So my Disreputable Dad and his partner are planning a small wedding. Sam, our very own Mad Professor, was absolutely delighted – and pretty gobsmacked it has to be said – when his Grandad asked him to be his best man, and the Dude, along with his cousin Jackson, is going to be an usher. The Dude is ridiculously excited about wearing a suit. I’m slightly less excited about buying it. Still, they both need new school shoes so I’m killing two birds with one stone there, at least.
As it’s a small wedding, and they’re just having a drinks reception with a few close friends and family, I offered to make some canapés. We’re not talking about catering here, but just a few little bits and bobs to soak up the fizz. One thing I absolutely hate is using bloody paper plates. They’re ridiculous. Not only are they impossible to hold along with a drink, as they start to droop, but they look pretty poo as well, so we decided to just hand around one bite things that people don’t need plates for. Serving platters are equally horrible – I wanted ones that were nice looking AND eco-friendly, and eventually came across The Whole Leaf Co, who sell natural, compostable palm leaf platters - eminently better looking than those awful aluminium foil serving platters, and better for the environment too.
Now down to recipes. The thing about canapés is that they need to be compact in size, but HUGE in flavour. Your aim is to leave everyone wanting more after they’ve finished their little mouthful. I also bought some little bamboo spoons to serve little single mouthfuls on: I’m thinking teeny portions of crab salad, tossed in lime juice and decorated with a single coriander leaf and maybe some dessert ones – a little blob of chocolate mousse dotted with cream and topped with a tiny shaving of chocolate.
When thinking about canapés, you need something with a sturdy base. Here, I find that pastry is your friend. Whether you buy ready made pastry cases, or spend a little time cutting out little circles of puff pastry, brushing them with butter and baking them in a muffin tin (easy peasy), you’re left with a hardy vessel ready to be filled with all manner of things that can be made ahead of time: simple prawn cocktail, easy guacamole, maybe topped with a little bacon and sour cream, goat’s cheese with tomato salsa and basil… all these are easy and quick.
Another sturdy base is bruschetta – a slice of baguette or similar, brushed with olive oil, rubbed with garlic (if you like) and lightly toasted or griddled. These can be topped with the goat’s cheese mixture above, and also with tomato salad, proscuitto, broad bean hummus (or indeed regular hummus… all sorts of things.
I’m not discounting the more ‘ordinary’ party foods either. Nothing beats a sausage roll (or seven) and I think it was Nigella who said that the cocktail sausage was the ultimate party food, and I agree. I’m also toying with paté on tiny crackers, mini cheese and onion scones and maybe some bite sized crab cakes, served with sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
Oh and I’m making big towers of fairy cakes. What? I love a fairy cake.
Still a while to go before I have to decide. What’s your favourite party food?
Oh and PS, I’m off to Miami tomorrow with the lovely chaps at Royal Caribbean to hop on one of their fabulous cruise ships for a cruise around the Caribbean. So I’ll see you in a week. Play nice.