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Party nibbles

December 18, 2009

Well, pre-Christmas/psuedo house warming drinks are done and dusted.  The rain stopped for an hour or more and the garage roof didn’t collapse further.  Going on the turnout and the food and drink consumption it’s probably fair to say that people enjoyed themselves.

All told our 50+ guests devoured 663 canapes.  663!  That would be exactly 100% of the number of canapes produced.

In case anyone is looking for some inspiration for their own party, and to capture our thoughts for future events, below are notes on what was served.  The intention was to take photos as things were finished but it all got just a little busy towards the end of the prep time.

As we’re in Cyprus some things that are readily available in the UK just aren’t available to buy here. Similarly some things are available but are expensive; smoked salmon, processed stuff such as pastry. The flip side is that other things are absurdly cheap in comparison; herbs and spices for example. Comments below about costs therefore relate to the prices paid, which may be significantly different to those in the UK.

Roquefort shortbread

From this recipe in the Times.  Half topped with walnut halves, half with cream cheese. Going on the comments of the guests it was one of the favourites. It was also the one for which we had the most recipe requests. The dough/pastry is tricky to work with but once it starts to behave it is fine to roll and handle. The shortbread was one of the cheapest things to produce.

Rare roast beef bruschetta with caramelised onions

These worked really well in the test batch but were a little disappointing on the day. That said, they were all eaten. Toasted slices of ciabatta topped with wholegrain mustard, slivers of rare beef and onions. The beef was (uninspiring, it’s about all we get here) lean steak which was seasoned, seared in a griddle pan, allowed to cool and then cut finely across the grain. The most expensive item in terms of ingredients.

Smoked turkey, tomato and pepper vol au vents

Store bought frozen vol au vents filled with finely chopped smoked turkey mixed with tomato and roasted pepper relish. These went down surprisingly well, so much so that we didn’t get a chance to try one. Easy to prepare, moderately expensive due to the cost of the imported vol au vent cases.

Miniature roasted potatoes with chive yoghurt dip

Easy as anything. Prepped the day before so they just needed throwing in the oven on the day. They were eaten at a furious rate; next time they’ll be twice, if not three times as many. Absurdly cheap and pretty effortless.

Honey mustard sausages

What’s not to love? They were as popular as the potatoes, particularly with the male guests. Cocktail sausages aren’t widely available here so chipolatas were used instead. Baked the day before, allowed to cool, cut on the diagonal into three or four pieces and then tossed back into their roasting tin. Re-cooked on the day and then glazed with a glaze of equal parts of honey and whole grain mustard.

Pastry olives

A suggestion from a professional caterer.  Whole pitted black olives rolled in puff pastry and dipped in cumin.  Baked until the pastry was golden.  Since there’s no indication what’s inside the pastry parcel folks needed to be told they contained olives. The most commonly made comment was that people didn’t like olives but that these were lovely.

Oven dried tomato & goat’s cheese bites

Squares of very thin puff pastry topped with oven dried tomatoes and goat’s cheese. Not worth the effort to dry the tomatoes, might as well have just use thinly sliced fresh cherry toms. The goat’s cheese didn’t melt as much as hoped so back to a regular cheese for those.

Smoked salmon bites

Smoked salmon mousse on thinly sliced brown bread, topped with gravlax. These went down a storm, as popular as the shortbread but for significantly less effort. They looked fantastic, were easy to prep and were mid-range price wise.

To finish, and to accompany cups of coffee, there was a batch of thin rocky-road type chocolate affair. Unfortunately it didn’t get to be eaten with the coffee ‘cos it didn’t make it out of the kitchen. The very same folks who claimed they couldn’t possibly eat another bite, and who were camped out in the kitchen, devoured the entire plateful. Next time it’ll need to be a double batch.

All told we had about 50 people through the house over a four hour period.  They are folks with healthy appetites :-) Most of the componants were made over a two day period (whilst sorting out essential finishing touches on the house) and then assembled on the day. Average cost per item worked out at about 11¢.

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One comment

  1. […] See the original post here: Party nibbles « Aradippou Tales […]



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