Babe-scott

3 Easy Entertaining Recipes

The Lazy Hostess Babe Scott shares her favourite easy finger food recipes – plus they’re a great way to use up leftovers (your guests will never know!).

Excerpt from The Lazy Hostess by Babe Scott. Published by Random House, RRP $29.95.

Jumping Jalapeños 

Makes 24

12 fresh jalapeño peppers, cut in half
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
12 thin slices streaky bacon, cut in half crosswise

1. Place toothpicks in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 15 minutes to prevent them from burning.

2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Cut stems off peppers and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs.

4. Fill each pepper half with cream cheese. Wrap each pepper half in a half-slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

5. Arrange on the baking sheet, seam side down. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven, flip, and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through.

You can assemble these the day before the party and keep them in the fridge, covered. Bake them just before the party.

entertaining2

Paris Stilton Crostinis

Makes 24

1 long baguette
Olive oil
80g (2 tbsp) apricot jam
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
24 dried figs, coarsely chopped
250g cream cheese, softened
110g Stilton
60g pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut baguette into ó cm slices and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. Brush the top of the crostinis with oil and bake for around 10 minutes until they are lightly toasted.

3. In a small saucepan, stir apricot jam and vinegar over low heat until blended. Stir in figs and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.

4. Mix cream cheese and Stilton with a fork or in a blender.

5. Spread a generous layer of cheese mixture on the crostinis. Top with 1 heaped teaspoon fig mixture and ó teaspoon chopped pecans.

6. Bake 3 to 5 minutes in the oven.

You can prepare these the morning of the party and bake just before your guests arrive. Serve warm.

Tip: An easier but still yummy option is simply to spread fig jam on a crostini. Put some blue cheese on top and serve cold.

entertaining3

Bourbon Beef Sliders

Makes 24

680g minced beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
120ml bourbon
250ml barbecue sauce
1/2 jar (200g) jalapeño slices
6 hamburger buns

1. Season beef with salt and pepper and form into 24 small patties.

2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the patties and cook until just about done in the middle: approximately 3 to 4 minutes each side. Remove the patties from the pan and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat and return the pan to the stove.

3. Add diced onions to the frying pan and stir to cook: about 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat before pouring in the bourbon (so it doesn’t catch fire).

4. Return to the heat and stir, reducing the bourbon by half: about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the barbecue sauce and jalapeño slices.

5. Reduce heat to low and place the patties in the bourbon barbecue sauce to simmer, turning to coat, for a few minutes to absorb the flavour.

6. Flatten the hamburger buns with a rolling pin and cut each into four pieces. Place each patty on a piece of bun, spoon on some sauce and top with another piece of bun.

You will need to cook these just before the party. Serve warm.

Tip: You can use turkey or chicken if you don’t want to use beef.

What are your go-to finger food recipes?

December 24, 2013

3 Easy Christmas Cocktail Recipes

Confused about which cocktails to serve with Christmas celebrations? Help is at hand. Babe Scott, a.k.a. The Lazy Hostess has created a few easy Christmas cocktails for every occasion so you can have a go-to arsenal of Christmas cheer up your sleeve at all times!

The Christmas Cosmo will have all your girlfriends giggling; The After Dinner Mint drink is the ideal ending for any festive meal; and a medicinal dose of the Merry Morning After will re-energise you and get you going for the next onslaught of festivities.

Merry Morning After – makes 1

25ml Cognac
Hot black coffee
Whipped cream
1 tsp sugar

Add Cognac to your coffee mug, fill with coffee and sweeten to taste.
Gently float whipped cream on to, sprinkle with grated chocolate, and serve.

ChristmasCosmoChristmas Cosmo – makes 1

35ml vodka
35ml cranberry
15ml amaretto

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Makes on serving.

* If you want to give your cocktail a festive feel, before pouring dip the rim of the glass in cranberry juice and edge with red sugar. You can make the red sugar simply by adding red food coloring to regular sugar in a sealed container shaking and letting sit for half and hour or so.

AfterDinnerMintcocktail

After Dinner Mint Cocktail – makes 1

35ml whole milk or heavy cream
15ml green crème de menthe
15ml oz crème de cacao

Shake all ingredients for 8 to 10 seconds, until blended, in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Strain and serve in a martini glass. If you like, dip the rim of the glass in crème de menthe and edge with chocolate sprinkles.

The Lazy Hostess is available in all good bookstores, RRP $29.95.

December 16, 2013

The Lazy Hostess’ Easy Hors d’Oeuvres Ideas

Self-styled kitchen vixen, Babe Scott, has just released her new book, The Lazy Hostess, the ultimate guide to getting you through the party season in style – without much fuss. It’s packed with practical and sassy tips, like these easy yet impressive hors d’oeuvres ideas that are perfect for cocktail parties, summer entertaining or for when unexpected guests drop in.

We think The Lazy Hostess would make a great Christmas present for your BFF, sister, mum or aunty.

Excerpt from The Lazy Hostess by Babe Scott. Published by Random House, RRP $29.95.

If you scour the contents of your fridge and pantry you might well be able to create an instant cocktail menu supplemented by a few items bought from the corner shop. For instance, there are any number of foodstuffs you can pair with toasted baguette slices to create yummy crostinis. Chances are you will also have at least some of the ingredients to create if not ‘Pigs in Pashminas’ then another doughy delight.

If you have leftover soup or even canned soup, you can heat it up and serve it warm (not scalding) in shot glasses. If it’s a chunky soup, put it in the blender until it’s smooth so your guests don’t encounter any choking hazards as they ‘shoot their soup’. Just make sure whatever soup you serve is seasoned well. You can add a dab of sour cream to roasted red pepper, butternut squash, pumpkin or mushroom soup for extra zing.

Make sure you also put out whatever snacks you have to hand. They don’t have to be fancy. I like the faithful old standbys that have been around since my grandmother was getting soused at her sneak-a-spot-of-sherry quilting club: pretzels, salty roasted peanuts, almonds or any mixed nuts. You can also offer bowls of plain potato crisps, Ritz crackers, Twiglets, breadsticks, olives or any other goodies you have on hand. In a fit of desperation, I’ve even been known to put out bowls of Froot Loops.

Delicious Dips

You can also create delicious dips from leftover packet soup. Just add a tub of sour cream to almost any packet soup: for instance, onion, mushroom, vegetable or tomato. Simply blend the sour cream and soup mixture together in a food processor and add salt and pepper to taste. If you are running short of sour cream, you can substitute yoghurt, cream cheese or even mayonnaise for up to a third of the sour cream.

Serve these dips with leftover vegetables cut into crudites, which is a fancy term for veggies cut into strips and served with dip. You can use baby sticks of carrot, celery, cucumber, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, and even spears of romaine lettuce.

There are also plenty of pre-made dips you can buy if you are pressed for time. Among my own personal faves are hummus, taramasalata and aubergine, but you can’t go wrong with any flavour that takes your fancy.

Just use your imagination and you won’t have to stretch your wallet or walk too far to create a mouthwatering menu.

Pimp your Popcorn

While plain old popcorn works a treat, you can add almost anything to it to give it a bit of zing. Just have a look at whatever herbs, spices and seasonings you have skulking around in your pantry and sprinkle them on to your popcorn after you’ve added some melted butter to help them stick.

The following are a few simple ways to give your popcorn some pizzazz.

First, you will need salted, butter-free, microwavable popcorn. Pop 225g of kernels for each recipe (which will make a party-sized bowl of popped popcorn). Then melt 60g of butter to coat it before adding the flavouring. As an option, you can also add 60ml of olive oil to lightly coat. Throw it all in a large bowl while warm and mix. You can also add some finely chopped chives or parsley to give some colour.

Parmesan Popcorn
40g grated Parmesan cheese
Toss with buttered popcorn

Mexican Style
1 tbsp fajita seasoning
Toss with buttered popcorn

Paprika Popcorn
1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Toss with buttered popcorn

Curry Popcorn
1 tsp curry powder
Toss with buttered popcorn

lazyhostess

November 25, 2013