An autumn lunch for five – punch, pizza, pastrami and parcels

What beats a day with friends that you have known for more than 30 years?

I had the pleasure of sending my husband off for a 3-day outdoor music festival (camping, no showers, portable toilets… with heavy rain and thunderstorms all weekend … “see you later darling, and enjoy your weekend of rain, mud, rancid smells and drunken idiots“). Unfortunately for him, my facebook update that read “husband gone to music festival, check, the weekend is mine” was read to him from an iPhone not 5 minutes after he left our home.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband dearly… but time alone with the dog to potter (I am the queen of pottering), a night with my great friend from interstate and her gorgeous baby boy, then a day entertaining old (as in long-term, not grey and wrinkly) friends is my idea of bliss.

I was not in the slightest bit tempted to join my husband,  instead cooked up a feast for my wonderful friends – the ‘P’ feast…which consisted of Punch, Pizza, Pastrami and Parcels…

On the day I was inspired to make a very last minute
simple punch for my guests (which they all LOVED). All you need for this is:

– 1 bottle of dry ginger soft drink 1.25lts, although I prefer to use ginger beer (it has more of a zing to it)
– 1 bottle  of apple and blackcurrant juice
– 1 large can of canned fruit salad
– 1 punnet of strawberries (cut in quarters)

Pastrami and cream cheese canapes

Such a simple canape to prepare. You will need:

  • Pastrami (preferably buy a whole piece of pastrami, uncut, you can then cut thicker)
  • Garlic bagel crisps (small round pieces of bagel toasted – you will find them in the biscuit section of the supermarket)
  • Cream cheese
  • Small spinach leaves
  • Fresh Thyme

Make these just before your guests arrive or the cream cheese will make the bagel crisps go a little soft. Lay the bagel crisps out on the serving plate. Spread each one generously with cream cheese. Place a neat and clean small spinach leaf on top of the cream cheese. Overlay 2 pieces of pastrami on the spinach leaf. Place a small sprig of fresh thyme on to of the pastrami as garnish (the thyme serves a greater purpose than just garnish, it adds an amazing flavour to the canape)

Pizza – caramelised onion, potato and feta
2 thin pizza bases (found in the bread section of the supermarket)
2 medium brown onions (finely sliced)
3 potatoes finely sliced (uncooked)
2 garlic gloves (finely sliced)
100g feta
1 large sprig of rosemary finely chopped
Butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 180C. Brown the onions in a frypan with some butter and olive oil (add salt and pepper to taste). Once soft and well browned, spread the onions evenly over the 2 pizza bases. Cover the 2 pizza bases with the thinly sliced potato. Sprinkle the finely sliced garlic, feta and chopped rosemary over the 2 pizzas. Drizzle the 2 pizzas with olive oil.

Place in oven and cook for 15 -20 minutes. If not brown, continue cooking until ingredients start to brown. To serve chop the pizza into small pieces to serve as a canape.

Parcels – Chicken and Asparagus

1 leek finely sliced
1 garlic clove crushed
500g chicken breast fillets (thinly sliced)
1 bunch asparagus finely sliced
200g ricotta cheese (use low fat option if you prefer)
1/2 cup of grated cheese (use low fat option if you prefer)
Spray oil or melted butter
1 box filo pastry (don’t buy from freezer, instead buy fresh from fridge)
Sesame seeds for garnish (not essential)

Pre heat over to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Brown the leek with some butter in a fry-pan, when soft add the garlic and continue cooking. Add the chicken pieces, cook until lightly brown. Add the asparagus and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl. Drain any excess liquid from the bowl (liquid will make the filo pastry go soggy and break open, so ensure the mixture is as dry as possible). Add the ricotta and cheese and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the parcels use 3 sheets of filo per parcel. Use spray oil or melted butter between each sheet, make sure you cover each sheet with oil or melted butter before placing another on top. Place a line of chicken mixture about 5cm from the end of the pastry sheet (running along the short end of the pastry leaving some pastry at the top and bottom of the line of chicken mixture). Ensure the amount you use for each parcel will allow you to make the number of parcels you require, and that they are not too big for one person. Fold the 5cm of pastry on the short end, over the chicken mixture, and continue to roll the parcel over 2 more times. Fold the 2 opposite ends of pastry in over the chicken mixture, then continue to roll the parcel to the end of the pastry. Coat the last part of the filo pastry with oil or butter to help it stick to the parcel. Place the parcel on the lined baking tray, paint the top with butter or oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

I served these with a garden salad using my basil and lime vinaigrette dressing.

One of my friends is a super cook, and baked an amazing lemon slice – so I was off the hook for dessert. We didn’t really have much room for dessert, but continued to stuff our faces anyway!

I must say these parcels have created a slight obsession with filo pastry – I think I am in love with it…


One response to “An autumn lunch for five – punch, pizza, pastrami and parcels”

  1. […] Above – pastrami on garlic bagel recipe via Hey Bernice […]

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