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Newsletter #19 - December 2003
Well, another year has almost come to an end and this will be the last newsletter for 2003. In fact, I'll be taking a break to re-charge my batteries, so the next newsletter won't be sent out until 1st February. But never fear, I think there's enough in this months newsletter to keep you going!
This year has been yet another fulfilling year for me and for the site and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during 2003 and hopefully, your continued support for 2004. Seasons Greetings and very best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year
Florence Sandeman, Editor
What is green and goes to a summer camp?
A Brussels' scout
(but he's always back in time for Christmas)
It's Party Time!
For many of us, December sees the beginning of the party season when friends and family get together in intimate and large gatherings. If you can afford to spend a few hours the day before for shopping and preparation, you can throw a party to rival any paid-for caterer.
The thought of throwing a party may be daunting, but entertaining 20 people can sometimes be easier than giving a dinner party for 6 people. For a start, there some pretty good pre-prepared party foods (wash my mouth out with soap!) which just require unpacking and shoving into the oven….and yes, I have done it myself on occasion. These can however be quite expensive. For those of us on a budget, the good news is that there are lots of finger foods and buffet dishes which can be easily prepared at home at a fraction of the cost.
Keep the foods light, bite-sized (nothing worse than standing around with a drink in one hand and food in the other which takes more than a couple of bites to finish) and very importantly, varied – fish, poultry, meat, vegetarian.
And don’t forget to provide paper napkins if serving anything other than crisps/nuts /olives. Doesn’t have to be fancy…. even squares of kitchen roll will do depending on how formal the do is.
Before deciding on having a party, there are a couple of things you must do to ensure success. The first is mentioned above: preparation. You don’t want to be in the kitchen half the evening, so think of food which can be
prepared in advance and only require a minimum amount of last minute preparation. The second is the type of party and menu. This will obviously depend on the number of guests, space available, hot or cold, laid out buffet or finger food which is circulated on trays. Personally, I like a combination which has worked very well for me in the past. Here's an example:
Hot and cold finger food offered to guests as they arrive which can range from simple hot cocktail sausages on sticks to cold canapés or goujons or crudités with dips. The latter are great as they can be set out before your guests arrive. Even if it’s just crisps, nuts and olives.
Oh, a word about serving. It doesn’t matter whether your guests will be mainly in one room or floating between rooms, have “eating points” in various places around the room(s) preferably away from doorways. It keeps people circulating and avoids one area getting clogged up with folk trying to get to the eats.
Then comes the main buffet. The reason I like doing it this way is because then I’m not faced with a whole evening of traipsing back and forth to the kitchen to re-load the trays. I know most parties involve people arriving at various times
throughout the evening, but just the words “there’ll be a hot buffet being served at 9pm ” will encourage many of your guests arrive relatively promptly.
Choose the dishes carefully and select hot and cold to make your life easier. Hot can include chicken drumsticks (but do make them a little more exciting – easily done with a good marinade), pasta dishes (keep the pasta short – shells, spirals etc so it can be eaten with just a fork), chilli, Risottos or Pilavs.
Accompaniments should be included and, of course, set out on the main buffet table at the same time but once again, bear in mind that they will probably be eaten one handed, so stay away from things like baked potatoes.
It's also a good idea (if space permits) to have the desserts and/or cheese laid out at the same time...preferably at the other end of the table. You can easily separate them by putting the crockery, cutlery and napkins between the savoury and sweet. Voila!
What's New This month
Cooking by Country
Click the picture to find out about Cambodian culinary culture and history, present day cooking plus lots of recipes
Cambodian cuisine could be described as Thai without the heat although this would bely its true definition. It takes some of the best qualities from Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines and blends them into a unique and delicious culinary experience
The Cambodian Speciality Dish AMOK
The Cambodian Speciality Ingredient TAMARIND
Ingredient of the month
Marsala, Port & Sherry
Click the picture to find out all about Marsala, Port and Sherry plus recipes
This month we've got a triple whammy.
Marsala, Port and Sherry are all examples of fortified wines. All three are particularly popular at Christmas, especially being given as gifts but not only are they good to drink (served as aperitifs or dessert wines depending on the type) but they have also long been used in cooking and are excellent in both savoury and sweet recipes bring a rich flavour to many dishes.
Visit our Party Food and Cocktails page for lots of party food and drink ideas. Includes recipes for punches, cocktails and hot and cold finger foods.
Visit our Christmas page for lots of seasonal recipes plus recipes for home-made gifts for friends and family.
Choose from traditional recipes served at New year from around the world.... and learn how to say "Happy New Year" in that country's language.
New and Featured Recipes V = Vegetarian
PARTY FOOD and DRINK
DESSERTS, CONFECTIONERY CAKES AND BAKES
SOUPS AND STARTERS
Amok (2 recipes Fish and Chicken)
Whether you're looking for everyday, exotic or unusual food and drink, visit
Food shopping has never been easier!
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