Winter Party Food Ideas

This festive season we’ve got everything you need to ensure your dinner party, work buffet or simply an evening with friends goes off without a hitch, well the food at least! This time of year is the perfect excuse to show off your culinary skills and create mouth-wateringly good food using the finest ingredients.

5b057383-dbb8-4659-8b30-a73800a70a0f_800x800A simple classic some smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés will go a long way to pleasing your guests. Try them on some bought in crispbreads with some chive if you’re short on time or try making your own potato cakes with some dill and lemon for extra flourish. Our John Ross smoked salmon is cold smoked over oak chips using the same techniques passed down since the 19th century and is deliciously light and delicate with subtle smoky flavours and goes beautifully with cream cheese.

Another crowd-pleaser and Christmas staple is some baked camembert. This can1h4a9552_28727765675_o-1 be made really easy by simply baking the camembert as is and adding some garlic bread or crackers and a nice chutney – we recommend the Pear & Walnut chutney from Waterhouse Fayre as the flavours really compliment the cheese. However if you fancy making more of a centrepiece try baking a tear and share dough ball platter with some rosemary, thyme and cranberries. The dough helps the camembert to keep its shape as well as taking on some of the oozey cheese as it bakes – delicious!

BasilA classic meat and cheese platter is the perfect prepare ahead party option. Mix and match with the meat: some prosciutto, salamis, chorizo, pastrami – anything you and your guests will like. For the cheese we advise to pick a variety of different textures and varieties, a soft creamy brie, firm vintage, tangy blue and a sheeps, cow and goats cheese for a range of different flavours. Add some  sunripened tomatoes, salty olives – try some from the Cornish Olive Stall range – grapes and of course some warm crusty bread and you’re good to go.

For a buffet style dinner party the opportunities are endless, hot, cold, meat and vegetarian there are so many options. For the meat eaters try some festive pork and cranberry chipolatas from W F Chinn’s or their pigs in blankets are equally delicious. Chunk of Devon sausage rolls and pork pies in buttery pastry are a must as well as traditional honey-roasted gammon hot or cold from Kittos of Plymouth. For the vegetarians how about an Indian treat with some crispy vegetable samosas or deliciously creamy blue stilton and broccoli quiche.

We hope this has given you some ideas for the festive season, for more info on any of the products we’ve mentioned head over to our website.

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Have you tried paté?

Paté is one of those foods that if you haven’t tried it is distinctly unappealing, it doesn’t look like something you would willingly put in your mouth and just a quick look at the ingredients list leaves you running for the hills. What are you supposed to do with this loaf of minced meat that screams of 1970s dinner parties in the same way that prawn cocktail does? But if you manage to get over all of that, paté can be utterly delicious especially when paired with the right accompaniments.
FarmhousePate_7l7l-jcClassic paté is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece as a way of utilizing every part of the animal to provide livelihood and prevent wastage. Traditionally it had a homely, rustic appeal but there has now been a shift in how patés and terrines are viewed, with some even appearing in Michelin starred restaurants as well as on your own kitchen table. There are many different types of paté from smoked fish to traditional chicken liver as well as the more chunky terrines. We’ve kept things simple and listed a few of them below.

Lets start with one of the most popular here in the UK, Brussels paté. This is smooth textured and usually made using pork and liver and flavoured with garlic, black pepper and cloves.
Ardennes paté is coarser in texture than Brussels but is made using roughly the same ingredients, pork, liver and fat and flavoured with mixed herbs and spices.
Duck and Orange paté, the clue is in the name, is made using duck and pork liver  and is flavoured with orange zest and mixed herbs.
Farmhouse campagne paté is perhaps the best known of them all, made using pork liver and flavoured with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon, this is a coarse textured paté with mountains of flavour.

So now you know your patés, but when should you eat them and what should you be eating them with? Patés can be enjoyed as a simple yet effective starter with freshly made toast and perhaps a dollop of fruity chutney or as lunch dish with a warm, crusty baguette or roll. They are even at home alongside slices of meat, cheese, breads, olives and chutneys in an antipasto platter. Whatever you fancy, there is a paté for that and we’re sure you’ll find one that you love. Go on, give it a go.

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Meat and cheese anyone?

Meat and cheese go well together, this much we know. Whether it’s on an antipasto platter, in a sandwich or a burger, there are so many delicious flavour combinations to discover. We’ve listed a few of them below.

Lets start with a classic ham and cheese sandwich, the salty, slightly sweet flavours of the ham pairs brilliantly with a number of cheeses. For smoked or honey roasted ham a softer, creamy cheese such as Emmental works well but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous try it with a Gorgonzola or Cambozola for a rich and sharp contrast. For more salty hams such as our Devon cured or sandwich ham a full bodied Cheddar such as the Wookey Hole Cave Aged is the way to go, its distinctive earthy, nuttiness compliments the savoury ham.

Whatever the occasion an antipasto board is a welcome addition to any table – full of different colours, textures and most importantly flavours, they bring everyone together in a shared love of food. For the cured meats try and mix different textures such as thinly sliced prosciutto and peppery salami. Similarly with the cheeses try and go for one soft or semi-soft cheese such as a Somerset Brie or Sharpham’s Rustic and one hard cheese such as a Wensleydale or Stilton. Play around with flavours and maybe try something you haven’t tried before as well as old favourites.

Everyone has a different opinion on burgers, some prefer simple Cheddar – we think the Maryland Vintage adds a great depth of flavour – others are a little more daring with Gorgonzola and Gruyere making an appearance. Soft cheeses such as brie or camembert can also take a burger to new heights. But if you want to add more heat to your burger why not try it with a spicy cheese such as our Afterburn or Mexicana?

The options for cheese and meat pairings are limitless, try whatever takes your fancy and you might just discover something amazing.

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