Christmas Party Food!
Words: Daniel Nowland
For me, like many others, the highlight of Christmas and New Year is largely about the food and drink (and of course seeing ALL the family!?)Christmas dinner is of course the main event, but I’ve decided to talk about the socialising and party food that builds up to Christmas and fills that strange void between Christmas and New Year.
Whether you have two friends over for the evening, or twenty friends over, it is always great to lay on some tasty treats. A glass of wine or two always feels more special when it’s paired with food, and in some countries such as Spain and Italy, you would probably be considered an alcoholic if you didn’t have something edible on the side!
Whenever I hear the word ‘canapés’, I instantly think of small beige vol-au-vents, which when I worked at a pub in my teenage years we used to fill with some tinned creamed mushrooms, top with curly parsley and consider the job done. In my business we have to work harder now to please our clients and make sure that our canapes are colourful and tasty. They should be a feast for your eyes as much as your mouth, but do not need to be difficult or too fiddly.
I would love to share with you some of my favourite canapé ideas, some of which feature as part of the deli’s catering menu, and some are just my favourite home go-to’s.
- Use leftover stale bread as the base for various toppings. Good sourdough, lightly toasted and dried, can be delicious when topped with things such as hummus, roasted vegetables and chilli jam, or a small slice of a really good cheese and a little chutney or pickled vegetable.
- Bring back your favourite childhood food in a more classy format! I personally love a good cheese and pineapple stick, but I use fresh crunchy pineapple, and good strong Westcombe cheddar. The combination is a winner. Other great combos include a chunky fish finger portion topped with fresh tartare sauce, or quality meatballs with a spicy tomato sauce to dip them in.
- Source some quality cured meats and cheeses and allow guests to tuck in. Generally, these foods go really well with wines, as the fat from the cheese or cured meat coats your mouth and changes the experience of the wine. Plus, the salty flavours go so well with alcohol.
- Cured meats are an absolute favourite as they are, but have you ever tried them crispy? I like to lay a layer of salami on a baking tray, bake on a low heat for 20 min or so, and then serve it crispy with whipped ricotta on top of crostini’s.
- Lastly, if you want to feed friends and soak up some booze while not spending too much, who doesn’t love a mountain of crispy roast potatoes? Stick with me here! Cooking mini roast potatoes is great for a drinks party. You can prep them in the day and finish them in the oven as guests arrive. Sprinkle with salt flakes, lemon juice and fresh herbs, and swap out your gravy for thick garlic mayonnaise! It’s a winner.
The Southsea Deli, 96 Elm Grove, Southsea, PO5 1LN
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