are popular and can be placed strategically around the room.
A cheeseboard with a couple of large wedges of cheese can look spectacular, pile sliced baguette or gourmet crackers alongside with some walnuts and perhaps a chunk of quince paste.
Oat biscuits, blue cheese and quince paste is a favourite combination and can be presented as an easy canape.
Evenings generally evolve to the obligatory glazed ham or beef with rolls but you can also crank up the barbecue and get some interesting burger combinations rolling.
Sliders have been hugely popular over the past year or so and are great for parties. Pulled pork can be cooked earlier in the day and then presented with a bowl of coleslaw or lettuce leaves and a mountain of buns for self assembly.
There are loads of great finger food recipes on foodlovers but here are some of my absolute favourites as well as some good party tips.
* Allow 3 glasses per person (of actual glasses not liquid) – this means you shouldn’t have to start washing glasses half way through the evening.
* Ensure you have a refreshing non alcoholic drink available. My all time favourite is pineapple juice with l&p and lots of mint – it sounds ho hum but I assure you it is delicious and not too sweet.
* When menu planning try not to have too many of the same protein – eg if you have chicken sandwiches then don’t do chicken pies or chicken kebabs.
* Puff pastry makes a great base for a variety of toppings – if you cut the pastry into squares then you won’t have any waste.
Suggested toppings include:
caramelised onion, goats cheese and chopped rosemary
pesto, prosciutto or ham and cherry tomato
caramelised onion, blue cheese and rosemary
caramelised onion, olive, thyme and anchovy
* While toasted bread – crostini, also makes a good base for toppings, just be careful they are not so brittle so as to snap in half at a bite. Mini poppadoms can be found at Indian spice shops and sometimes in supermarkets and are ideal as a base for toppings such as this one for hoisin pork, coriander and sprouts.
Wontons also make a great base for toppings such as this one with prawns, lime and chili.
* Sandwiches are quick to make and while not the most glamourous of offerings, they are popular and they do fill a gap.
Some suggested fillings are:
chicken and celery
chicken, pistachio and avocado
smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon
smoked salmon, cucumber and dill
* Balls such as meatballs are great as they can generally be cooked ahead of time and reheated in the oven prior to serving.
I really like these chicken, ginger and coriander balls but you can make regular beef meatballs with beef mince, breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, fresh chopped herbs and an egg to bind.
These prawn and coconut balls are absolutely gorgeous and a real party hit.
Another prawn favourite is these coconut prawns with mango and chilli salsa.
Smoked salmon is an obvious choice for finger food, it is luxurious and is able to be used in varied ways. Aside from the obvious smoked salmon blinis check out these Indonesian style fish cakes and corn fritters with goats cheese, smoked salmon and strawberries.
We all love party pies and once again they can be chilled and then heated to serve.
Beef, guinness and mushroom makes a delicious filling as does chicken and leek, these beer braised beef pies with kumara topping from Dawson’s catering are amazine.
You can make and freeze them ahead of time, mini muffin tins work well.
Shortcrust pastry is an ideal base with puff on the top.
Also quiche and little freeze well and are popular – these gruyere and leek tarts are delicious.
When making quiche the ratio of 1 egg to 100ml of cream is good to work on and then add other ingredients such as bacon, pesto, tomato, mushroom, to suit your taste.
Whatever you decide to make do ensure that you have time to enjoy your own party and often hiring some staff to do the “dirty work” will ensure that you can catch up with your guests as you should!
What are some of your favourite finger food ideas?