Heading into the warmer summer months we find ourselves entertaining more often. As a chef and caterer, I often get asked about how much finger food or nibbles people should make for their guests.
It’s a balancing act between having enough so people aren’t left hungry and unsatisfied and having too much and trying to convince your guests to take some home at the end of the night.
So, when organising a party or entertaining friends, here are a few important things to consider:
• Time of year: During the warmer months people tend to eat less and lighter.
• Time of day: Consider when your guests ate their last full meal. Guests arriving straight from work or around obvious meal times like lunch or dinner will eat more.
• Location: A crowded space will make serving and moving around difficult so this will reduce the quantity of food consumed.
• Guests: Friends and family will tend to feel more relaxed and therefore will eat more. Formal occasions are more reserved so people will consume less.
• Don’t try to do everything: Even as a chef, I don’t try to make everything. It’s a balance of good-quality bought items and homemade items. You want to have a fun and enjoyable time too!
Here are some really simple ideas for finger food. All are easy to put together and great for the warmer months ahead.
Prosciutto and melon – Super easy and so refreshing – scoop rock melon with a melon baller or cut into cubes and thread onto skewers with prosciutto. Add some baby tomatoes or bocconcini for a simple variation.
Basil and tomato – Thread baby tomatoes and basil leaves onto skewers. For a spicy meat-eaters version add a thin slice of spicy salami.
Frittata – Bake a frittata in a tray in the oven and cut into fingers or bite-size pieces. Flavours for summer include; zucchini and parmesan, tomato and feta, asparagus and thyme. Serve warm or cold.
Oysters – Chilled oysters over ice with simple salsa toppings. Try flavours like; tomato and red onion, mango and mint, watermelon and lime.
Dips, olives and antipasto – Go to a great deli (Castle Towers has one of the best – and one of my favourites!) and pick out a selection of items. Olives, marinated vegetables, dips and crackers are always a winner.