I always love to host a lovely get together with loads of delicious food, a glass of good champagne, the cutest table decoration and most importantly with endless chats and laughs. For most people, the preparation part of a get together is the worst. That is where the catering companies step in and make sure that the food and drinks are ready and waiting when the guests arrive. I myself find the preparation part to be almost the best part of it all!
I love to come up with new simple but delicious little treats, search through internet recipes for inspiration, browse through table decoration images and then look through all the plates, cutting boards, glasses, vases, napkins and candlesticks I have at home to create a beautiful background for my dishes, and last but not least, I simply love to see all my ideas come together in the end, forming a perfect combination of deliciously healthy food and cute decorations. The final hour of preparations tends to be stressful but seeing my guests’ faces light up when they walk into our dining room makes it all more than worth it. Yes, as you may have figured, I would LOVE to have my own catering company and later a restaurant/cafe someday!Now here are some ideas that you can easily recreate yourself (but if not, you can always hire me 😉 ):
- Place a chopping board on the table and turn it into a cheese & snacks plate.
I placed some homegrown grapes, different cheeses & walnuts, grissini (you can even make your own if you have time by following a recipe from this post), roasted chickpeas & raisins (which really make for a great combination) and pretzels on it and they made for a great snack to nibble on even after we were all full from the canapes and salads.
2. Make a fun mix of canapes.
Even if you are the least skillful person in the kitchen, you probably made yourself a sandwich at least once in your life. So you have your basics covered. Now just think outside the box a little, try to overcome the basic ham & cheese combination. Overcome the mayonnaise and pickled cucumbers you were planning on adding to make it a bit more special too. Think of what you really love to eat and try to figure out if some of those things might surprisingly go really well together. Trust me, there are countless flavor combinations you can come up with, but just to help you a little, here are the four I made:
- horseradish, sour cream, smoked salmon and thyme,
- ricotta, walnuts and honey,
- salmon pâté and dried figs,
- ricotta, hard boiled eggs and sweet paprika.
3. Play with flavors and create delicious and colorful salads.
Just like with the canapes, you can create all sorts of salads just by thinking outside the box a little:
- Beetroot salad. I got the idea for the salad below from a friend of mine – it’s such a simple dish but a combination that at first you might think it just can’t work. But trust me, it works more than well! Cook and peel two beetroots (or simply buy them precooked – not the pickled ones, though), chop them into small cubes, top with mint and white cheese and season slightly with salt, olive oil and vinegar.
- Carrot salad. Another great combination is a carrot, dried figs and white cheese salad. For this one, simply peel the carrots, thinly slice them with a vegetable peeler and place them in ice cold water for 15 minutes. Once they have softened, tap them dry, place on a plate, top with chopped dried figs and white cheese and season with a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt. As simple as that!
4. Dip, dip, dip.
Create a simple dip just by mixing roasted red pepper, cream cheese and sour cream. Instead of placing it in a large bowl, try placing into smaller cups which you then fill with carrot and cucumber strips. This way each guest can hold a cup in their hands and slowly nibble on the veggies. It’s also a great way to avoid the problem of all guests dipping their food (and fingers) in the same bowl. You can do the same with any kind of dip and you can also replace the carrots and cucumbers with other vegetables or crackers.
5. Life is short, eat dessert first. Or last. Just make sure you eat it.
For most people, there is no meal without dessert. Plus, if you decide to host a get together for which you would be preparing all of the above, it’s probably a special occasion anyway, right? And special occasions and desserts go together like eggs and bacon. Or cookies and milk. Or peanut butter and jelly. Or.. OK, you get the point. Decide on what you want to prepare depending on the time you have and your skills and then scroll through my dessert tab to find a perfect dessert to finish your party with a bang. And don’t forget to serve it with some sweet wine or champagne! Cheers!