This is an amusing book that offers tiny food. You will likely not have heard of that term, but think bite-sized portions of a whole variety of dishes, including some that you didn’t ever think could be reduced to one or two mouthfuls.
Tiny Food Party offers suggestions for tiny food, but the party can be for as many people as you like. Most sophisticated gatherings these days have trays of delicate, attractive and delicious nibbles that can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace while talking to one’s friends and sipping champagne (or beer or cola or Continental mineral water). Food helps to create an ambiance.
Jenny Park is a food stylist, Teri Lyn Fisher is a photographer and their professional partnership has resulted in a delightful volume that offers practical recipes for small bites that taste as good as they look. This isn’t just food for posh ladies at cocktail parties, although there is plenty that will tempt those demanding palates.
There are nibbles in Tiny Food Party that range from the dainty and beautiful to the robust and substantial. There are finger foods for every occasion, from the smartest of gatherings when you might want to impress your guests, to those evenings when you want a variety of well-presented snacks that will look more complicated than they really are.
There are four main chapters: Tiny Snack Party, Tiny Dinner Party, Tiny Dessert Party, Tiny Cocktail Party – a delicious spread, but the authors won’t mind if you mix and match. Think of these petite dishes as additions to your meze or tapas repertoire. Baby Bolinhos de Bacalhau wouldn’t be out of place in the smartest of bars in Portugal. The recipe takes advantage of flavourful salt cod. Don’t try making this with regular cod: it needs the distinct taste and texture of the preserved fish.
Pajeon are in the Snacks section but they are refined enough to be included in the Cocktail chapter as well. These miniature shrimp pancakes are Korean and exotic without being over-spiced – the punch comes from the dipping sauce. The filling can be changed if you want to create a vegetarian pancake. The batter is simple and can be made in advance.
The Dinner Party menu suggests some small but rib-sticking options ideal for those times when a cheese straw would never be enough. Baby Shepherds Pies are a take on a traditional family favourite. Change that minced lamb to beef and you have the ever-popular Cottage pie. They taste just like the original but a pastry case keeps your fingers clean.
Dessert must be part of any balanced diet and Mini Mochi Ice Cream Balls will likely be new to your guests. The mochi wrapper contains green tea powder and are a Japanese sweet or dessert. It’s a confection that is prized just as much for its texture as its taste, and the addition of green tea ice cream makes this event finale still more striking.
Tiny Food Party has a wealth of ideas for imaginative miniature dishes. It will inspire you to come up with your own recipes. There is nothing too taxing, making this a book not only for the experienced home cook but it might even encourage youngsters into the kitchen. A gift to be welcomed by anybody who entertains at home – and the festive season will soon be with us!
Tiny Food Party
Authors: Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher
Published by: Quirk Books
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018