So last weekend we had a party, and of course, I made some food. However, I didn’t actually want to have a party. I wanted to come home and fall into a coma and forget that anything beyond my bedroom existed. You see, right now I’m working 2 jobs in addition to an unpaid internship, obsessing over this blog (aka my precious) and I just ended a very important if slightly dysfunctional friendship with someone very important to me. So I wasn’t so much in the lampshade- and toga- wearing mood when Saturday night arrived. However, my flatmate had been wanting to have one for months, she had invited people weeks in advance, and she really asked nothing of me except that I show up.
To keep myself occupied (and to go 1 step beyond simply showing up), I put myself in charge of the food (as any alpha would do). This helped me feel like I wasn’t leaving my poor flatmate in the lurch and I could meditatively process my week and de-stress by spending some quality creative time in my kitchen.
Remember this post? The one where I got a little bit too excited about 4 slightly orange cherry tomatoes? Well, I decided not to simply save them for my own late night covetous consumption, but to spread the love and use them in Pea Puree Crostini with Parma Ham. I was also inspired to make a pea puree since our freezer was full of no less than 5 bags of peas, and I was broke and didn’t want to buy anything more than I had to at the grocery store.
The pea puree was inspired by Joanna’s Food and it really was awesome. I crowned each individual crostino with a quarter of my pretty cherry tomatoes, and I was really impressed with how well the basil worked with the slightly sweet mushy peas. I don’t really know if this should be considered a crostino, a tapa, a pintxo or just plain delicious, either way I got numerous compliments on them throughout the evening. Which was nice, but I was too busy eating them myself to hear much of the fanfare (mine mine all mine!!).
The next thing I made was an all-time family favourite, a shout-out to my mom – smoked oyster spread with crackers. My mom has been making this spread since I was about 4 (or at least thats the first time I remember eating it. I had no idea what an oyster was, but I knew that oysters+cream cheese=YUM. I will obsessively eat anything with cream cheese, so I suppose it makes sense that I’ve always loved this spread – but the guests (and my flatmate K) loved it as well. It had to be hidden before the party began to ensure there was still enough to serve to guests.
And the party? Well, it was fine. People came, they laughed, I laughed, they left. My window-box of chives seems to have been the only casualty – which is OK, cause I also have an indoor pot. I tried my best to be cheery and crazy, but in the end I went to bed before all of the guests had left. What is the saying? Ah yes – every party has a pooper, and that’s why we invited you (in this case, me.)
Pea Puree Crostini
1 baguette, sliced and toasted in the oven
2 cloves garlic (1 for the puree, one for the toast)
2 cups of peas, cooked
1 handful fresh basil
4 tbsps grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp olive oil
Parma ham, torn into baguette sized pieces
approx 1 cup parmesan cheese for topping
cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters, for garnish
In a mixer, blitz the peas, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and olive oil until it becomes a slightly chunky paste.
After toasting the bread, assemble the crostini by first rubbing the toast with a clove of garlic, placing in turn Parma ham, a spoonful of pea puree, cherry tomato and more Parmesan cheese. Broil them in the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Makes approximately 20 crostini.
Smoked Oyster Spread
1 package cream cheese
1 tin smoked oysters
1 quarter of a lemon, squeezed
1 dash Tabasco
freshly ground black pepper
Drain the oil from the smoked oysters and place them in a bowl. Mash them with a fork until they are slightly chunky, add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and Tabasco. Mix briefly then add the cream cheese and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Serve with whole wheat crackers or rye toast.