harissa and thyme toasted almonds

A few of My Favourite Quick Party Snacks

hummus antipastoThe  festive season is here and we are all ready to catch up with friends and family.  With that in mind here is a list of some of the things I like to eat and prepare at this time of the year – or for any party.

For those of us who love to cook we love those moments in life where time is not a luxury and we have space and energy to make little morsels of delicious foods for people we care about, with those moments in mind I have listed some of my favourites from my blog later on the page for you to link to.  Maybe after Christmas if you are lucky enough to have a few days off.

More often then not though in the real world for most of us, time is at a premium and we are looking for delicious food fast so we can get on with important things like spending time with family and friends.  With this in mind I have included some ideas that I have used and think are delicious.  I would love it if any of you would share your ideas, for quick tricks and snacks or store cupboard essentials  you use to impress and enjoy with your friends and family.


*Harissa and Thyme toasted almonds – simply made by tossing un blanched almonds in Harissa with a sprinkle of fresh thyme, salt and a splash of olive oil and toasting carefully, until crunchy in the oven.  These are great eaten as they are or roughly chopped and tossed on your salad if you have some left over.

*Popcorn – tossed with a little truffle oil ( sounds expensive and it can be, but the cheaper ones work really well on this too).  Add a little salt or go all out and use truffle salt as well – this makes a perfect match to your beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir!!

*Popcorn – this crowd pleaser comes from  food52.com-around-the-world-coconut-popcorn-mix . I have made this many times and it is a always well received – popcorn with chilli,lime,peanuts and coconut it is hard to go wrong.  Food52 is a great food site to visit, with many different contributors and a constant flow of new recipes and food related ideas from around the world.  I would like to add a small confession here, I made this popcorn to take the photo and didn’t have a lime.  To get the flavour profile in this right a lemon just doesn’t cut it – you need the lime zest!around the world coconut popcorn

*Pretty fresh young radishes spread or dipped into some of your best softened butter and some crunchy malden salt, is simple fresh and delicious.

*Char grilled or steamed edamame beans once again with a sprinkle of salt,  a squeeze of lemon juice, zest and a sprinkle Nanamai Togarashi (Japanese chilli mix) . Try this also with snow peas, chilli flakes and shredded mint, or green beans salt and tarragon.  In America I had  amazingly delicious char grilled little Padron Peppers, playing Russian roulette as to who might get a spicy one, I am still working on my produce friends to source those here!charred edamame beans

*Medjool dates – my favourite and they taste amazing – simply tear them in half and remove the pit, then put in a pan with a little olive oil and malden sea salt and sizzle gently to caramelise the edges.  If you try anything try these!  Eat as is or add them to your cheese platter.  Another favourite medjool date snack is to simply tear them in half and put a brazil nut in the centre and eat them – this is also a great nutritious 3pm snack instead of sugary treats.medjool date and char grilled broccoli salad


*Prosciutto wrapped around just about anything is good

  • Try Isabel’s family favourite – slices of nectarine and basil leaf wrapped in prosciutto, or use melon,peach or apricot instead.
  • Wrap your prosciutto around an asparagus spear or medjool date, and char grill.
  • Thread it on a fancy skewer with a cherry tomato, basil and mozzarella.
  • Wrapped or threaded on a skewer with fresh fig and blue cheese, or goats cheese.
  • Wrapped or threaded with Brie and cranberry or quince paste.
  • Simply drape your prosciutto on a platter with any of the above…….


*Bruschetta, fancy crackers, thin sliced dark bread – toasted or not depending on your time and preference. Slices of cucumber as a base also works well especially with things like salmon or feta toppings or make little fritters/piklets to use as a base.

  • Blue cheese, marinated fig and prosciutto – maybe a drizzle of reduced balsamic dressing.
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese with a garnish of lemon or capers and a sprig of fresh herbs.
  • Brie or camembert with some of your favourite quince paste/chutney/relish or a strawberry and another splash of balsamic.
  • Ultra thinly slice beef with horseradish or onion marmalade, creme fraiche and a spicy slice of pepperdew to garnish.
  • Thinly sliced salami, ham, turkey… with matching toppings.


*Spreads and Dips to put on your bruschetta, fritter or falafel….or with a platter of cheeses, fresh crunchy vegetables,fruits and meats

  • Hummus see my recipe in this link.
  • Quick white bean dip  with a tin of beans and some lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh herbs.
  • Black beans with lemon or lime juice, olive oil, fresh and or dry coriander and cumin and even some crumbled feta.
  • Mash some broad beans, edamame, and or peas with lemon, mint, chilli, and oil – maybe even again add some feta – or add  Asian flavours with some wasabi and sesame oil and seeds and some of the Nonami Togashi chilli spice I had you buy for toasted seeds.
  • Labna  spiced with your favourite flavours, either rolled in balls and herbs or simply used as a cheese spread.
  • Grated carrot, beetroot, courgette or cucumber – with fresh herbs, lemon juice and or zest, spices and coconut yoghurt.



Green lip mussel frittersmussel fritters

 Rice Paper Rollsvietnamese rice paper rolls

Beautiful Black bean falafel  made from the burger patty recipe just made smaller.beetroot burger patties

Prawn Croissant Tapasprawn croissant tapas

Summer Sushi Salad Lettuce Cupssushi salad lettuce cups

Prawn Potsticker Dumplings with a Fresh Asian Saladprawn potsticker dumplings and asian salad

Fabulous Falafelfresh falafel

Smokey Pepper and Walnut Muharraramuhammara

Middle East Mezze Platter

middle eastern mezze platter
A delicious Platter to be shared with friends.




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