What do Cosmopolitans and Terracotta Warriors have in common?
They were both key ingredients of Katia's Cocktails and Cookies party last Friday.
Here is a recipe for you to try a Cookies and Cocktails party:
1. Invite friends, as few or as many as you and your house can take.
2. Ask the friends to bring 36
cookies biscuits (gotta to keep the British biscuit alive) to share.
3. You, as the host, provide appetisers/ savoury tasters/ and cocktails (Katia served delicious Cosmopolitans and Mojitos).
4. When guests arrive, take one biscuit from their plate and add to the tasting station you have set up.
5. Ask 3 or 4 willing helpers to taste all the cookies and decide on winners.You choose the categories, they could be: best appearance, most creative, most unique, healthiest, most decadent? Have fun and maybe give your guests a hint in the invite, so they know how to
play cook it.
6. Arrange everyones dishes of biscuits on a table - large if you have lots of guests.
7. When everyone has had a chance to mingle, sip a cocktail or two and nibble something savoury, gather together and starting with yourself - recount something that was difficult about your baking.
(This was the funniest collection of stories ever and ranged from Fanny burning 8 of her 36 and having to make a new mix, to others whose baking skills were nonexistent and resorted to the local french bakery for beautiful macaroons)
8. Before leaving, everyone is invited to take or one two biscuits to take home. So at the end of the evening you have a delicious mix of Christmas cookies to enjoy over the coming week. As the host, you could provide a little bag for guests or they just use the plate they brought with them.
9. The evening was so much fun because it was not focussed on trying to outdo each other with culinary skills. Let's face it, Katia had made over 50 impeccably iced Terracotta Warriors - so not even going to try to go there. (Why terracotta warriors, you ask? We live in China!)
Katia is someone who never does things by halves and there was a feeling of trepidation before I arrived. When I laid my amateurishly iced christmas trees next to the Terracotta Army I wished I had not done gingerbread. (I actually brought Pfefferkuchen and Lebkuchen, making both as I was not sure which recipe would turn out well!)
There's nothing like a Cosmopolitan and a funny story to help you relax. Hearing how some people had never baked before today, googled "Cookie recipe" and couldn't understand how they could cream butter and sugar when there was no cream in the recipe. Or Tamara's description when she had come to Katia's for the first time, having used a packet mix and passed it off as a recipe of "Great, Great Grandma Betty Crocker." It may have had the non-bakers fooled but the rest rolling with laughter at her quick thinking and inventiveness.
Gina had started 3 days early, knowing of Katia's high standards. The first batch of gingerbread she baked was too hard, the second was even harder but the third batch was just perfect ... because she bought them from the bakery!
Being Asian, "So I can't bake," was the start of several friends stories, one had persuaded her husband to bake for her and another had coaxed a friend to help out. This gingerbread family impressed me and many others - but the neat icing was soon recognised as coming from the local bagel shop. We are a small community, so no one could really hoodwink anyone else by buying them.
Have you been to any christmas cooke exchanges this year? I would love to hear your backstory.
Bet there weren't any Terracotta Warriors!
Getting together with friends in the weeks before Christmas is such a treat,
don't let 2010 go by without inviting someone round -
doesn't matter whether it's baked or bought -
connecting is what is important.