Hi! Welcome to my blog. I am a major foodie, with a haphazard cooking philosophy, currently making that transition from cooking and baking for friends and family to 'wonder if I could make this my career'. Follow me for recipes, the outcomes of a few experiments, and general lovely foodiness. Opinions, reviews and recommendations are all my own.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Useful Tips for Party Planning

Before Christmas I had a call from a very dear friend of mine, who asked if I would cater for his 30th birthday party. Needless to say, with my usual over-exuberance and refusal to say no to anyone I agreed on the spot. He explained he was expecting about 50 people, and left the rest to me. I have to say I found the whole process incredibly rewarding. I spoke to a few people I know who had catered officially in the past, picked up a few tips, and set about planning. 

For someone totally new to the game, these are the best tips I picked up, and are the definite rules I would apply if I were to do a similar event again.

1. Start with a basic calculation of 8 items per person to decide how much food to make.
2. Create a long list of possible items to include. Discuss with the party host, and narrow down to 6 - 8 items.
3. Take into consideration how much storage space you have, whether it is possible to keep food hot or if you need to provide a cold selection. Ensure if you are including cold meats such as chicken that you have the facility to keep refrigerated until as close to the event as possible.
4. Check your figures. I used Tesco online to search for an make a note of the prices of all the ingredients I would need for the event to make sure that everything came within budget. 
5. Plan ahead. Before you start cooking and baking on the day, make a list of everything that needs to be done, and prioritise. For example, I marinaded my chicken and wrapped my pigs in blankets the night before to get a head start on the big day. 
6. If you are including sandwiches, leave these until the absolute last minute possible, so that they stay as fresh as possible.
7. A little garnish goes a long way, sprinkle a little roughly chopped flat leaf parsley across all dishes gives it a professional flourish!

I have to say I was really pleased with the end result. Everything was ready on time, I came in within budget, and there was plenty of food to serve all the party guests - success methinks! 

What are your experiences with party planning? I'd love to hear any tips or examples from you all? 

The Menu:

Brie and Cranberry Tartlets
Feta and Pepper Tartlets
Parmesan and Poppy Seed Twists
Sausage Rolls
Mini Cheese and Mustard Scones
Chicken Skewer Selection (Tikka, Chinese Style and Roasted)
Selection of Sandwiches
Tortilla Chips and Salsa

There was of course, an obligatory cake as well! I made this as a special extra, and it was huge! The shirt is 18 inches in depth! I took great care in getting this as accurate as possible, especially as it is the back of the shirt, and doesn't have the Man Utd logo. I was particularly proud of the hand painted Red Devil, and Premiership lions...

Manchester United Football Shirt Cake

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