Posted in Recipes

4 very Easy Party Food ideas for Christmas celebrations – go on, throw a party !

Easy Party Food Recipe No.1 – Brie & Cranberry Pastry Bites

First up, these pastry bites are made with a roll of ready-made puff-pastry. You will find these in the chill cabinet in the supermarket or in the frozen food aisle (if frozen will need to defrost in the fridge overnight). Follow the instructions on the pack for the pastry. The one I used required to leave the chilled pastry out for 10 minutes before use and it comes on its own baking paper which is very handy to line the trays. Space the pastry squares out on the baking trays, make sure your oven is pre-heated. Use an egg wash of beaten egg and milk to brush around the border of each pastry square.

I made Brie & Cranberry Pastry Bites for a Christmas Party, other good combinations are red onion relish topped with goats cheese or sundried tomato / pesto topped with mozzarella

Brie & Cranberry Pastry Bites – Easy Christmas Party Food

Easy Christmas Party Food Recipe No.2 – Parma & Pickle bites

Next up are some delicious Parma, Cream, Cheese & Pickle bites – these are from a Mary Berry recipe that I saw on a show about Christmas Party entertaining a few years ago. A very simple Christmas Party Food recipe.

Easy Recipe for Christmas Entertaining, Pickle(Gherkin) wrapped in Parma with some cream cheese and herb

Easy Christmas Party Food Recipe No.3 – Parma & Pickle bites

So simple that a recipe is hardly required, just chop some basil, parma, sundried tomato and mozzarella or buy the small mozzarella balls (called bocconcini) and assemble on a cocktail stick before dipping into some basil pesto. Delicious and simple for your next Christmas Party Food.

Parma, Mozzarella, Sundried Tomato & Basil bites for easy Christmas Party entertaining

Easy Christmas Party Food Recipe No.4 – Galia Melon & Parma bites

Finally, these melon & Parma bites are really simple and tasty. I like to season them with cracked black pepper just before serving. A melon baller would be a really handy gadget when it comes to putting these together and I really like to use Galia melon as the strong peachy colour is so pretty and the taste works really well with the Parma.

How pretty do these Galia Melon with Parma bites look – another great easy idea for simple Christmas Party Food

Keep an eye on my instagram where I will be sharing more festive food ideas for the Christmas Holiday season.

xx Sheila

Posted in Events & Adventures in Food, Recipes

Christmas Past – A collection of Gimme the Recipe Christmas Recipes & generally Christmassy stuff


Anyone else thinking hmmm what’ll we have for starters this year?  Or do we stick with Turkey how about a goose.? There are lots of fun decisions to be made and shopping to be done.  While you make up your mind here’s a round-up of some Gimme The Recipe Christmas Favourites over the years: {just click on the links to see the recipes associated with the pictures}….

Christmas Breakfast:

Walnut Bread & Very Berry Granola

Inchydoney Walnut Bread

Very Berry Granola in glass

Christmas Granola

Christmas Granola in Jar from top

Christmas Day Starters:

Olive & Feta Party Bites

Olive & Feta Bites

Cranberry, Pate & Pickled Cucumber Christmas Canapes

Chicken Liver Pate, Pickled Cucumber & Spiced Cranberries

Warm cranberry & walnut dressed roast veg, apple & blue cheese winter salad

Warm winter salad II

Mini Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Grape & Melon with Mint

Darina Allen's Grape and Melon with Mint

Goats Cheese Crostini

Goats Cheese Crostini

Mary Berry’s Canapes

Party Food Mary Berry Canapes

Party Food – Galia & Parma Bites

Peppered Galia and Parma

Chicken, Thyme & Mushroom Vol au Vent

Chicken, Thyme & Mushroom Vol au Vent closer opt

Onion Relish

Onion Relish

Date and Apricot Chutney

Chutney & Gubbeen

Florentine Christmas Box

Mulled wine by an open fire

Mulled Wine

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Cake & Icing on The Cake

Starry Iced Christmas Cake

Black Forest Roulade – Christmas Log

Black Forest Roulade

Dressing your table: {note some of the stores referenced in this blog post are unfortunately no longer trading}

Treetop & Napkin Rings

I hope you’re getting excited now in the build up to Christmas!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Dinner Party, Recipes

Party Food – Galia & Parma Bites

Putting together canapés, bites, appetisers, finger-food, call them what you will, can be an incredibly finicky and time-consuming affair.  For something that will disappear in one mouthful is it really worth putting a lot of hard labour into this effort? I don’t think so. Paring it back and keeping it simple means using first class ingredients and doing very little to them as they will sing for themselves.
Galia balls and scoop
Galia balls

Galia Parma Single Line
Galia and Parmer starter
Peppered Galia and Parma

Galia & Parma Bites:

You will need:
Galia Melon
Parma ham slices (prosciutto di parma or Jamón serrano)
(perhaps some chilli/garlic oil if the parma is dry)
Cocktail sticks
Black Pepper

(this hardly warrants instruction as the pictures tell the tale)
Halve and deseed the Galia Melon and then use the melon-baller to create galia balls.
Push a gali ball onto the top of a cocktail stick and slide some parma up from the other end (I used a third to a half a slice for each one).
If you think the parma is a little dry use a pastry brush to lightly oil them with some flavoured oil.
Assemble and garnish with a dusting of cracked black pepper.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Dinner Party

Chicken, Thyme & Mushroom Vol au Vent

So when’s the last time you had a chicken & mushroom vol au vent then?  Perhaps as a starter at an ’80s or a ’90s wedding and pretty much banished thereafter.
Chicken, Thyme & Mushroom Vol au Vent opt
In Ireland we travelled throughout the late ’90s and early millenia years and our tastebuds travelled too.  We brought back a longing for Tapas from Spain, Olives from Italy, Charcuterie from France, along with Terrines, Pate, Confit, Chorizo, Salamis, Jamon Serrano, Prisciutto di Parma, Jambon de Bayonne, Tapenades, Sundried, Semi-Sundried & Sun-blushed tomatoes.  And that’s just from Europe.  Those who explored Australia and Asia returned with an entirely different shopping list, they were exploring fusion cooking and looking for chillies, lemongrass, coconut milk, nam pla, kaffir lime leaves not to mention the spices of India, and what about those who ventured to South America & beyond?
Suffice it to say, it’s been a while since I’ve had a longing for a pastry case filled with a creamy chicken and mushroom filling.  Served as a starter or as a main this is scrumptious, nostalgic fare.  Great served with a side of salad leaves or boiled rice.  (You could posh this up by using cream instead of milk.)  For a dinner party consider making the filling the evening before and then reheating it on the night to fill freshly baked cases.
Serves 4 hungry people but could stretch to 5 perhaps! 
Chicken, Thyme & Mushroom Vol au Vent closer optYou will need:
Vol au Vent cases (freezer department – I used pack of 18 medium Jus-Rol)
50g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots
5 chicken breasts
160g medley of mushrooms (any)
2 tbsp flour
300ml milk
100ml water
2 tsp thyme
Pre-heat oven to 200C/ Gas Mark 6
Heat the oil and butter together in a frying pan over a medium heat.
Peel and finely chop the shallots and soften in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.
Place the vol au vent pastry cases in the oven and cook according to instructions on the pack.
Chop the chicken breasts into chunks and add to the pan with the thyme and cook for 10 minutes.
Rinse and chop up the mushrooms and add to the pan, cook for 2 minutes.
Add the 2 tbsp flour to the pan and stir to form a paste that coats the chicken and mushrooms, cook for a minute or 2.
Gradually stir in the milk and water and raise the heat until just under the boil and then reduce again.
Allow to thicken for 5 minutes more.
Fill the pastry cases with the chicken and mushroom filling. 
Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Dinner Party

Cranberry, Brie & Bacon Bites

Here we have some more easy to prepare festive nibbles, this time it’s Cranberry, Brie & Bacon Bites.  Again I’m using shop bought (freezer department) ready to use puff pastry sheets.  If you’re having a small,cosy gathering of 4 to 6 people then you could keep the pastry sheet intact and serve this as a tart for a main course with some dressed baby spinach leaves on the side.
Cranberry, Brie & Bacon Tart

The preparation for serving this as a tart is far quicker than if you create individual bites.  All you have to do is score an edge about 2cm in from the sides all the way around the pastry and brush this border with beaten egg.  Fill the tart as for the bites below.
You will need:
Brie Cheese
4 or 5 rashers
1 tbsp olive oil
Cranberry Sauce
Puff Pastry Sheets
Egg (to brush edge of pastry)
Large baking tray or two
Pre-heat the oven to 210C, Gas Mark 6/7
Heat the oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Chop up the rashers and cook gently for 5-10 minutes. 
Chop up the brie cheese.
Layout the pastry and use a knife to divide it into as many squares as you want.  I got 25 out of each sheet so 5 x 5.
Once you have cut the squares you then have to use your knife to score an inner narrow border around each one.  Like a frame on a picture this is the piece that will puff up nicely around each pastry.
Transfer the pastry squares to the baking tray.
Blob a little cranberry sauce in the centre of each square with a small spoon and spread it out.
Top with a piece of brie and a piece of bacon.
Beat the egg and use a pastry brush to glaze the border of each pastry square.
Bake in the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes until puffed up and golden.
Cranberry Brie & Bacon Tart Close up

Cranberry, Brie & Bacon Bites
Til next time, Sheila.