If you haven't heard of Lesley Metcalfe yet, I can guarantee you'll be hearing a lot about her soon. She's one of the brains behind Wantfolio, an app that allows you to bookmark your most wanted items, styles, and inspirations in a visual portfolio. And they have a really cool blog too! Since she's kind of a lifestyle guru (albeit a very humble one) we thought she was the perfect person to lead a test kitchen segment about appetizers and entertaining.
Do you ever get tired of boring fruit plates, stale veggie trays, or parties with little to no food at all - cut to exasperated infomercial actor -? Lesley is going to show you how you can make 2 impressive appetizers and a mixed drink that are delicious, easy, and affordable. We borrowed inspiration from one of our favorite books, The Forest Feast Gatherings. You can read the full review with our girl Jessey here.
This recipe is free from all of the "big 8" allergens so it's a fantastic app to serve at a party, especially if your guests have diverse allergies or intolerances. We stayed true to how the recipe was presented in the cookbook but changed the final presentation. Lesley roughly chopped up cilantro, parsley, basil, dill, and mint. She then tossed it with good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Radicchio leaves made perfect serving vessels for these hand-held little salads. I can guarantee you've never had a more flavorful salad in your life!
For this recipe we really just used the Forest Feast cookbook as major #recipeinspo because I could not find a pre-made dairy-free puff pastry, nor could I find fig jam which was so annoying because once I had it in mind I was craving it SO BAD. Like seriously, what the fig?
I made pie crust a couple days beforehand and popped it in the fridge until we were ready to use it. I added poppy seeds to the dough because I felt like it, I really like poppy seeds, and it looks pretty too. For the full allergy-friendly recipe you'll have to pick up a copy of my book. Lesley cut the dough into 2 portions and rolled them roughly into circles. She spooned on some blackberry jam in lieu of fig and artfully placed sliced pears in the centre. Then she folded the dough up around the edges like a nice rustic pie. After baking at 420F for about 25 minutes they were golden brown and smelled unbelievable. For a party I suggest you make these in the morning and then just warm up and slice right before your guests arrive.
You can't have a cocktail party without a great cocktail! Lesley was the mix master, the alcohol architect, the cocktail DJ, [I'll stop] for the evening. She added equal parts prosecco and orange grapefruit juice to each glass and then topped them off each with a slice of fresh pink grapefruit and a sprig of mint to make them look classy AF. Mimosa's are a classic drink and are quite friendly to many allergies unless you are allergic to sulphites from the bubbly. We made them individually but for a large group I would suggest preparing a whole pitcher. And some for your guests.
If you're underage, ignore this whole segment immediately! Or just use ginger ale instead of prosecco and save this post for the day you turn 19. Or 21 for the American folks.
The final step to hosting a great party is to set the tone. Get the mood lighting going, create a centerpiece, pull out the nice dishes, and play your favorite music. Try using leaves as coasters like we did. Share your favorite creative tips with us by leaving a comment. But most of all surround yourself with great friends.
For more design and food inspiration remember to download Wantfolio and create your own board. Then turn off Netflix and clear your calendar because you'll be hooked.