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Waitrose web series: add your tips and questions on how to put on a spread and have the chance to win £100 of Waitrose vouchers(14 Posts)
Mumsnet are working with Waitrose to produce a six-episode web TV series that will launch in September and they want your feedback to help shape this episode on putting on a spread.
Have you catered for large numbers of people? Do you have ideas for nibbles that are more exciting than chopped carrots and a tub of hummus?
Whether you're offering advice or looking for it, please post here and we'll try and take the best tips and questions and build some of them in to the microsite where the web TV series is going to be shown.
Everyone who takes part in this or any of the Waitrose threads will be entered into a draw to win £100 of Waitrose vouchers.
And if you want to star in the web series, you can find out more and volunteer here.
Ooh am I the first!!!!
Goats cheese with sweet chille sauce (preferably a nice spicy one) poured over. Serve with tortilla chips - mmmm!
Cheap and simple starter - large tomatoes, drizzle of olive oil and loads of torn (not cut - bad for the flavour) basil. Cheap but delicious version of italian tricolor salad as you don't have to use mozzarella.
If I've got lots of people coming over and it's winter, I often do huge vats of curry or soup that can be left for people to help themselves from. Really convenient, still casual and generally a bit more substantial.
I like a board with a variety of breads, crackers and cheese on it. There's always something for everyone that way.
Also, in spring, I roast asparagus wrapped in pieces of parma ham (one piece of ham can normally do 2 - 3 slices of asparagus so it doesn't need to cost the bank) and drizzled with oil. I normally throw a couple of garlic cloves onto the roasting try for flavour and those who want to can squeeze the delicious garlic out afterwards. It's conveniently sized so you can do a big pile at once and everyone gets a couple of pieces. It also doesn't matter if it's not eaten immediately so works as people are wandering around.
A great big piece of happy pork, roasted, with crackling, stuffing and apple sauce that people can slap onto lovely fresh rolls always goes down well. Throw some roast potatoes into the bottom of the tin and put out a bit of a green salad, and you've got a substantial and easy meal for loads of people.
I make massive pizzas in oven trays - dead easy, dead cheap and people are dead impressed - particularly if you call it pissaladarie.
Ciabbata (cut into small chuncks), olive oil, balsamic vinegar....
Smoked mackeral pate - 1/2 pint double cream to 1 fillet smoked peppered mackerel. Tear/cut/chop mackerel (depending on the how course you want the pate) and add to cream. Mix in gently with a spoon then whizz with a hand blender on slow until all incorporated. Either serve on dutch/french toast or make melba toast by rolling bread flat with a rolling pin, cutting into triangles and toasting under the grill.
Cut salmon fillets into chunks and steam in microwave (TBS Lemon juice TBS water - 4 mins) Allow to cool. Drizzle on sweet chili sauce and stick on a cocktail stick. Serve on a bed of fresh spinach.
Rye bread cut into squares spread with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon and dill and a dash of fresh lemon juice and dusting of fresh ground black pepper. Leave to sit for awhile so the bread softens as rye can be a bit dry. Just as nice if you use blinis. For a veg version use a halved mini cornichon instead of salmon.
If it's an after something affair (everyone comes back after the theatre etc.) and everyone is very hungry - Baked potatoes, sour cream, Tuna, cheese, prawns, chilli, Bolognese, can all be prepared in advance and potatoes put in before you go out on a low heat.
Quick easy dessert: Platter of fresh fruit, stones/skinned/cut up, mini meringue nests, whipped double cream, icecream, fruit coulis, chocolate sauce..... Throw it all on the table and people can make their own dessert with the things they like.
Unfortunately I'm on hols 4/5th Aug
One thing that always goes down really well is baked new potatoes. Large baking tray, couple of bags of washed baby new pots, light drizzle of oil, a really generous sprinkling of maldon salt (the flakiness makes it stick better), and whack in the oven for 45 minutes or so.
Serve with garlic mayo, and they just disappear
If I want to cater for a crowd, then chilli with bits is ever popular. One giant chilli, loads of rice (have been known to have to serve it in a clean washing up bowl), grated cheese, sour cream, nachos, guacamole, refried beans, garlic bread, potato wedges, and salad. If theres veggies, I do a three bean chilli too. This way I can cater for the various gluten/dairy/egg avoiders in our group, as well as the picky eaters
I seem to be forever throwing a buffet (how very 70's...) and my staples are:
Home made garlic bread - lots of butter and lemonjuice in the spread - pas s that around once people have arrived
Chilli - veg and meat, veggie made with bulgarwheat and is very diet friendly too if there is anyone watching their weight
A side of poached salmon - do the night before and serve with sliced cucumber
new pots/potato salad (am keen to try baked new pots described above)
Platter of cold meat, cheeseboard, loads of crisps/dips
Home made pizza - everyone always dead impressed even though make the dough in bread maker and pizza sauce is the easiest in the world to make
Pavlova - dead easy, do in advance
Strawberries and cream
Chocolate cake type dessert
Ice cream cones for children
Lots of cold white wine, beer and a good range of soft drink for the driver/pregnant/teetotaller
I cooked a salmon in the diswasher a few weeks ago when I was catering for 40ish people, belly pork also good for large parties
Do NOT do sandwiches, they only taste any good if very fresh, take hours to make & no-one is impressed by them, no matter what pretty shapes you cut them into
Home-made bread rolls, or a bread plait (easy to 'tear & share') are just as impressive & people can then choose what to have them with.
I generally do a cheese board (actually, an entire Brie looks amazing with a few grapes draped over it), fresh fruit (not oranges), and some really lovely chutney, go down very well. In fact, I've always found the cheese board empty, no matter how generous I am with the supply.
If doing for a large number of people, I always try to make the food easy to eat, as I don't own the kind of place where there's space to sit down for more than about 20 people, other than kids sitting on the floor.
I also do cheese straws, individula tarts, e.g. red onion, a dish of cooked meats, and yes, some salad & dips.
deserts I do as individual things, e.g. mini pavlova, brownies, and I once had dishes of 'retro sweets' out for people, they were popular.
We had an old fashioned "dessert" after our wedding with huge piles/ bowls of fresh fruit with great bunches of grapes draped over and a couple of huge cheeses. It was no work, and it looked hugely stylish.
My staples for hot buffet:
- veggie lasagne (cook giant ratatouille in advance, ideally with cheap veg from market, and value tinned toms)
- fish pie
- chilli con carne with options of bread and rice
All can be made in advance, leaving plenty of time to clear up, and I have yet to have a guest (adult or child) who couldn't/wouldn't eat at least one of them.
A friend does amazing huge bowls of layered salad with chicken, bacon, avocado, etc, etc along with lots of salad greens and other veg - combined with (simple) BBQ it keeps everyone happy.
(oh and baked potatoes as an option with the chilli)
Puds should include one chocolate and one fruit-based option, IMO.
The afternoon before the event make a huge veg curry, and huge chicken curry,then on the day a lot of rice (made in rice cooker...a doddle).
Or, huge veggi chilli (use quorn mince) for all guests (many don't even know it's veggi!) again made the day before, served with garlic bread, or rice, or jackets.
Or, classic buffet for our family, cooked chicken legs, sausage rolls, big Greek salad (feta, chopped lettuce, cherry toms, olives,cucmber chunks, dash of olive oil), a pasta salad (pasta, fried chopped onion, sweetcorn, cooked peas, chopped cheese chunks(or tuna),mixed with salad cream or mayo), tortillas and dips, usual carrot/cucumber/celery sticks, coleslaw, french sticks sliced and buttered. Cheese board, decorated with grapes, mixed crackers.
Puddings... fruit trifle, big bowl of strawberries and big bowl of celebrations/heroes/roses as a treat!
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