Family, friends: my fateful readers came to celebrate the launch of the all-new LeeksandHighHeels.com and of course I cooked. Thank you for all your support, my lovelies! and your flowers, chocolate and foodie gifts!
We had a blast; fitting about 30 people in my garden and my little shoe-box of an apartment is always a challenge but it seems everyone found their spot and the food. As soon as i could put food out on the buffet, as soon it was gone… and I think we went thru 30 or so bottles of bubbly without too much damage…
The weather cooperated and allowed us to be outside and enjoy some fresh air. And although some were fighting the plants for space ( yes Babs you and the fern) everyone enjoyed themselves.
LOVED the kitchen accessories you wore, William, Boris, Arnaud, Barbara and Jerome! and the herbs you brought xoxo
Prep for a large party like this takes weeks; not only composing the menu and ordering party favours but also and most important to me, it’s about making sure everything looks great and there is plenty. And that my guests and me have a great night!
a few tips from me to you:
- it sounds obvious but has to be said: de-clutter and clean up. I always pretend I have an interior design magazine photo shoot at my place so everything needs to be clean, organised and calm.
- move or remove furniture to ensure enough passage way and an ease for your guests to move around and get to the food and drinks.
- label the facilities door so you don’t have people wondering around looking for the loo.
- balance your menu with majority ready made dishes and don’t cook more than 2 dishes on the spot; avoid being in the kitchen too long, your guests want to see you.
- set up 2 self service bars; in my case one indoors and outdoors so guests didn’t have to go to far for a refill. Have plenty of ice on hand to keep their drinks chilled all night.
- ENJOY yourself, take a break and relax. Make sure to talk to all your guests and accept help with serving food and drinks.
And even an experienced party planner like me has little hick-ups: i ran out of bubbly, euh yes i did, so BIG thank you to Bea for rushing to your place and getting a few bottles (we only used 2 but LIVEsaver!)
Thank you everyone for helping out:
Noel, we have been cooking together some 20 years, it is great to always have you by my side!
Lulu, Arnaud and Tibs – txs for helping out!
Here is what I served:
Spinach, feta, dill humus with pine nuts served with radishes
400gr can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
50gr baby spinach leaves, blanched and drained
200gr feta, drained
40gr pine nuts, toasted and chopped, some reserved for serving
1 bustle of dill, chopped, some reserved for serving
salt and pepper
- Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, spinach, feta, pine nuts, dill, salt and pepper in a food processor and process til smooth.
- Place on a serving plate and sprinkle with extra dill, pine nuts and pepper. Drizzle olive oil and serve with radishes.
This is a recipe by Donna Hay, but I didn’t find the tahini in the store so I substituted it for horseradish paste to give it a bit of a kick. I served it with radishes, cheery tomatoes and variety of crackers and bread.
Crostini with pea and Parmesan pesto
1 baguette sliced
200gr frozen peas
100gr grated Parmesan
6 mint, leaves
to decorate bean shoots or flowers
- boil the peas but keep some crunch, don’t overcook them.
- grill the baguette slices with some olive oil
- blitz in food processor peas, parmesan, mint, lemon juice and olive oil till smooth
- spread mixture over the bread, add some decorative bean shoots or flowers
I used calendula flower petals to give it some colour.
Smoked salmon mascarpone and tarragon spread
1 bustle tarragon chopped
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300gr smoked salmon, chopped
salmon roe and crackers to serve
- Place the mascarpone, tarragon, mustard, lemon rind, lemon juice and pepper in a food processor and process till smooth. Add the smoked salmon and blitz till just combined.
- Dive among serving bowls or jars, top with salmon roe. Serve with crackers.
This is a recipe by Donna Hay, and a huge hit at the party! Easy to make the day before and serve it on fresh baguette.
Cardamom coconut chicken skewers
1kg chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in 3 cm strips
250 ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lime rind
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
for the dip
1 bustle coriander
½ bustle mint
1 green chilli
60ml lime juice
200ml Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper
- Place the chicken, coconut cream, lime, ginger, cardamom, chilli powder and turmeric in a bowl and mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- To make the salsa, place the coriander leaves, mint,chilli, lime juice, yoghurt, salt and pepper in a blender and blend till smooth.
- Thread the chicken onto skewers. On a grill pan, cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side until cooked through. Serve with the salsa.
This is based on a Donna Hay recipe but I marinated the chicken overnight, which made it very tender. I grilled the skewers on both sides for 2 minutes and than put them in the oven to cook them thru. I used pre-cut in dice chicken versus strips and that worked fine too. And I served it with a herb Greek yoghurt dip.
Quinoa lemon fritters
285gr cooked quinoa, cooled
35gr plain flour
2 green spring onions, sliced
bustle of flat parsley chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
salt and pepper
1 table spoon of olive oil
mayonnaise and lemon wedges to serve
- Place the quinoa, flour, onion, parsley, egg, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine. Shape tablespoons of the mixture into balls.
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through.
- Serve the fritters with mayonnaise and lemon wedges.
I made the balls in advance and put them in the fridge so I could just fry them at the last minute and serve them warm. This was a big favourite at the party, even converted some quinoa skeptics. (based on a Donna Hay recipe)
Eton mess with rose water
320gr fresh strawberry cleaned and cut if needed
110gr caster sugar
1 teaspoon of rosewater
500ml of cream, whipped
100gr store bought meringues, lightly crushed
- Place the cream in a bowl, fold through the meringue pieces, rosewater and the ½ of the fruit
- Layer cream mixture and fruit in serving jars or bowls. Top with some more meringue and eatable flowers.
I added the rose water and used strawberries but feel free to use your own flavor variant and any berry you fancy.
Store bought or home made shortcrust pastry
3 egg yolks
110gr caster sugar
125ml lemon juice
2 tablespoon orange blossom water
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Line a lightly greased loose-bottom tart tin with the pastry. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with baking weights and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and paper and bake a remainder of 10 minutes until the pastry is light golden. Remove from the oven and reserve. Reduce the oven temperature to 140degrees C
- To make the lemon filling, place the cream, eggs, extra yolks, sugar, orange blossom water and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Transfer the mixture into the tart shell. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until just set. Allow too cool at room temperature before refrigerating until completely set. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
This is based on a recipe by Donna Hay, I just added the orange blossom and some sugarcoated lemon peel and lavender for decoration.
and I never took pictures during the party – well – i just didn’t ve the time … THANK YOU David Mourato from Kinlake.com for the ambiance pics I was able to share on my post today, xoxo!