The tree is ordered, the tinsel has been lavishly hung around the pad and most importantly, you’re blasting out “All I want for Christmas Is You” like it’s nobody’s business… the holidays are upon us! Given that it’s not called the party season for nothing, chances are there will be a number of impromptu get-togethers and spontaneous yuletide soirées over the coming weeks. Whether you’re a bonafide kitchen goddess or the idea of hosting a party makes you want to reach for that second (and third) glass of Shiraz, there’s nothing worse than being cooped up in the kitchen and missing out on all the fun. Luckily, thanks to the magical Pinterest pixies, I’ve found five easy and enticing party foods that will ensure you’re not chained to the stove while your guests enjoy morsel after tasty morsel!
An oldie but a goodie, a cheese board is safe bet for any get-together. Make sure you have a good selection of hard cheese such as manchego, parmesan and cheddar, soft cheeses like brie, goats cheese and stilton, add grapes, nuts, dried fruits (apricots and figs are good choices) and copious crackers. Easy!
As far as I’m concerned, wrap anything in bacon or proscuitto and it instantly becomes one of the most delicious things ever! Easy to make ahead of time, simple wrap each asparagus spear in a thin sliver of proscuitto and bake till crispy and delicious. A definite crowd-pleaser with minimal effort on your end.
Build your own Bruschetta
Speaking from personal experience, this is a brilliant dish to pull out for a group. It’s basically a bruschetta version of pick ‘n mix where party guests simply make up their own bites, which takes the pressure of assembly off you, the chef. Plus, there’s no need to worry about the bread going soggy under the tomatoes. Phew!
I really hate when party foods are overly stodgy, there’s nothing worse than being hit by a sudden food coma while everyone is still standing around mingling, which is why ceviche is a great make-ahead party dish. Take some sashimi grade fish (salmon and tuna work best), chop into cubes, mix with your selection of marinade and leave to cure for a few hours before the party. Just make sure there’s plenty of lime juice to cover all the fish, then feel free to add your favourite ingredients for flavour.
Ok, I admit these are probably going to be significantly more fiddly than a cheese board to prepare, but they’re so adorable I couldn’t resist! Plus, with all the time you’re saving with an easy-to-serve cheese board, you could probably spare a few minutes to melt some choccy to dip the marshmallows into. If (like me) you can’t resist a theme, the crushed candy cane makes for fab festive sprinkling!