Friday party trick: Pasta in a bag

November 27, 2009

Last week’s party trick was so much fun, that I think I’ll offer another!

I wish I could take full credit for this idea but truthfully, this picture appeared in Donna Hay magazine originally. When it was featured in her magazine, Donna’s team recommended popping cooked, lightly sauced pasta in a parchment pouch with raw seafood and then heating it gently to cook the shellfish and reheat the pasta.

I love this idea for entertaining since serving pasta to a crowd can be a rather steamy, messy affair that leaves the hostess’s hair either limp or frizzy. So, if you’re a pasta lover but don’t have perfectly bouncing and behaving locks but like to look good form company, this idea is for you!

Do you often serve pasta for company? If so, do you go for baked dishes like lasagna or brave the humidity and cook noodles in a vat of salted water?

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Gorgeous gourmet cupcakes

January 30, 2008

gourmetcupcakes.jpgCupcakes epitomize the food trends of personalization and portion control. In my last Topline Trends newsletter I wrote about how pull-apart “cupcake cakes” are trending up. These clusters of cupcakes, positioned in beguiling shapes, offer the visual impact of a whole cake but the serving ease of, well, cupcakes.

I’m a huge fan of cupcakes not just for kid’s parties where they are a brilliant choice that allows guests to be served quickly and easily, but also for more swish affairs. At my own 40th birthday I had a cupcake tree laden with gorgeous fluffy white cupcakes generously swathed in pink buttercream frosting. Likewise, cupcakes have become a popular feature at stylish weddings.

Recently the ProChef Smart Brief (an online aggregate newsletter for the foodservice industry conducted a poll where they asked chefs, “Would you consider adding cupcakes to a gourmet menu?” I was on the ‘yes’ side of the argument, as were over 70 per cent of respondents.

To the other 20+ per cent all I have to say is check out an Eini Cupcake— and yes, gentle readers, they taste as good as they look! — and think about revising your (wrong) answer.

Would you serve cupcakes at a formal party? Why or why not?