The ubiquitous summer buffet may seem carefree, but most of us have been reduced to a cold sweat at the mere thought of putting together giant bowls of delicious salads and cold meats. When we heard the good people at Robyn’s Nest Cookery School in Swords, Co Dublin were putting on a course devoted to catering events like communions, confirmations and family get togethers, we jumped at the chance to pester head honcho Linda for her top tips.
Plan, Plan And Plan Some More!
Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to make changes at the last minute as this is a sure road to disaster! You should aim for three substantial salads, two mains, one of which should be hot and three desserts.
Don’t Be A Martyr
Be realistic and stay in your comfort zone. Cook recipes that you know work and don’t be tempted to try something new or very complicated. If someone offers to bake a cake or make a salad say yes and smile – it’s one less job for you.
Locate The Bar
Have a separate drinks table with a designated bar person. Accept all offers of help on the night and if your budget runs to it hire someone to serve and tidy up.
Set The Scene
A vase or two of pretty flowers, candles for evening time, some suitable music (played not too loud) are all you need to set the scene for the perfect event.
Prep and plan ahead
Make your shopping list
Cook/bake as much as possible in advance
Hire/borrow extra crockery & cutlery
Fuss or panic
Cook food at the last minute
Try and do it all yourself
Buy or make good salad dressings
Use chargrilled veg in jars for salads and platters
Onion marmalade goes well with Bruschetta
Use ready-made puff pastry to make quick and easy mustard and Gruyere batons
Buy washed salad leaves
Ready-made tartlet cases are a must
The Ultimate Buffet Menu
Bruschetta topped with onion marmalade and soft creamy goats cheese
Salmon and roasted red pepper en croute
Pasta salad with spinach and toasted pine nuts
Potato salad with spring onions
Roast red peppers filled with slow roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves
Raspberry and lemon curd roulade
Coffee and walnut tray bake
Robyn’s Nest are running their class, Summer Buffet – Bit Of A Do on 9th April & 12th May 2014 at 7.30pm. The class will showcase canapés, main dishes and desserts all worthy of a crowd. The course lasts two hours and costs €40. To reserve your place, log onto their website.