The E-Cookbooks Library

Cooking Tips
Food Dictionary
Ingredient Substitutions
Food Funnies
Email Us

A Party on a Stick,
a Breeze in the Kitchen
By Nigella Lawson

We people are very primitive: we respond to the elements. The sun comes out and puts us in an expansive mood. Why wouldn't you want to have a party when the skies are blue and the idea of spending evenings with friends is so very appealing? But too often, you phone the usual suspects, invite them all over and then wonder why you have been stupid enough to interrupt a lazy weekend with high-level catering and nonstop work.

I am not sure that party stress can ever be fully relieved, but at least it is easy to lessen the load on the food front.

My panic-banishing program is straightforward: concentrate on food that can be prepared in advance. In the summer, you might automatically, and understandably, think of providing plates of salads and cold tidbits, but they do not stand up well in the heat. Nor, actually, am I keen on canapιs. I want to give people food that they can pick at while they talk to one another but that will also provide sustenance.

I am a complete convert to skewers — or kebabs, whatever you want to call them. You marinate the meat overnight — which ensures it will be tender as well as flavorful — then grill or broil the skewers as you need them. And because of the moisturizing marinade, you will find that if you leave the skewers out after cooking — food does not have to be piping hot in the summer — they will not harden and become tough.

Satay chicken is no new kid on the block, but done properly it never loses its appeal. I also like lamb brochettes — the French name gives them an elegance they utterly deserve — with a little dipping sauce made by stirring yogurt and spices into good store-bought hummus. I do not use metal skewers; I prefer bamboo ones, which do not pierce or burn people as they eat.

You can easily give a choice of meats by making pork brochettes. In any case, the marinade is the same. To create a dipping sauce for pork brochettes, I recommend stirring applesauce and horseradish sauce together in ratios that please you.

For your party, you might need more quantity than I have specified in the recipes, but you scarcely need a master's in higher mathematics to increase servings.

I do not always go cute. In fact, most of my life I have run screaming from it. But I am totally sold on my adorable little cheesecakes for dessert. You make these baby beauties in advance and refrigerate them until needed.

The only problematic bit is pressing graham cracker crumbs into mini-muffin tins. It is not difficult, though, just time-consuming. If you have any children at your disposal, use them here: their little fingers are ideal for this work. And do not be afraid of bashing the tins as you turn them upside down to remove the cheesecakes. I hit my tins hard with a rolling pin and have never had any breakage.

Fresh mint looks lovely under the raspberry that sits on top of each mini cheesecake, but do not fret if you cannot find any. No one is going to complain.

• Recipe: Lamb Brochettes With Hummus
• Recipe: Chicken Satay
• Recipe: Raspberry-Topped Mini Cheesecakes

A Great Gift Idea For Anyone ...
Including Yourself!

Click Here For Cooking Aprons


Click Here For Free Cookbooks


Cheese Glossary
Measurement Equivalents
Food Safety
Wine Glossary
Ingredient Equivalents
Email Us

Copyright © 2011 by All Rights Reserved. is a Division of VJJE Publishing Co.
8430 Gee Road Canastota, NY 13032