Sunday, 29 December 2013

Party Food Recipes

So it's New Year's Eve, or Boxing Day, or just a bank holiday barbecue in the summer... and you have to provide food for 20 hungry family members. You need some simple tasty snack ideas. My favourite thing to snack on such an occasion is cheese straws. They're awesomely cheesy, and so easy to make.

Cheese Straws
(makes around 30)

450g cheddar cheese
1tsp salt
120g margarine/butter
250g flour

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Grate the cheese into a large bowl. Cream together with the butter.
  • Sift in the flour and salt. Mix well.
  • Knead the dough in the bowl until it softens and comes together. Don't be tempted to add any liquid, it will seem very dry at first but the cheese will soften.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it's around 1cm thick. Cut into long strips about 2cm wide, and place on the baking tray a few cm apart.
  • Bake for 10-15 mins until browned and crisp.

My other party idea is something I once served at a party as a waitress. They had bought canapes to serve from Waitrose, and 8 of these spirals were around £4 a pack. For much less than that you can make enough to serve a whole party of people! This does actually make rather a lot, so you may want to half quantities.

Cheese and Bacon Spirals
(makes 30-40)

Pack of puff pastry
3-4 rashers of bacon
200g cheddar cheese
A handful of snipped chives

  • Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until it measures around 25cm by 35cm. Cut in half lengthways so you have two long strips of pastry.
  • Sprinkle with cheese, leaving a border of
    around 1cm on each strip. Sprinkle the bacon and chives on top.
  • Roll up the strip lengthwise, you may need a second person to help with this. Use a little beaten egg to help seal the edge.
  • Cut the rolled up pastry into 1 inch spiral pieces, and place on the baking tray. Brush with the rest of the beaten egg and bake for 10-15mins until puffed up and browned.

You could use this same idea for any ingredients, maybe use brie with bacon and a little cranberry sauce. You can make sweet ones with chocolate, or butter and cinnamon. When it comes to making home-made party snacks, pastry really is your best friend. Make filo pastry parcels with leftover turkey and cranberry, use shortcrust for mince pies and mini fruit/treacle tarts. And the best thing is you really don't need to make your own pastry, they are all easily store-bought, and filo and puff pastry is very difficult and time-consuming to make so why bother anyway!

So impress your friends and family by making your own simple, tasty party food!

Emily Kate

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