Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Want-to-Make Wednesday - More Party Food

So yesterday I managed to track down the tried and tested party nibble recipes, but in so doing, I spotted others that I'm very tempted to try out, substituting them for the ones I've used before if I'm feeling adventurous and time allows.  And as it suits me to have all the recipes easy to find, here goes with another set of party food recipes.

In place of Gilbert White's Very Nice Mulled wine, I rather like the sound of...

Warm Cider Punch

Serves 4

Pour 100ml or Southern Comfort or bourbon into a jug.  Add 4 crushed juniper berries, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 cored and sliced rosy apple and a 660ml bottle of medium sweet cider.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes to warm through.  Take out the cinnamon sticks and place one in each of four glass mugs.  Pour the punch into the mugs, dividing the fruit evenly.

Instead of 'Sticky Sausages' I may try...

Pork and Cranberry Patties

Makes about 30
5 min prep
10 min cooking

Place 500g lean minced pork in a bowl, together with 2 tbsp ready-made cranberry sauce and a handful each of chopped sage and parsley.  Season and mix well before covering and chilling for 2 hours.  Shape into walnut-sized balls.  To serve, fry in a little olive oil for about 4 minutes, till cooked through and lightly golden, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.  Drain on kitchen paper and arrange on a serving plate with a small bowl of cranberry sauce for dipping.

These can be cooked at the start of the evening and kept warm in a low oven, covered in foil, to serve throughout the party.

Instead of 'Delia's Posh Sausage Rolls' I may make mini-versions of my Mum's

Beef Empanadas

I don't actually have a recipe for this but I'm pretty sure this is about right!
(It was just about, but my Mum has now phoned me and told me the things I left out, so this is better now)

1 packet ready-rolled puff pastry
250 g lean minced beef
half a green pepper, chopped finely
a small handful of green olives, roughly chopped
a small handful of sultanas
1 onion, finely chopped
olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika (or less, to taste - I used 'hot' paprika and only used half a teaspoon)
1 tsp sugar
hard-boiled egg, chopped
beaten egg to seal and glaze

Makes about 30

Fry the onion and green pepper in the oil till soft, then add the meat and brown.  Add the cumin  and paprika and cook for a minute or so.  Add sugar and season to taste.  Add the chopped egg, sultanas and olives and gently mix to combine.  Cut 3 inch/7.5cm circles from the pastry and brush half of the edge with egg.  Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each circle, then fold in half and seal, using either a fork or fingers to crimp the edges.  Brush with egg and cook at Mark 4/180 degrees C/170 degrees Fan Oven till golden.  Serve hot at a party, but also delicious cold.


Middle Eastern Lamb Parcels

Makes 30
Prep 25 mins , plus 30 mins cooling
Cook 50 mins

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 level tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
250g minced lamb
450g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
1 egg beaten
handful of freshly chopped mint
3 level tsp mustard seeds

Preheat oven to Mark 4/180 degrees C/170 degrees Fan Oven.

Heat oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic till soft. Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin and fry for a few minutes.  Add the lamb and fry for 10 minutes, stirring to combine.

Take the mixture off the heat and put in a sieve over a bowl.  Leave to drain for half an hour.

Unroll the pastry and cut out 30 circles using a 3 inch/7.5cm cutter.  Brush one side of each circle with egg, then place a small amount of the lamb mix in the middle, sprinkling with a little mint.  Fold in half.  Press lightly around the edge with a fork to seal, brush with egg and sprinkle with mustard seeds.  Bake for 30 minutes till golden.

{NB I will be making some veggie nibbles too - it's looking like a bit of a meat feast from Blogland, I know!}

As an alternative to mince pies, I may make miniature...

Prune and Armagnac Tarts

This is a recipe I used to make a lot for a pub I made puddings for, but as a large tart.  Mr U-t-B has recently been bemoaning the fact that he never gets a scraping of crème patissière and an alcohol soused prune or two on a Friday, so I think it would make his day if I made these for the party.

 For the crème patissière 
600ml/1 pint milk
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
5 egg yolks
150g/5oz caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp Armagnac, brandy or rum

For the tarts
200g shortcrust pastry
24 ready-to-eat prunes soaked in 2 tbsp Armagnac, brandy or rum
icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/200 degrees C/190 degrees Fan oven.  For the crème patissière put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm for 10 minutes to let the vanilla flavour infuse.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and a pinch of salt till the mixture has a smooth consistency.  Stir in the cornflour and flour. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and scrape out the seeds, adding them to the milk.  Pour the warm milk onto the egg mixture, stirring continuously.  Return the mixture to the pan and bring to boiling point, stirring all the time.  Lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring well - mixture will be fairly thick.  remove from the heat and add the Armagnac, brandy or rum.  Strain and cover with a layer of cling film, then leave to cool, before chilling.

Use a mini-muffin tin or a patty tin to make mini tart cases with the pastry.  The cases will need to be cooked first with a greaseproof lining and baking beans for about 10 minutes, then for a further 5 minutes or so without the lining and beans, till cooked through.  Cool  
for a few minutes in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Assemble the tarts not too long before serving, but far enough in advance to allow them to be chilled for a couple of hours.  Spoon a little crème patissière into the pastry case, then top with a soaked prune.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Grown-up prunes and custard!


  1. Yummy...the cider punch sounds very nice because I love Southern Comfort and I love cider:) I have a Christmas eve thing to go to for family and I think those pork patties might do the trick. We always go overboard and there is always too much food. So this year we have been told to bring finger foods only....and not too spicey. In other words my samosa tarts are out:(

  2. Look Alix, all this delicious food is making me hungry and I'm SO trying to lose a bit of weight (I know, it's a silly time of the year to be trying to shake off those few extra pounds, eh?!).

    I bet your parties are popular.....!


  3. Oh no! my tummy is rumbling....all sounds so delicious.I was looking through my recipe books last night for Christmas goodies.
    have fun
    lolve jooles

  4. Oh this is too all sounds too yummy!
    I'm ironing my best frock and I'll be with you at 8

  5. Wonderfully yummy and so tempting! Just tasty morsels!
    Love Linda