The party season is here and till January, festive get-togethers with your friends and family will be almost routine. And we all know how difficult it can be to host the perfect party.
While the right crowd or theme is always tricky, at least good food is something you can always rely on to up the ante. Let’s take some professional help to host sinfully delicious get-togethers this festive season.
Shaken and stirred
“Go seasonal with chunks of juicy watermelon, and toss in fresh basil leaves with lemon and elderflower syrup in a splash of soda. You will have a glamorous drink ready in minutes,” says Garry Venkat, the head mixologist at Kode, Mumbai, outlining the making of the refreshing Watermelon Basil Cooler.
“Optionally, if you wish to spin in a floral sip, try the Flower Language with its unfurling of rose, strawberry, lime and seedlip,” he adds.
A riot of colours, piquant flavours, served up in curious glasses are the makings of fabulous conversation starters at Yazu—Pan Asian Supper Club in Mumbai.
Their Spring Onion cocktail is a unique drink, with a brilliantly muddled flavour.
“The base is sweet and sour with gin and dry wine. You can glamourise it further by serving it in a martini glass,” explains head chef Karma Tenpa.
For beer lovers, Abhishek Basu, executive chef, JW Marriott Mumbai, Juhu, comes up with the Mooncake Mocktail, a unique blend of lemongrass, tangerine oil, five-spice and non-alcoholic ginger beer.
A great oriental mix that you can serve up on a wooden block in sake cups along with a mooncake, it is perfect for those guests who love a shot of warmth especially if the evenings turn chilly.
“Also, make way for the Shrimp Bisque Shooter, a flavoursome, comforting cross between a soup and a snack. Creamy shrimp stock served up in a shot glass with shrimp skewers,” says Basu.
Starters work fabulously when you are entertaining a large group of people. “Pan-Asian cuisine lends itself to great finger food,” says Tenpa, adding, “Tiny tuck-ins with dimsums and sushi work well for ravenous groups.” He advises lacing the dimsums with edible 24k gold leaf for this festive season.
The Truffle Chicken Charcoal-inspired 24-carat Golden Leaf Dimsum is an example. Delicately flavoured with truffle oil, wrapped in charcoal powder dough and topped with edible 24k gold leaf paper, this makes for a snazzy starter.
“Besides, add to your menu the 24-carat Gold Peruvian Avocado Tartar Cream Cheese Sushi Roll, a blend of black rice along with koshikani rice. It is a delightful Mexican-Asian fusion,” he says.
For the vegetarians, the fancy fungii makes for an excellent option in munchies. Go quick and easy on the prep, explains Basu.
“Sundried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms make for a cool grilled appetiser with its superb flavour matrix of cream cheese and chopped chives topped with finely chopped sundried tomatoes,” he says.
Inspired by his travels, Saurabh Anand has come up with a smashing rendition on the new menu at his restaurant SEA at a 1,800-year-old Portuguese villa in Assagao, Goa. “The Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls make for a crunchy, delectable snap. For vegetarians, a roll-out of spinach and cheese makes for an equally delectable belly.”
Of sweet nothings
The best wrap-up has to be a sweet one. Pastry chef Santosh Rawat at JW Marriott Sahar comes up with a fabulous rendition in brie and fig jam nuggets, berry compote and pepperoni and feta open puffs.
“These are mini, satisfying bites. They make for great soul-warming finger food, easy to dish out with minimum preparation time. The universal combination of cheese with dry fruits or pickles makes the flavour matrix perfect for the season.”
Explains Basu, “Raspberry and Coconut Lamingtons go very well with the season. This Australian delicacy is light, fresh and fluffy and consists of bite-sized sponge cakes coated in raspberry with cream in the centre and drizzled with coconut.”
Meanwhile, devotees of Thai Tub Tim Krob have an advantage—the dessert is a healthy one. “The use of palm sugar makes it delicious and healthy,” says Tenpa.