Miniature Feasts by Michael Harwood – review

Miniature Feasts Celebrated private chef Michael Harwood has years of experience catering to the smart party set from LA to San Moritz. “Standing up is the new sitting down” is a phrase that sums up the style of entertaining that is presented in this gorgeous book. The photography by Steve McCallum shows Michael’s food in amazing close-up.

Feeding people can be a dread or a delight but if you find some great recipes, some unique ideas and some fine ingredients then you are a long way down the road to throwing a bash that will be memorable for your friends and painless for you.

We are all more sophisticated these days, with higher expectations. Most of us will be a bit disappointed if we are invited to a party where the food consists of nothing more exciting than pizza bites, cocktail sausages and sausage rolls, all of which you recognise from the freezer shop – the same ones you use! Miniature Feasts is a tool that will enable you to give your friends a tapestry of taste and visual charm.

There is so much here that is innovative. Beer-battered Oysters with a shot of Bloody Mary will be sure to lend your soirée a classy edge. These little molluscs will be inviting to even your most squeamish guests. We all love anything deep-fried and this cooking method takes away the daunting prospect of chewing on anything slimy, alive and probably thinking.

If old habits are hard to break and you still feel the need for a sausage roll then Moroccan Spiced Lamb Sausage Rolls should fit the bill. They will give you the feeling of safe familiarity but elevate the humble original into something memorable. They are not difficult to produce as Michael has given you permission to use ready-rolled puff pastry. He obviously lives in the real world.

Miniature Feasts offers so many mouth-watering morsels but the highlight for me must be Little Shepherd’s Pies Topped with Lancashire Cheese Mash. This is such a traditional dish but presented in this way it becomes elegant finger-food. Imagine, dear reader, your favourite mid-week Sheperd’s Pie encased in an individual pastry case. A whole pie (OK, a miniature version thereof) to yourself. That’s got to seem like heaven for a good proportion of the population.

Miniature Feasts if full of ideas to inspire. There is so much that is simple and different. Soon you’ll have a reputation as the Queen of convivial catering or the King of crafty canapés!

Miniature Feasts
Author: Michael Harwood
Published by: The Book Guild
Price: £16.95
ISBN 1-84624-025-5


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018