Quick and easy buffet

15/04/2014 § 2 Comments


Shopping list (from Aldi):

  • unsmoked gammon joint (small)
  • pasty vegetables: 2 leeks, 6 new potatoes, 1 sweet potato, 1 large carrot 
  • 1 pack smoked mackerel fillets
  • cucumber (though you’ll only use about 1″ thinly sliced)
  • 1 tub low fat cream cheese
  • large knob of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 packs bruschetta (tomato & garlic varieties)
  • 1 tub pate – whatever you fancy
  • 1 tub olives
  • pack cocktail tomatoes
  • 1 packet of wholemeal bread rolls
  • 1 pack pastrami beef
  • spring onions and iceberg or other lettuce/watercress
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1 bar chocolate (I prefer milk)
  • 1 tub double cream
  • 1 pack raspberries
  • icing sugar – you’ll only use about 2 oz
  • fairy cakes ingredients: soft margarine, eggs, SR flour, caster sugar, icing sugar
  • treats – we had chocolate buttons & bunnies, mini eggs, mini marzipan eggs and a couple of packets of fav biscuits (I love pink wafers)!

Shopping list from AN Other supermarket:

  • 2 packs Jus Rol shortcrust pastry in a block (not pre-rolled)
    I’ve tried supermarket own brand pastry and found it’s greasy and generally ugh. Although slightly more expensive, Jus Rol is the best I’ve used.  I keep a couple of blocks in the freezer, ready for emergency pasty-making!

I’ve listed fairy cake and pasty vegetables as you’ll probably have some of them already, as I did when I investigated the back of the larder and veg rack!  Cocktail sticks are also fun though I forgot them and we used our fingers!

Preparing the buffet (morning) all this took me about an hour:

  1. Put ham on to boil gently for an hour or so. I usually soak the ham first, but there’s no need if time if short.  When cooked, fish out the gammon joint and KEEP THE LIQUID in the saucepan.
  2. Put a selection of veg through slicing attachment in food processor or slice by hand so they all cook quickly.  I added a sprinkle of herbs too.  Let them boil in the ham liquid until cooked, then strain and leave on one side to cool.
  3. Take shortcrust pastry out of fridge to reach room temperature.
  4. Bake fairy cakes – I used a 6 oz/4 egg mixture, but everyone has their favourite recipe so I’ll leave the detail to you.  I made 18 cakes but only 16 got to be decorated (BOYS!) I’ll say no more!!!  Set cooked cakes aside to cool.
  5. Chop up the ham into smaller pieces (keep a bit aside to slice for your lunch – it’s delicious) then using blade attachment in food processor, give it a blast.  Or chop up into smallish pieces by hand.  I like my ham looking like breadcrumbs.  Set aside till later.
  6. Mackerel pate:  remove skin and obvious bones. Pop roughly flaked fillets into food processor with blade and whizz.  Add half tub cream cheese, 1 tsp mustard and a tbsp of double cream.  Add butter and whizz until smooth.  Pop pate into a bowl, squeeze in juice of half lemon, generous grinding of black pepper and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Cover with cling film and pop into fridge.
  7. Cake icings:  
    chocolate ganache – melt 200 g chocolate and 200 ml double cream GENTLY over low heat, stirring as you go.  When chocolate has melted, whisk thoroughly and pop into basin, covered with cling film for at least 2 hrs (it will set even though it looks runny)
    cream cheese icing – whisk remaining half tub cream cheese, drop of double cream and squeeze of lemon with as much icing sugar as you need to make a soft icing (this will also stiffen up a bit in the fridge).  Cover and pop into fridge.

Finishing the buffet – start about an hour before:

Preheat oven 200 degrees

  1. make pasties:  combine strained veg and ham in a large bowl and mash up a bit. Adjust seasoning if necessary but it’ll probably be salty enough. Roll out pastry on floured worktop, cut around a small plate then wet the edge of each circle. Pop a dollop of veg/ham mixture into centre then stick together and crimp. Brush with a beaten egg, pop onto non-stick baking tray and cook for about 20 mins (until they smell delicious and look golden brown).  Place on cooling rack until you’re ready to stack them up onto a plate.
  2. decorate fairy cakes:  spread half the cakes with chocolate ganache and half with cream cheese icing.  Decorate each with a few raspberries and some chocolate buttons. Pop back into fridge until you’re ready to dust them with icing sugar and place on cake stand.
  3. make rolls using pastrami beef, spring onions, lettuce & watercress – you can find all sorts of other ideas online but we like ours quite plain.  Cut each roll in half and stack them up.  Cover in cling film until ready to eat.
  4. pop tortilla chips, olives and mini eggs etc into pretty dishes.

Dressing the table – takes about 10 mins:

  1. plates, napkins, cocktail sticks for olives
  2. stack fairy cakes onto stand and add a few chocolate treats inbetween
  3. spread bought-in pate or mackerel pate onto bruschettas and decorate with half slice of cucumber and a halved olive
  4. stack up mini pasties and decorate plate with some watercress or cocktail tomatoes


Feed dog then put dog in charge of ‘defence of kitchen’ (against lightning strikes by hungry boys).  If dog is already full of food then there’s less chance she’ll pinch anything!  Brush hair (mine, not dog), adjust lipstick, remove pinny, change t-shirt and you’re ready to party!

If you’re a good planner, then you could make pasties and cakes well ahead and freeze them.  I only decided to do a ‘buffet’ at about 10 am and then went shopping!  So I’ve written this post so that I can remember roughly what I did and in what order, even though I made it up as I went along!  It all worked out fine, there was plenty for 6 of us.  I made 15 mini pasties and they were all devoured!

I guess it would make a good picnic too if you took the pate in tubs and spread it onto bruschettas as and when – yeah – I feel an Easter picnic coming on!

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Adaliza x


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§ 2 Responses to Quick and easy buffet

  • Auntie SHAN says:

    You sound like you’re “channelling” my Sister and her “Parties”! – Except, her Guests have a nasty habit of showing up a half hour EARLY! – NO time for lipstick or a “brush”!

    oh. BTW, Happy [belated] Anniversary!


  • adaliza says:

    Belated wishes to your Mum and Dad too. I hope they had a lovely time. My ‘problem’ was that the family were here all through the day, saw the goodies being created and were pinching nibbles and grazing all through the day – fun though!


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