Last week I told you about how I host an annual Cinco de Mayo party and shared a delicious tequila cocktail with you. Well, dear reader, that was all smoke and mirrors. I ACTUALLY hosted a surprise 30th birthday party for my friend Erin. I had told her I was hosting my annual Cinco de Mayo party and generally being a neglectful friend.
Oysters and champagne are the cornerstone of our friendship, so I thought it would make for a perfect theme for Erin’s 30th birthday. We attend The Whalesbone Oysterfest every summer, have taken Champagne, Chablis and Oysters classes at the LCBO and find any excuse to patronize Supply and Demand, especially for Bubbles and Bivalves on Sunday nights ($1.50 oysters and half-priced bubbles).
My co-conspirator, Erin’s boyfriend Tim, and I had a heck of a time trying to secure a venue downtown that wouldn’t require us to pawn our finest pearls. In the end, we decided to hold the party at my house in the west end and we hired a limo to transport our guest of honour and other friends from the heart of the city out to Crystal Beach.
With the help of Erin’s awesome boyfriend Tim, we hired an oyster shucker from The Whalesbone Catering and I kept the champagne flowing throughout the evening. Jesse from The Whalesbone was an awesome addition to our little fête.
Being a food blogger, expectations are kind of high when you host a cocktail and canapés soiree. I planned an ambitious menu of tiny tastes: truffle popcorn, tandoori prawns with minty yogurt dip, asparagus phyllo cigars, za’atar chicken lettuce wraps, bocconcini skewers, pear and raspberry crostini and butternut chorizo skewers.
Don’t let the simple appearance of these skewers fool you, they are infinitely snackable. Smoky chorizo, sweet roasted butternut squash with a flavourful fennel and cumin marinade and a single leaf of parsley – a tasty little trifecta.
Is there anything cuter than individually portioned foods? Teacup Yorkies, maybe. But that’s all.
With the help of a sous chef (Hi Mom!), I was able to execute all seven canapés in five hours. This was probably a record time for any hostessing effort to date. Tim supplied a delicious assortment of cupcakes from Second Avenue Sweets and Jesse served up incredibly fresh oysters from New Brunswick – harvested just three days prior.
The party was a success, the birthday girl was surprised, everyone was suitably impressed by the array of nibbles and a good time was had by all. If you’d like to hire me as your next party chef, please don’t – it’s not good for my blood pressure. I will sling cocktails though – can’t promise I won’t be sampling the goods throughout the evening though.
Looking to up your cocktail party game? These Butternut Squash and Chorizo Skewers are an infinitely snackable canapé. A fennel and cumin marinade add a nice Mediterranean flair to these bites.
- 600 g butternut squash
- 360 g chorizo
- parsley leaves, to serve
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 pinches sea salt
- a pinch coarse black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. Cut the butternut squash into 35 neat cubes, toss in the marinade and then transfer to the prepared baking sheet, making sure there is a little space between each cube of squash.
Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are crisp and the squash is cooked through.
Cut the chorizo into 35 pieces. Skewer through a parsley lead, then the chorizo, then the squash. Serve.
Recipe from: Taylor, Milli. "Butternut squash & chorizo skewers." Party-Perfect Bites. Ryland Peters & Small, 2014.