Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hot versus cold

I have always gone to kids parties that have served sandwiches, cocktail sausages, biscuits, weak cordial (play gym party anyone?) for the birthday tea & always brought my boys home in various levels of sugar induced hyper activity.
I now believe that a mainly sugar free party is the way forward to stop tears & tantrums at the end of the party. 

 Individual packed lunches are quite a cool idea. Disposable bento boxes are compartmentalised so you can provide different items without separate dishes.

Ideas for cold food boxes

*Chicken satay skewers                 

*Pea & Ham rice                      
*Noodle salad                               
*Samosa / Falafel / Spring roll
*Tuna & sweetcorn pasta             

*Smoked salmon blinis              
*Dips & crudites                        
*Cheese & crackers                      

*Fruit Kebabs                           
*Mini doughnuts
*Home made Jelly oranges        
*Dried fruit

More ideas in this book.


Tray baked food can be pre cooked & frozen weeks in advance, defrosted & heated just before the party. Easy accompaniments are corn on the cob (pre cook & cover with hot water to reheat), crusty bread & jacket potatoes (wrapped in foil to keep them warm till needed).

Ideas for Hot food 

*Pasta bake                                     

*Shepherds pie                      
*Pulled pork
*Chicken wings / fried chicken        
*Home made soup                  
*Nachos / Quesadillas
*Estofado (see recipe)                      
*Chicken milanese                  
*Arancini (risotto balls)
*Cheese chilli wedges              
*Meatballs / burgers                         
*Homemade pizzas                  
*Pie / Quiche

Recipe for Estofado (Spanish beef stew topped with crispy potatoes)
Serves 4

  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 500g stewing beef
  • 250g carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 tomatoes skinned and chopped
  • 1 small tin of peas or a handful of fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of flour
  • 500g of potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 wineglass of white wine
  • 250ml of beef stock
  • 150ml of water
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • saffron 

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, flameproof cooking pot. Put the meat in the hot oil & brown.
In a small frying pan heat another 2 tbsp oil, add the onion & garlic, fry for about 5 minutes. Add the flour & paprika, fry for 5 minutes being careful not to burn this mix.
Add the onion mix to the meat pot, add the white wine, stock & water & bring to the boil. Cook this for about an hour & a half.
Add the carrots, chopped tomatoes & a little saffron.

When stew is ready keep on a low heat while you cook the potatoes.
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then drain.
Using the rest of the oil fry the chunks of potato until crispy, keep stiring the pan to prevent burning.
To serve:- put the crispy potatoes on top of the thickened stew & serve with yoghurt.

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