The champagne is on ice and there’s every chance soft drinks and beer are taking up the lion’s share of space in the bathtub. The only question left is, what do you feed the hoards?
This party season, take some of the pressure off. Here are 13 winning, do ahead, no fuss nibble ideas to ensure you spend more time with friends and family and less time ferrying things in and out of the oven.
1) Get skewered. Try a portable Caprese salad. Load up a tooth pick with a cherry tomato, a baby bocconcini and two basil leaves. Drizzle the platter with a little extra virgin olive oil and caramelised balsamic vinegar then sprinkle with sea salt.
2) For another twist on the salad-on-a-stick trick layer squares of cold watermelon, cubes of firm feta and two mint leaves.
3) Wrap it up. Nestle halved ripe figs and nuggets of blue cheese in radicchio leaves for a bite- size balance of plush, rich and crisp.
4) Stuff endive or baby cos leaves with ready picked crab meat, bound together with a little mayonnaise, a pinch of chilli flakes and a smattering of finely diced peeled green apple for crunch (this will also keep your gluten free / Paleo friends fed).
5) Lay out bowls of marinated olives (and another for the pips). Either purchase pre marinated or cosy some Kalamata olives in a bowl of olive oil with strips of orange zest, a smashed garlic clove and picked stems of rosemary.
6) Keep cool as a cucumber. Cut a telegraph cucumber into 1 cm coins and add a teaspoon of smoked trout rillettes to the top. To make the rillettes fork together skinned and boned hot smoked trout with a squeeze of lemon and crème fraiche until it holds together. Spoon onto the cucumber slices and garnish with fennel fronds or dill.
7) Be nutty. Buy some roasted almonds and sprinkle them with a little smoked paprika and sea salt before serving.
8) Cut rye bread into squares the size of a matchbook, spread thickly with beetroot dip and top with a small fold of smoked salmon.
9) Make chickpea bombs. Drain a tin of chickpeas and mix them with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp ground coriander and 1 tsp sea salt. Scatter them over a lined baking tray and bake for 35 minutes in a 200 C / 392 F oven until crispy. Keep in an airtight container until serving.
10) Bake a tray of a greens and goat cheese frittata and cut it into squares to serve (recipe here).
11) Brush pita bread with olive oil and zatar and bake in a low oven until crispy. Serve with bowls of hummus and babaganush.
12) Serve baby vegetables, like Dutch carrots, baby cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and trimmed snow peas with a bowl of your favourite dip. Buy a ready made dip, or make your own (it’s a lot easier than you think). Try this feed-anyone (Paleo, Vegan) Carrot & Sunflower Seed Hummus (recipe here).
13) Wrap slices of honeydew and rockmelon with pieces of prosciutto.
About Tori Haschka: Tori is a food writer and published cook book author. She’s the author of two books – 'Cut the Carbs!' & 'A Suitcase and a Spatula', the app ‘Poppyseed to Pumpkin’ and the blog http://eatori.com. She and her son Will can be found in the aisles of Harris Farm Manly at least three times a week.
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