Let's Eat

It's party time!

Fabienne Viner-Luzzato provides her top tips for success with canapé parties


People find canapé parties scary. They aren't - you are just cooking tiny portions of simple food. The bit that's worth spending a bit of time on is the presentation. Search out the right platters and small dishes to present your food in. It takes time but makes a great impact and definitely has a big "wow" factor relative to the time you have spent.

I buy a lot of disposable items for my catering jobs. If I'm throwing the party at my home, I use china and have collected a range, like pretty Chinese spoons.

Here are some of my tips:

● Invest in a few platters on which to present your food. Wooden boards look great, as do slate tiles and you can find some amazing disposable plastic shot glasses, mini cups and mini cutlery online and in kosher supermarkets.

● It looks more professional if you can make each individual type of canapé the same size.

● Do as much preparation ahead as you can. For instance, the candied orange peel and poached pears in my recipes can be made up to two days ahead. The latkes can also be made a day ahead and reheated to serve. Avoid trying to make everything on the same day.

● These are the basic rules I follow when working out how many pieces to make: my rule is 6-8 canapés per head if the guests are then going to eat a meal and 8 – 12 canapés each if that is all they will be eating. Allow one of each dessert per person.

● When working out the number of types of canapé I recommend between 6 and 8 – depending on how many people you are entertaining.

● Do try to keep the food simple and plan a few that involve assembly rather than cooking such as Italian mini kebabs - mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil dressed with good quality extra-virgin olive oil; Greek mini kebabs - feta cheese, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and black olives also dressed with good quality extra-virgin olive oil; or mini sweet canapés of chewy strawberry sweets and Coca-Cola sweets on a mini kebab stick or even fruit kebabs with a chocolate dip.

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