A Christmas party

A battalion of marshmallow snowmen

A battalion of marshmallow snowmen

Following on from the success of our kids Halloween party, we thought it would be nice to get people together for another little party, this time for Christmas.

It was a family affair this time, except the Keanes from around the corner who just seem to turn up uninvited to everything are like family.

We always try to put on a decent spread for a party and, as usual in our house, I dealt with the savoury while Samana took care of the sweet.

The savoury

Sundried tomato pesto puff pastry twists

Sundried tomato pesto puff pastry twists

On the menu in terms of savoury food was:

  • Sundried tomato pesto puff pastry twists
  • Chicken yakitori skewers
  • Falafel
  • Samosas (courtesy of Emily and Sushil)

The puff pastry twists were really quick and easy. I just unrolled a sheet of ready made puff pastry, spread it with sundried tomato pesto, folded it over lengthways, rolled it a little again and then cut into 2-3cm strips. Then I grated some cheese over them and twisted each strip into a corkscrew shape before baking in the oven for 15 minutes or so.

Puff pastry twists before going in the oven

Puff pastry twists before going in the oven

The recipe for chicken yakitori skewers came from one of those Waitrose recipe cards. It was really simple too. I started by cutting some chicken thighs into fairly small pieces and then slicing a couple of leeks down the middle and cutting into inch long pieces. Then I threaded two pieces of chicken and a piece of leek onto each skewer (hint: if you’re using wooden skewers, it’s best to soak them first to stop them blackening under the grill).

Once all the skewers were loaded with chicken and leeks I brushed with some vegetable oil and cooked under the grill until cooked through, turning once. While they were cooking I made the yakitori sauce by combining 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice wine, 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tbsp caster sugar, 1 heaped tsp grated ginger and 1 tsp cornflour. I then gently cooked in a small saucepan for a few minutes, stirring often, until it had thicked nicely.

Finally, I removed the skewers from the grill, brushed with the yakitori sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and put back under the grill for two minutes.

Chicken yakitori skewers

Chicken yakitori skewers

For the falafel I blitzed chickpeas, garlic, spring onions, coriander, all spice, some flour and an egg in the food processor. Then shaped into small balls, coated half in sesame seeds and fried them for a few minutes on each side till crispy and golden.

The sweet

Decorated gingerbread house, christmas tree cake and festive cup cakes and biscuits

Decorated gingerbread house, Christmas tree cake and festive cup cakes and biscuits

And the sweet stuff:

  • Decorated gingerbread house
  • Christmas tree cake
  • Marshmallow snowmen
  • Christmas cup cakes and biscuits (courtesy of Nicola)

The gingerbread house was bought, ready-made, from Aldi and decorated with icing, sweets and mini-marshmallows.

The Christmas tree cake was genius. Samana made a simple two-egg sponge cake mixture and poured it into this clever silicon mould from Lakeland.

Lakeland cake mould

Lakeland Christmas tree cake mould

It went in the oven for about 45 minutes on 150° until golden and springy then, once cooled slightly, Samana popped them out onto a rack. When they were completely cool she stacked them into a Christmas tree shape using a combination of cocktail sticks and buttercream to ensure they held together securely. She then went to town with the decorations and dusted with icing sugar to give a snowy effect, as you can see:

And finally, the work of art that was marshmallow snowmen in jars! Samana got the idea from the BBC Good Food website and it turned out to be a really exciting little gift for the kids to take away.

She used marshmallows for the body, strawberry laces for a scarf, coloured icing for buttons and facial features and made a hat out of a giant chocolate button and a rolo. It was all held together with cocktail sticks and placed on a cookie and a mound of cocoa powder in a 12cm high jam jar.

Of course, I’ve only talked about what we made for the party but the samosas that Emily and Sushil brought were amazing and the cupcakes and biscuits brought by Nicola were typically impressive too.

Adults and kids alike went home suitably full and happy.

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