I've just returned from Wales where I masterminded my lovely niece's 18th Birthday Party.
Phew - I'm exhausted and as on all these occasion am reminded forcefully why people employ me to take the strain and do the catering for them. Many people look at the menu and the bottom line and think that is all that is involved. However when you pay a professional, you are getting years of expertise, free advice and assurance your party will work and so much more.
For Natalie's party I didn't do it alone and had fun cooking with my sister and mum before hand. We made some amazing Bloody Mary jellies served on teardrop shaped spoons. I thought that this would be definately one for the teenagers, but they went down a storm with the oldies too; I have to confess that one or two passed my lips.
My 15-year old son, Tom, surpassed himself as a cocktail waiter. When the good people of Newport looked a little askance at the idea of vodka flavoured jellies, he just encouraged them to give them a try saying, "you just need to slurp them down. You'll really enjoy them!" He was a star and came back with empty tray after empty tray. I had made my highly moreish Parmesan Cheese sables and cut them into 1s and 8s to display rows of cheesey 18s on smart red lacquer trays.
It was a great opportunity for me to try out a few other new canapes such as our oak roasted tomatoes on top of goat's cheese mini foccacia. Since space was of a premium, we made lots of gorgeous finger puddings, to hand around just in time for the dancing to begin.
Some tips for throwing a party this Christmas: