The Experts

Christmas party ideas # 1 – the cocktail party

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As I have said in the past, the key to any entertaining is the organisation.

Sit down and write lists!

For example:
  1. What to eat. Then make shopping lists and ‘to do’ lists. Pick food that can be mostly prepared the days before and put together on the night.
  2. What to drink. I strongly suggest you serve cocktails, not just champagne, wine and beer. Do have lots of sparkling water available.
  3. Do you need a waiter to help serve the drinks and food?
  4. Flowers
  5. Music
  6. What needs to be done around the house?
  7. What you are going to wear?
  8. Oh yes, and a note to the neighbour about potential noise.

Here are a few suggestions for a cocktail party (some of my personal favourites).

Sir Royale (cocktail)

15mL of crème de cassis then top with sparkling wine

Chicken herb and mayonnaise sandwiches (makes 48 sandwiches)

You’ll need:

  • 1 loaf white or wholemeal bread
  • ½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup homemade mayonnaise
  • Pinch sea salt and pepper
  • 2 roasted chickens (use BBQ if you have to)
  • ½ cup softened butter

Then you:

  1. Remove all the chicken and skin from the bones and chop up finely. (I know the skin is a bit naughty but it’s so delicious and has no additives or preservatives).
  2. Add the mayo, parsley, salt and pepper and mix all together. The mix can be made the day before.
  3. Butter the bread and place in the mixture. You should get around 12 rounds from the loaf of bread.
  4. Cut each sandwich into four, either triangles or little oblong sandwiches.
  5. They can be made an hour or two before serving, cover with a damp tea towel.

Smoked salmon tartlets (makes 48 tartlets)

You’ll need:

  • 48 mini tart cases, can be purchased at supermarkets and delis
  • 350g smoked salmon
  • 1 large ripe but firm avocado
  • 600mL cream, whipped
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish cream mixed into the whipped cream
  • Bunch of dill
  • Cracked pepper

Then you:

  1. In each tart case, place some smoked salmon, top with a slice of avocado.
  2. Then add a small teaspoon of the horseradish cream, a sprig of the dill and some cracked pepper on top.

Prawns with a honey hollandaise

You’ll need:

  • 48 prawns, nice big ones then peeled and deveined
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Then you:

  1. Place the egg yolks in a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water.
  2. Whisk the yolks for two minutes.
  3. Add the butter and the honey whisking all the time until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the salt and pepper, vinegar and lemon juice and stir for further two minutes.
  5. Preferably serve immediately. It is possible to store in a plastic container in the fridge for a few days, sit on bench and bring to room temperature before using.

Filo vegetable parcels

You’ll need:

  • 1 packet of filo pastry
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Bunch of beetroot
  • 2 carrots
  • 375g block of cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper
Then you:
  1. Grate the carrot and the beetroot and toss together in a wok or large saucepan till combined.
  2. Brush a sheet of filo pastry with butter and place another on top.
  3. Cut the pastry into six strips with the pastry in ‘landscape’.
  4. At the bottom of each, place some vegetable mixture and a small teaspoon of the cream cheese. Roll into an oblong parcel. Do this process one sheet at a time as the pastry dries out quickly. While working, cover remaining pastry with a damp tea towel.
  5. Brush the tops with melted butter and bake for about 15 mins in an 180C oven, or till golden.

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Published: Friday, November 26, 2010

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