I am having a house warming party for 30+ people in cold Sydney and need advice on a tasty but well organised menu. My twin brother who was a great entertainer used to serve beef stroganoff or chilli con carne and a rare roast beef. I need advice especially for that walk in the door finger food and dessert. I am usually too ambitious and over cater so would really appreciate some help! Thanks, Julia
For a slightly wintery party for a large number of people would suggest Nigella's book "Christmas" which contains many ideas for party catering and recipes which would be appropriate for a chillier climate. The recipes have make ahead and freeze ahead advice which you will find useful if planning a large party.
For finger food and canapes Nigella says "I simply produce a lot, but of only a few.." so we would suggest choosing 2-3 canape recipes and making them in quantity, supplemented by some bought in items such as olives, grissini and nuts or crisps (potato chips). If you need to make the canapes slightly ahead then we would suggest a double quantity of the Party Parma Ham Bundles which can be asembled in the morning and kept in the fridge, and the Cranberry Soy Glazed Sausages, which can be cooked an hour ahead and kept warm in a low oven, covered with foil. A batch of one of the crostini toppings can be made ahead and then dolloped on to tortilla chips at the last minute.
For a main course we would suggest either the Aromatic Christmas Ham (which can be cooked ahead and served cold) or a large platter of chacuterie, plus the Choc Chip Chilli and rice, or Pumpkin And Goat's Cheese Lasagne. For dessert it may be easier to stick to finger foods and we would suggest one of the Rocky Road Bar recipes (there is a Christmas one in the book or more suggestions on Nigella's website) and maybe your favourite cupcakes. Otherwise pavlovas are usully very popular, as are flourless chocolate cakes. We would suggest the Prodigious Pavlova and the Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake from the book, or check Nigella's website for other recipes.