Monday, July 18, 2011

Easy weeknight entertaining

As part of my efforts to stay up-to-date with professional development type matters, I'm part of a group of six who meet every two months, ostensibly to discuss work-related issues. We do discuss work-related issues, but it's also a way of keeping in touch with friends from university who may otherwise be seen infrequently.

Foolishly, I offered to host our meeting last week, a few days after we returned from Tasmania. As someone who likes to clean the house, arrange food to look attractive, and make 'impressive' looking dishes when people come over, this was not entirely wise.

So what did I do?

I cut corners :P

Fruit and nut bread, olive bread, carrot and celery, hummus, and crackers to start.

Four vegetarian pizza options and roasted capsicum for main.

Strawberries, date and almond balls, chocolate almond balls, and Hannah's chocolate coconut hazlenut fudge for dessert.

Super simple!

The pizzas included two with fetta (which could be easily removed from my pieces) and two with mozzarella:

Sweet chilli, spinach and pumpkin pizza with fetta

1 pizza base of choice
Sweet chilli sauce, spread over base with a pastry brush
Baby spinach leaves, layered over the sauce
Steamed pumpkin, diced
Fetta, diced
~2 tbsp fresh coriander, torn and sprinkled over the top

Mediterranean pizza with fetta or mozzarella (I made one of each)

1 pizza base of choice
Tomato paste
1/2 zucchini, sliced thinly
1 capsicum, sliced thinly
4 mushrooms, peeled and sliced
Sun dried tomatoes, to taste
Dried or fresh basil / oregano / herbs of choice, sprinkled over the top
Fetta or mozzarella

Tomato and herb pizza with mozzarella

1 pizza base of choice
Tomato paste
Up to one punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered (use a sharp knife, so they don't smush!)
Dried or fresh basil / oregano / herbs of choice

The nice thing about pizza is that you can't really go wrong, and there are so many flavour variations - even without moving into meat options. The pumpkin option was my favourite this time.

The chocolate almond balls were an impromptu variation on the other balls / nut fudge products I'd made before. Happily, they worked a lot better than the chocolate date variety I made back at Easter and my non-vegan, non-raw food friends happily ate quite a few.

Chocolate almond balls

100g raw almonds
60g oats
60g dark chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, chopped)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp almond essence
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Pinch salt

  1. Process almonds in a food processor until fine; add oats and process until combined and fine.
  2. Add chocolate chops, vanilla essence, almond essence, maple syrup and salt and process until just combined and starting to form a sticky ball
  3. Roll into teaspoon-ish size balls and set in the fridge or freezer (they keep slightly soft in the freezer but are firm enough in the fridge)

    Do you have stand by recipes or systems for entertaining?


    1. Pizza is *so* good.

      I think the only standby I have for entertaining is to plan, plan, plan! The more I have done in advance, the better the chance I won't freak out when the time comes. I like it when people like the food, but I definitely get stressy about it when I'm worried about getting everything done on time / right...

    2. Crikey, if that's cutting corners I would love to see what you get up to when you plan!
      All looks marvellously delcious :-)

    3. did my comment just get swallowed up! love your entertaining ideas - truffle styles nibbly desserts are great - and fruit always goes down well - as do pizzas

    4. :) :) :) :) times a lot. A LOT. I get so giddy when I pop along and find myself happily reading about another's awesome day, and then BOOM! My name! Be careful, or you'll give me such a big head I won't fit through the door and will have to quit work.

      On second thoughts...

      P.S. I've just got back into raw snack treats myself! Will have to try yours :)

    5. @Stephanie @
      Oh me to - and thus my dismay at realising mid-holiday I was hosting 3 days after we got back! Not enough planning time to keep me happy :)

    6. @cityhippyfarmgirl
      I'm not sure I actually achieve much more, I just feel like I put more preparation in :) Thank you though - it's nice to know it didn't look to last minute!

    7. @Johanna GGG
      Sorry about your first comment going by the wayside - and thanks for taking the time to re-write it!

      I always love it when people serve fruit with dessert when I'm out, it means there's something I like no matter what the other options are, and if the other options are chocolate cake, it balances things out a bit.

    8. @Two fit and fun gals
      Thank you! And thanks for stopping by :D

    9. @Hannah
      I'll keep working on the head thing :P

      I had a mini break from raw snacks too, but have reunited with them in a big way. Almost a bit too big; I may need to freeze some instead of having a huge selection in the fridge for excess consumption!


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