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Cheap, minimum prep. adult party food ideas

(21 Posts)
LeeMiller Sun 14-Oct-18 12:03:08

Please help me! I unexpectedly have to cater for a party due to the original organiser dropping out due to illness. It's quite low key -think a private view type affair in the afternoon but needs to be classy not naff. It will probably be 20-40 people across an afternoon, so they don't need a meal as such.

I'll be arriving from afar at the last minute and won't have time to cook, at most some fast, basic prep and laying out of snacks etc. I'm going to place an Ocado order - any suggestions for good buys? Or even presentation tips to make it look nicer than just plastic plates with crisps on?

Also interested in drinks ideas - was thinking of a fruit punch/sangria/pimms and maybe an alcohol-free equivalent as cheaper for serving lots of people than sparkling wine - any thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
AuLoinSontVontLesNuages Sun 14-Oct-18 12:16:57

If you have trays you can take trays cover them in pretty but plain tea towels cover those is salad and the put you sandwiches whatever on those - if that’s too much hassle get big aluminum platters instead of plastic plates and cover with a sprinkling of salad leaves / rocket whatever before placing the food on them.

You can get mini red leaves endives cut off the ends then arrange the leaves in a circle round a pot of hummous/poor mans caviar/ taziki to use as dipping utensils.

You could also random herbs to chop and sprinkle on things to decorate as well as things like grapes- figs - walnuts - tangerines with leaves on - litchis etc.

A couple of whole camemberts or Brie’s with knives - French baguettes and things like redcurrant jam.

For a soft drinks you could do

- a big jug with elderflower cordial- fizzy water - frozen raspberries - basil - lime


- cloudy apple juice - fizzy water - mint leaves

PhilODox Sun 14-Oct-18 12:21:32

Rather than ocado, order the Waitrose party platter things directly from Waitrose. I think they have a full party service...with glassware etc.

LeeMiller Sun 14-Oct-18 12:29:52

Some great suggestions Auloin those drinks sound easy and delicious. Some kind of cheese board is a great idea. I also love the sound of the endives thing.

I'll look into the Waitrose platters but I really need to keep things low budget, *PhilODox" , the catering budget was handed to the person who is now really quite ill and I'm not sure I'll ever see it so want to keep it as cheap as possible (without just serving up bowls of wotsits!) as things are tight this month. So I think it will have to be plastic not glassware, unfotunately!

OP’s posts: |
sirmione16 Sun 14-Oct-18 12:31:02

Alternatively have you considered doing more of a "food station"? Doing something like a taco station would go down so well - buy all the separate salad bits, some cooked meats and then soft wraps and some crunchy shell tacos. Would be themed perfectly with a jug of sangria! All cold, fairly cheap and easy to chuck in separate bowls and leave people to it. List of food items suggested:

Flour wraps
Crunchy taco shells
Lettuce/mixed leaf salad
Cooked flavoured chicken (tikka, bbq, southern doesn't matter)
Cooked pulled bbq pork
Red onion
Cheese (and lots of it!)
Sour cream
Nachos (chuck cheese and salsa on and microwave or leave cold/bare in dish for people to dip) plus this paper bag and bowl idea looks so cute!

sirmione16 Sun 14-Oct-18 12:37:02

Orrrr you could do a huge sushi layout spread - would look great, be very classy but a little more pricey when buying it all pre made

SimplyPut Sun 14-Oct-18 12:47:14

I would go for a large cheese board, variety of crackers and some figs/grapes.

Lovely drinks upthread and some prosecco or slow gin cocktails go nicely with cheese and can be relatively weak.

moralminority Sun 14-Oct-18 12:57:43

Morrison's do some great sandwich/wrap platters and they are cheap, you just needs to order a few days in advance.

BrieAndChilli Sun 14-Oct-18 13:02:23

The trick is to not do too many things. Just choose a couple of things and do them well rather than having a huge spread of poor quality things

I would do a ploughman’s type thing - bread rolls, pickles, cheese and cold meats. Add some salad and chutneys.

AdaColeman Sun 14-Oct-18 14:45:06

In my experience private views are more about the chatter and drinks than about the food. Couple that with the fact that you will have very little preparation time, and you will have to keep it very simple.

I'd do things like bowls of olives, cubed cheese, sliced Spanish/French sausage, maybe some small vegetarian versions of sausage rolls.
Sushi would look lovely, but I'd stay with the vegetarian versions as there are sure to be vegetarian guests, also I wouldn't fancy eating prawns that had spent a couple of hours under hot gallery lights.

Something that adds a bit of colour on a buffet and is quick to do is a tray of shot glasses filled with gazpacho, Ocado might do packs of shot classes.

Don't forget napkins and cocktail sticks! wine

AdaColeman Sun 14-Oct-18 14:52:29

Oh yes, Ocado do a pack of 25 shot glasses for £1:25.

SpoonBlender Sun 14-Oct-18 15:00:52

All power to you OP but I wouldn't be touching this with a bargepole without an expectation of getting it paid back. This'll set you back at least a couple of hundred quid, probably more, plus a day faffing when you're straight back from travel. What if you get delayed?

Caprisunorange Sun 14-Oct-18 15:05:24

What do you mean by cheap? You won’t be able to manage this for less than a few hundred, double that with drinks?

If that’s ok I’d go for a mixture of platters and cheeses/ breads olives pates fruits cold meats etc. Don’t forget napkins plastic knives and forks etc!

namechange5575 Sun 14-Oct-18 15:57:45

Gazpacho in shot glasses is a great idea. Ocado has gazpacho in big juice cartons and it's delish, would be super easy to prep and serve.

tentative3 Sun 14-Oct-18 17:09:27

I'd just do cheeseboard with grapes and crackers plus drinks

LeeMiller Sun 14-Oct-18 17:09:28

Thank you so much for some great ideas and advice, I'm feeling slightly less panicked already. smile SpoonBlender I wouldn't get involved in this sort of thing but it's for a very close relative and is a last-minute emergency with the friend orginally dealing with this stuff hospitalised unexpectedly (it's quite serious so asking for the cash is not really possible right now). I've persuaded a couple of other relatives to chip in and if we don't get the money back it will be our Xmas present to said relative.

I'm going to get the food delivered to the site and I have roped in a couple of helpers to actually set stuff up (I'm rather pregnant) and I'll give them instructions in case I'm delayed.

I agree keeping it simple is the way to go and this advice from Brie is going to be my mantra: Just choose a couple of things and do them well rather than having a huge spread of poor quality things

I love the soft drink, gazpacho and cheese board suggestions, and I think I'll buy a load of olives and posh breadsticks/crisps for the grazers. Thanks for the useful reminder about napkins etc!

OP’s posts: |
LesLavandes Sun 14-Oct-18 18:10:00

You can buy really cheap wine glasses on Amazon

SpoonBlender Mon 15-Oct-18 00:22:11

Oh lord! You are an absolute gem to be putting this together, go you! I hope it all comes out well and your friend recovers.

LeeMiller Mon 15-Oct-18 07:17:16

Thanks SpoonBlender ! Luckily there is a lot of goodwill so fingers crossed it will all be fine!

OP’s posts: |
AdaColeman Mon 15-Oct-18 11:00:39

Oh I've just noticed your username LeeMiller ! What an amazing life she led.... the photo of her in Hitler's bath......or sitting on her back doorstep with Picasso!

Genes86 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:56:36

I would do nice grilled veg or dips like...

aubergine dip:

spicy potatoes:

roasted cauliflour:

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