In essence these are 'quick bites', canapés to be served with drinks or for people to nibble on as they wait for the main meal.
These are also excellent as part of a buffet or as a mixed platter starter.
So here are a mix of quick and easy to prepare party foods:
Pizza CrackersServes: 12
Ingredients:12 multi-grain crackers
12 slices of mozzarella cheese
12 tsp tomato sauce (or thick tomato ketchup)
garlic powder, to taste
dried oregano, crumbled, to taste
paprika, to taste
Method:These truly are simplicity itself to make. Just top the cracker with the cheese and then a dollop of tomato sauce.
Season to taste with garlic powder, dried oregano and a dusting of paprika.
Raspberry Chipotle Cream Cheese DipServes: 8
For the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce:350g raspberry preserves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 or 3 whole Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, drained and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
For the Dip:225g (8 oz) cream cheese
180ml (3/4 cup) raspberry chipotle sauce (as made above)
crackers, to accompany
Method:Begin by making the raspberry chipotle sauce (this can be prepared well in advance). Combine the raspberry preserves, vinegar, chipotles and garlic in a medium saucepan. Stir well to mix then bring just to the point of boiling. Reduce to a simmer then cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has thickened to a sauce-like consistency.
Take off the heat and transfer to a sterilized and warmed screw-top jar. Seal and store in the refrigerator (it will keep for up to 2 weeks).
For the dip, soften the cream cheese and mound in a bowl. Spoon over the raspberry chipotle sauce and serve as a dip, accompanied by crackers.
Chocolate-coated PeanutsServes: 30
Ingredients:330g (12 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
660g (24 oz) butterscotch, broken into chips
450g (1 lb) skinless salted peanuts
Method:Combine the chocolate and butterscotch in a bain-marie (double boiler) set over barely simmering water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate and butterscotch have melted and combined with each other.
Pour in the peanuts and stir until evenly and well coated.
Take tablespoons of the mixture and drop onto greaseproof (waxed) paper. Allow to cool until set and harden.
Peel off the paper and serve in an air-tight container until needed.
Buffalo Prawns with Blue Cheese DipServes: 4
Ingredients:120ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
120ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
4 tbsp milk
120g (4 oz) blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
675g (1 1/2 lbs) king prawns, peeled and de-veined (but leave the tails attached)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Method:In a bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, blue cheese, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, 1/4 tsp salt and cayenne pepper. Add the prawns and toss to coat in the spicy flour mix.
Combine the oil, butter and hot sauce in a frying pan. Add the prawns and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until just cooked through and lightly browned.
Arrange teaspoons of the blue cheese mixture on a serving tray. Scatter over the parsley then sit a prawn on top.