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Posts Tagged ‘Party Food’

Coronation Chicken

This is great for when you’re asked to bring a dish to a garden or other party. It feeds lots of people and is easy to transport and serve cold when you get there. Coronation Chicken might seem a bit old fashioned but watch it disappear – a favourite of adults and kids alike and well worth a bit of effort earlier in the day. Only perfectly ripe mangoes will do!

Wine Suggestion: There are a few options to match with this dish but our favourites are a good, but fruity Beaujolais, slightly chilled; Domaine Rochette’s Brouilly comes to mind. Alternately we also like a good, youthful Viognier and we’ve been enjoying Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier from the Northern Rhone where the exuberant fruit is balanced with texture and a fresh joie-de-vivre.

Coronation Chicken with Mango & Roasted Cashews – serves 8-10

  • 1.3kg chicken breasts
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock (home-made preferably for this dish)
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 175g celery, chopped
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 125ml natural yoghurt
  • 125ml mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 150g roasted cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and simmer gently in the hot stock for 5-7 minutes, depending on how big they are. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow the chicken to cool in the liquid. When cooled, remove with a slotted spoon and cut the chicken into small dice.

Mix the chicken with the lemon juice in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add the mango, celery and scallions.

Whisk the yoghurt and mayonnaise together.

Toast the cumin seeds in a hot frying pan for a few seconds, add the curry powder and cook for another couple of seconds. Grind, cool and add to the yoghurt and mayonnaise. Pour the sauce over the other ingredients and toss gently. Taste and season if necessary.

Just before serving, add the roasted cashew nuts, scatter with coriander and serve.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)

 

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Spanakopita

The classic spinach & feta combination never gets tired. These savoury Greek pastries are delicious and very easy to make. We worked out a production line (thanks Tricia & Orla) and had them assembled in no time! Great as a starter or snack with drinks. Perfect entertaining food.

Wine Suggestion: If you can find an Assyrtiko,  a crisp and delicious Greek white, then you’ve got a great match. Unfortunately it can be hard to find good Greek wines so stick to the Mediterranean and search for a Fiano or Greco di Tufo from Italy. Failing this we’ve had crisp Touraine Sauvignon Blancs with this as well to great effect.

Spanakopita (Spinch, mint & feta pastries) – makes 18-20

  • 500g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 100g Greek feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Greek kefalotiri cheese or Parmesan
  • a pinch of finely grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 250-275g pack of filo pastry (about 6 sheets)
  • 100g butter, melted

Wash and dry the spinach (remove the stalks if they look tough). Finely shred the leaves.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook gently until soft but not browned. Gradually add the spinach, a handful at a time, until it has all wilted. Tip into a colander and drain, pressing out the liquid with a wooden spoon, then return to the pan with the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Leave to cool.

Crumble the feta into a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork – you can leave it a bit chunky. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan, the spinach mixture, nutmeg, mint and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Unroll the sheets of filo and cut the stack lengthways into strips about 7.5cm wide. Brush the top layer with melted butter. Put a heaped teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of one strip, at the end closest to you, and fold one bottom corner of the pastry diagonally over the filling, so that the corner touches the opposite side to make a triangle. Then fold over the filled triangular corner, and keep folding it along the whole strip in a triangular parcel. Repeat to make all the spanakopita.

Brush the undersides of each parcel with more butter and place on a lightly buttered baking tray. Brush the tops with butter and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

These are best served straight from the oven while the pastry is still crispy but they are also good at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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We love Tom Kerridge’s food but find his recipes can require a lot of work. Not so with these sticky drumsticks but you will need to find some malt extract to go in the marinade. We got ours in a good deli but health food shops should also stock it. We’re confident you’ll like the drumsticks enough to make them again and use it up.

Beer Suggestion: to complement the malt extract it makes sense to try a malty beer and we suggest searching out one of the many craft beers in your area. Our pick this time was the Five Lamps Dublin Lager which is a pilsner style but with a malty kick.

Sticky drumsticks – serves 4

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly in a dry frying pan
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced (seeds left in)

For the marinade: 

  • 160g runny honey
  • 160ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 120g malt extract

Pour the honey for the marinade into a small stainless steal pan and warm on a medium-high heat. Continue to cook until it starts to turn a deep shade of amber (easier to spot if you have a pot with a light coloured interior), then pour in the soy sauce and chicken stock to stop it cooking further. Bring the mixture to the boil and whisk in the malt extract. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Put the drumsticks in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Mix in the garlic and ginger, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours at least or overnight if you can.

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.

Put the drumsticks in a roasting tin with their marinade. Cook for 45-50 minutes, basting a few times, until the chicken is cooked through and the meat comes off the bone easily. The drumsticks should be glossy and sticky.

Remove the tray from the oven and immediately drizzle with the sesame oil and toss in the sesame seeds. Throw in the scallions and the chilli. Roll the drumsticks around in the dish to make sure they are evenly coated.

Serve hot or cold.

(Original recipe from Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes, Absolute Press, 2014.)

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These looked so pretty! The flavours really compliment each other and the ones to the right of the picture have no chorizo and still tasted fab!

Prawn, chorizo & tomato kebabs – makes 12

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme broken into small pieces
  • 12 raw, peeled tiger prawns
  • 12 slices from a whole chorizo sausage
  • 12 basil leaves, cut in half

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the tomatoes cut-side up on a baking tray, top with a thin lice of garlic, a piece of thyme, a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt on each. Cook for 30 minutes.

Fry the chorizo and prawns in a little oil in two separate pans, keeping everything warm. Push a prawn, a piece of basil, a piece of chorizo, some more basil and a tomato half on to cocktail sticks or little skewers.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Wine Suggestion: We like to serve sparkling wine with canapés – especially at this time of year. Try a dry sparkling rosé for an occasion or a still rosé from Bordeaux or Provence which will give a bit of texture from the tannins as well as a savoury dryness.


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These are the prawns we served as a canapé at Jules’ birthday dinner yesterday. Really simple to throw together and tasty too – the mint makes a big impact.

Prawns with mint & chilli yogurt 

Mix 4 tbsp of natural yogurt with 1 small deseeded red chilli and 8 leaves fresh mint, both finely chopped, and some seasoning. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan, add 12 large raw peeled prawns (leave the tails on if you’re peeling yourself), and fry for a minute each side until they have turned pink and cooked through. Put teaspoonfuls of the yogurt on 12 baby gem lettuce leaves, top each with a hot prawn and a couple of tiny mint leaves. Serve hot.

Wine Suggestion: Something pink and bubbly! We had a Coates & Seely sparkling Rosé from Hampshire in Southern England. This producer used traditional French winemaking techniques and traditional Champagne grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Very classy looking bottle too. Available from Mitchell & Son for €42.95.

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This is our classic party dish – so popular that we have to fight to get a taste when we serve it in a buffet! We’ve just made it this weekend for our friends Nicola and Dave’s housewarming. Just to make sure we got some ourselves we made a little extra for the next day. So for all our friends that have asked … here’s the recipe 🙂

Simple Baked Lasagne – serves 6 but easily doubled (which can easily serve 20 or more strangely enough …)

  • 4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of whole, fresh herbs (use your own mix of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 400g shin of beef, or skirt, coarsely minced
  • 200g pork belly, skin removed & coarsely minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 dried red chilli, also bashed
  • 400g dried, ready to cook lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella

For the white sauce:

  • 1 x 250ml tubs of crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
  • a little milk

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

If you are making a double quantity you may want to cook the meat sauce in two quantities as it will be easier to manage unless you have a very large casserole pot. You can also make the meat sauce in advance which makes entertaining easy –  a simple assembly and cook on the night!

In a large casserole pan slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and the cinnamon until golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once mixed together add the beef and pork and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and then bring to the boil. Wet some grease-proof paper and place it on top of the pan and then place a lid on top of this as well to complete the seal. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

While this is cooking rub the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce. When you remove the sauce check that the squash is cooked and slightly caramelising; if not leave in oven until done.

When sauce is done season and put to one side. Mix together crème fraîche, anchovies, a handful of parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add enough milk while mixing until the sauce becomes loose and smooth. Don’t make it too runny!

Turn oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. To assemble lasagne rub a large dish, or deep tray with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom (and drape over the sides too if you are using fresh lasagne). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and then top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Make a complete layer with the butternut, topping it again with lasagne sheets. Repeat the meat, white sauce and parmesan layers. Finish with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook for 30-35 minutes and until golden. Watch the hordes descend.

[Inspired by Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s dinners, Penguin 2006]

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Our friends are just home from their honeymoon in Greece and as we are still new-fangled with Vefa’s Kitchen so we invited them over for a Greek Feast on Saturday night.

These vine leaves were a labour of love (they took me hours) but were well worth it and our friends reckoned they were better than any they had in Greece – though maybe they were just being nice. Perfect party food and can be made well in advance.

Dolmadakia gialantzi (Rice-stuffed Vine Leaves) – Serves lots of people!

  • Rinse 500g vine leaves and trim off the stems.
  • Add the leaves, a few at a time, to a pan of boiling water and blanch briefly, then drain, and leave to cool.
  • Cover the bottom of a large, wide, heavy pan with some of the leaves.
  • Put 175g finely chopped scallions and 2 large chopped onions into a colander, sprinkle with a little salt, and rub with your fingers. Rinse and drain, then squeeze out as much water as possible.
  • Combine 500g medium-grain rice (we used basmati), the onions, 25g chopped parsley, 15g chopped dill, 225ml olive oil, 4 tablespoons pine nuts and 4 tablespoons currants in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay a leaf out flat, shiny side down. Put about 1 tablespoon of the mixture at the stem end in the middle, fold the sides over the filling, and loosely roll up into a parcel.
  • Arrange the stuffed leaves in the lined pan, seam side down – you will have more than one layer.
  • Pour over 225ml olive oil, 600ml boiling water, and 5 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • Invert a heavy plate on top of the parcels to stop them from opening while cooking.
  • Cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed (the recipe suggests 35-45 minutes but ours took much longer than this!).
  • Remove from the heat, put a cotton cloth between the pan and the lid to absorb the steam, and allow to cool.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve with Tzatziki or plain yoghurt.

Julie

These tasted great the day after too – best vine leaves ever! – Jono 🙂

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