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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Latest Queries

  • Finger Foods for Party/Hen Party

    I am really stuck for ideas for my upcoming 50th birthday party in May. I want something that can be done ahead with the minimum of fuss just prior to serving. Any yummy ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Jane 

    I'm organizing a Hen party for my best friend. Unfortunately we do not have a lot of money for snacks during the evening. Do you have some advise about some nice and tasty, but not expensive, snacks we could make for the night? Thank you! Lieke

    From the nigella team:

    To reduce the stress of catering for large numbers we suggest that you go for just a few dishes but in abundant quantity and supplement them with some dips and chips or crudites scattered around the room. For a larger party you will probably need 5-6 finger food ideas and for a smaller party 3-4. Hot foods are the most time-consuming but hot sausages and chicken wings can both be cooked easily in the oven in larger quantities and will need little extra work to serve, just plenty of napkins to hand around and maybe a scattering of chopped herbs to add a bit of contrast and colour. 

    Nigella has a few party sausage recipes and we can suggest the sesame and honey ones from Express (p322), Cranberry and Soy Glazed Sausages from Christmas (p23) and Wholegrain Mustard and Ginger Sausages from Kitchen (p418). Kitchen also has a recipe for home-made Pigs in Blankets (p425) which can be assembled the day before then covered and stored in the refrigerator until needed (the Make Ahead note at the end of the recipe gives additional information). The Dragon Chicken wings from Kitchen (p416) are also popular and again there is Make Ahead advice at the end of the recipe or the Salt and Pepper Wings from Feast (p395) are marinated a day in advance and can then just be transferred to a roasting pan for cooking.

    For cold finger foods assembly too far in advance can cause bases to become soggy but the topping for Smoked Salmon Soda Breads from Christmas (p18) can be made a day ahead leaving just very easy assembly ahead of the party and the topping for Chilli Cheese Crostini from the same book (p17) can be made the day ahead and then just easily dolloped onto tortilla chips a few minutes before serving. Party Parma Ham bundles from Christmas (p20) are ideal as they can be made first thing in the morning on the day of the event. Finally if you feel brave enough to fry something just before the start of the party then the Ricotta and Spinach Baci from Feast (p394) can be cooked and left in a low oven (around 100c/210F) for about 30 minutes and are better served warm rather than piping hot so will not loose any of their allure if left sitting on a plate for a few minutes.

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