Get the party started

Whatever kind of party you’re having, nibbles are more or less a must-have. Serve them early to help line those stomachs and your friends will love you even more.


Say cheese

a say cheese
Photo: Ten22 Studio

An array of paired cheeses served on standing stylish forks, styled by The TomKat Studio.


Ricotta Crostini

b ricotta

Photo: HonestlyYum

Slice loaves of French bread into 2cm slices. Toast in oven. Once they have cooled a bit, slather them with ricotta and garnish with a selection of combinations below – or your own.

  • hardboiled egg and chives
  • cucumbers, mint and dill
  • smoked salmon and dill
  • leeks caramelized in butter
  • strawberries and aged balsamic vinegar
  • extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and sea salt
  • radishes and sea salt
  • smoked salmon and dill
  • blueberries and honey
  • cucumbers, mint and dill
  • hazelnuts and apricot jam
  • tomatoes and basil pesto

Bacon-Wrapped Apricots with Sage

c bacon
Photo: Con Poulos

24 small fresh sage leaves

24 large dried apricots

8 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

toothpicks, for serving

Heat oven to 180°C. Place a sage leaf on each apricot, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Remove from oven and brush with the syrup. Serve with toothpicks.


Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto

d pears
Photo: Mikkel Vang

3 pears each cut into 8 wedges

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup rocket

Block blue cheese, cut into small pieces

100 mg thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

In a large bowl, toss the pears and lemon juice.

Layer a slice of pear, a rocket leaf and a piece of cheese on a piece of prosciutto and roll up.


Something a little more substantial

Because you just may need it later on… Two quick dishes you can serve straight from the pan.

Gnocchi with sundried tomatoes and white beans

e gnocci

Photo and recipe:

500g gnocchi

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

¼-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, diced

4 cups loosely packed spinach

540ml white beans, drained and rinsed

Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat.

Add the gnocchi and separate them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy.

Remove from pan.

Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3 or so minutes until soft (add additional olive oil if needed). Return the gnocchi to the pan and add the sundried tomatoes, spinach and white beans. Stir until spinach is wilted and everything is heated through.

Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Penne Arrabiata with Mozzarella and Chorizo

f penne
Photo and recipe:

500g penne pasta

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1T olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

200g chorizo, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 T tomato puree

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 t dried thyme – or 3 stalks of fresh thyme

1 heaped tsp of dried chilli flakes (to taste)

1 t sugar

1 ball mozzarella (approx 250g)

3 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

2 T chopped fresh chives

Cook pasta until al dente.

In a large pan, heat oil, fry garlic, onion and peppers until soft. Add chorizo and cook for a further few minutes until it starts to darken. Now add garlic, tomato puree, and after a minute add canned tomatoes, thyme, chilli flakes and sugar. Bring it to a gentle bubble and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the drained pasta into the sauce when ready to serve. Stir in the mozzarella chunks, heat for a further minute and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle with a little parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped chives.


Get the party going

Families that play together stay together!

– a point-and-shoot camera with a flash and a self-timer. Ideally use a cheap one.
– a bunch of friends

Set the self-timer and the game begins. Each player must hold the camera at arm’s length and point it at themselves very briefly (like a selfie), before passing it on to their left. Keep going, until eventually the camera goes off with a flash of light, and much laughter. Check out the shot before starting again. Great for FB and for sharing.

g shoot



h nightcap
Photo and recipe:

Perfect partner to a late night coffee – slices of naartjie dunked in chocolate… with sea salt sprinkled on top.

5 naartjies, in segments

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate,

sea salt or coarse salt

1 tsp butter

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

In a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate slowly. Add teaspoon of butter.

Dip each naartjie segment halfway into the melted chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and repeat until all slices are evenly coated and sprinkled with salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.


Morning after SOS – how to feel human again

Indulged a bit more than you intended too perhaps? Too late to cry over spilt milk, but before the milk is completely spilt, the golden rule:

Have a glass of water between every glass of alcohol, and have a jug of water before going to bed.

If that didn’t help quite enough, here are a few more ways to make 1 Jan a good one.

  • Water
  • Sprite
  • Bananas and Pretzels
  • Coffee and an Aspirin
  • Greasy Grub