[This post is written as part of the Tesco Orchard programme, I was provided with a money off voucher to try the products below]
We stayed in Poole for Christmas this year, meaning that the weekend before was free for entertaining rather than travelling. We decided to host an open house party for our friends in the area and had about 20 people turn up for various parts of the afternoon and evening.
I’m always nervous in the run up to a party that we will not have enough or the right type of food available for everyone coming. This time though, I was more than prepared. I decided to bake the sweet items myself, so I made Gingerbread biscuits, mince pies and Peppermint cupcakes.
The savoury items, apart from the normal bread sticks, dips and crisps and a loaf of Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan bread (one of our friends has previous of sitting in the corner of the room quietly eating most of a loaf of this scrumptious stuff!) were to be pre-made party food, some from the Tesco Finest range, some from Tesco’s normal range.
The Tesco Finest range looked lovely. I had a look online to start with and really wanted to get a tear and share bread and cheese ring. I can’t explain it exactly as I can’t find it online now I’m writing this, but it’s worth a mention as it was heavily advertised as a Christmas party food item, and was available in my local store two weeks before Christmas, but had disappeared from the shelves by the time I went to buy our party food on the 18th December. In fact, what I found a little weird in general was the large range and supply available in early December, and how little was available by the time we were throwing our party. Apparently their party food can be bought and frozen, but we don’t have a freezer big enough for that sort of malarkey!
My overall impression is that it is generally a very solid range, with good quality ingredients and put together well. It all cooks at the same temperature (other Tesco party food does too) meaning that it was a doddle to prepare a few items at once. They also came out of the oven looking like the pictures on the packaging so that also pleased me. We will definitely buy the pies and the prawn items again and will probably try out some other bits too.
I eventually chose three items from the chilled department and three from the frozen section:
Scotch Steak and Cornish Real Ale Mini Pies
These looked fabulous, smelled fantastic and tasted gorgeous. Definitely our favourite of the lot. They had just the right amount of filling to make sure they satisfied but weren’t messy to eat.
These went down very well – I wasn’t able to try them actually as they were gone by the time I came back from the kitchen with the next plate of goodies, but I was informed that they were tasty!
Crispy Wrapped King Prawn Selection
These were also very tasty and had the perfect amount of crunch to them.
Frozen Oriental Prawn Nests
The Prawn nests were a bit of a puzzle because until we tasted them, we couldn’t figure out what the nest was and once we’d tasted them we still weren’t totally sure – most thought it was “crisps” In any case they were another winner and all went within minutes.
Frozen Smoked Scottish Salmon Blinis
Another plate that emptied quickly – the one thing to note about these is that I had fleeting thoughts before the morning of the party that it’d be a bit weird to bake smoked salmon blinis. I was right and they required defrosting in the fridge for 3 hours. Fine for us, because it was useful to have food available later in the day.
Frozen Marscapone Parmesan Canapes
Until we broke these canapes out, I was under the impression that the Finest party range was pretty much fail-safe. I was wrong. Unfortunately no one enjoyed these cheesy treats and they were the only item of the day to be discarded at the end of the party.