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Finger Food

Tips for a stress free 21st celebration

Brownies & sparklers

21st birthday celebrations can be very stressful….who’s coming, how many will turn up, what will they want to eat, will they drink too much… and on it goes. Whilst your 21 year old is very relaxed assuring you “all will be fine”.

Brownies & sparklers

Gone are the days where an invitation was sent in the mail & we all hand wrote our replies “Dear Mr & Mrs Smith thank you for your kind invitation..…” I remember my 21st was a sit down affair. My mother prepared all the food & decorations. I have fond memories of her wrapping ivy from the garden around the posts of the marquee. I only appreciate now just how much work & effort she put in.

21st Birthday Preparations

Onto today & things are a whole lot different. Here are my top tips for a stress free celebration:

1. Call in the caterers of course. We’ve catered for many 21sts & can advise you on what items are popular amongst this crowd.

– You want to provide food that is filling, so items such as mini burgers & petite pizzas are ideal. Protein rich food is also important as the protein helps to metabolise the alcohol.

– Choose finger food that is easy to eat & won’t leave a mess on your floor. I’d avoid anything on skewers or noodle boxes as these tend to get left everywhere & anywhere. It’s surprising where you’ll find these the next day!

– Identify any dietary requirements and cater for a range (vegetarian and vegan is very popular at the moment). Being a nutritionist I understand these needs. Being a caterer I know how to make these options delicious & ones that everyone will enjoy. Our rice paper rolls are a perfect example.

 

Rice Paper Rolls

2. Have a professional in the kitchen heating & plating your food. A chef will go with the flow of the evening & the appetite of the crowd ensuring there’s plenty of food as your guests need it. This is so important as the young ones tend to flow in & out over an evening. The chef will also plate any leftovers for the hangers-on & best of all leave your kitchen as they found it. Sometimes cleaner than they found it! You want to enjoy this party too.

3. Set up a grazing table. Whole ham & rolls, or a burger station are all popular offerings. This way there’s always food available, particularly for those boys with big appetites.

4. Set up water stations. Tubs filled with ice & water bottles are ideal. You want to make the non-alcoholic drinks easily accessible & plentiful. We often find they’ll grab a water as they head out the door which can’t be a bad thing.

5. Find an alcohol supplier that can advise you on quantity & ideally take returns if you have leftovers. We work with a wholesale supplier who will deliver your alcohol cold with ice & tubs, advise on quantity & quality all at a very competitive price.

Champagne Tub

6. Enlist the services of a professional bar person who has RSA qualifications (responsible service of alcohol). They are experienced at handling those that may have imbided a bit too heavliy. It can be awkward trying to deal with one of your child’s close friends. Leave this to the professionals.

7. Set a theme. 70s’s Disco, Favourite Fairytale, Super Heroes, Mexican, Disney Characters, Gangster, Computer Game Characters…… When you go to the effort your guests rise to the occasion too.

Party Decorations

Make things stress free & call us. We can take care of all your catering, staffing & hire needs. We have a new 21st menu that is great value at $19.00 per person. You can download it here.

Please call anytime. I’d love to help make your next 21st celebration memorable & stress free.

Wendy
GreenWithClearBackground
0403861117
[email protected]

 

Finger food for you to serve…

Risotto Balls & Rose

We offer a selection of finger foods that are easy to serve without the need for a chef on-site. Perfect for that impromptu get together or when you have a small number of guests to feed. Our finger food from the ‘Cut Above” kitchen takes the stress out of entertaining & will make you look good too 🙂

The range came about as I often had girlfriends ring in a flurry “Wend have you got any Risotto Balls I’ve got 20 family for lunch. Help!” The range is perfect when you don’t need a fully catered event. The menu includes some of our most popular items, such as the Prosciutto & Pine Nut Risotto Balls. These appeared on our first menu 15 years ago & still remain a top seller. They are a delicious mix of prosciutto, parmesan, & toasted pine nuts with a hit of lemon zest. You can also purchase the Lemon Aoili we serve with them, which really makes it all super easy.

Risotto Balls & Rose

Delivered to your door & packed with easy to follow heating instructions it will make your casual entertaining a breeze. You don’t even need to be home, we’ll leave everything safely packed in a styrofoam box.

You’ll also find our morish Dark & White Chocolate Rocky Road on the menu. Serve this as a dessert with a cheese plate & liquer, what more could you want.

DarkRockyRoadWithFlowers

You can find our self catering menu here. Then just call or email to place an order.

Entertaining at home has never looked so easy.

Wendy

 

We’ve made thousands of these…..

duckricepaperrolls

If there was a competition for rolling rice paper rolls with your eyes closed I would be the winner!   (I just tried to work out how many of these we have made over the years & I’d say it’s more like tens of thousands).  Our 5-Spice Duck Rice Paper Rolls with Hoisin are served at most of our events. They can be tricky but I’ve ironed out all the little kinks over the years & come up with a fool proof way to make them. Below you’ll find all my tips.

duckricepaperrolls

I actually find making these very therapeutic. I set up an assembly line, this is often in the early hours as the sun rises, & start rolling, rolling, rolling. As my boys wake they sleepily gobble down one or two. I might be a bit strange but I love a production line! I find as my mind quietens it allows solutions to problems, creative ideas & lots of other things to pop up. The caterers’ form of meditation you could say.

duck-rice-paper-prep

Anyway….why make rice paper rolls? Firstly they’re nutritious. They’re a great way to combine fresh vegetables & herbs with your choice of protein, e.g. chicken, seafood, beef, duck. Add some healthy fat such as avocado or a homemade satay sauce & you have a beautifully balanced snack that will keep you satisfied. And they’re gluten free. Secondly they’re fun to make & the kids can do it themselves..yay! They’ll enjoy making their own version. Lastly they’re delicious of course 🙂

vegiericepaperpluscrudite

Below is our recipe for Satay Chicken Rice Paper Rolls, including an easy peasy way to poach chicken. The satay sauce is from a very special cooking school, The Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, that I had the pleasure of attending last year. If you’d like any information on that please feel free to message me, because I could go on & on! But I hear optimal blog length is 300 words & I’m running out of them!!!

vege-rice-paper-prep-4

Ok so onto the rice paper rolls. We recently taught these at our Delicious & Nutritious cooking classes & it was so much fun. Start by laying out all your ingredients in bowls. Then dampen a tea towel with water (so the rice paper won’t stick). Fill a large bowl with warm water & add 6 rice papers. Leave for a minute until soft. The longer you leave them the more likely they are to fall apart so don’t get distracted 🙂 Place rice paper on the tea towel (you’ll fit 6). Then pat dry with a clean tea towel. Add your sauce in a strip a couple of centimetres up from the bottom of the rice paper. Place your chicken (or other protein) & julienned vegetables on top of the sauce. Then place your herb of choice (mint or coriander are my favourite)  a couple of centimetres from the top with the good side face down. Then roll once starting from the bottom, fold in the sides & continue rolling. I can feel an instagram animation coming!!

chicken-rice-paper-flowers-ss

These are perfect snacks with summer coming up. You can go simple for easy family snacks or fancy (prawns, mango & mint anyone) for sure-to-impress entertaining.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions….seriously, call the Cut Above hotline anytime. If you’d like to spread the word & share this blog with friends that would be wonderful too 🙂

Wendy

Satay Chicken Rice Paper Rolls

A delicious & nutritious snack.

Ingredients

Chicken breast
, cooked & shredded
Carrot
Lebanese Cucumber
Chinese cabbage, or iceberg lettuce
Red capsicum
Mint
Coriander
Rice Paper Rolls (my favourite brand is Rose, has a red rose on the packaging)

Satay Sauce 
½ tsp crushed garlic 
2 tbsp crunchy healthy peanut butter 
2 tbsp light soy sauce 
1 tsp brown sugar 
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp lime juice

Directions

  • Add chicken breast to baking dish. Add shallots, lemon, parsley, kaffir lime leaves or any aromatics you have on hand. Top with water until chicken is covered. Cover with foil & cook 30 minutes at 180C.
  • Julienne cucumber & carrot, slice capsicum thinly & shred lettuce.
  • Wash herbs.

Satay Sauce

  • Place all ingredients (except lime juice) in a saucepan & stir over medium heat for a minute until all ingredients are combined.
  • Remove from heat & add lime juice.
  • Add more coconut milk if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Rice Paper Rolls

  • Soak rice paper 30-60 secs in warm water.
  • Lay on dampened tea towel & pat dry.
  • Add satay sauce, top with shredded chicken, julienned vegetables & herbs.
  • Wrap & roll.