Since selling our old apartment and moving into a newer rental, we had some adjustments to make. Although two bathrooms and two bedrooms is a definite upgrade, we actually lost almost one hundred square feet of space! So long dining room table, hello three bar stools at the kitchen counter. To be honest, most nights the two of us ate in front of the TV anyway, so no big loss there, but when it came to entertaining we had to be creative. No more sit down dinners with friends and family! Here are a few ideas for how to entertain in a smaller space.
Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day
I would have loved to host a formal lunch for Mother’s Day this year, but in our new apartment that just wasn’t an option. Instead, I put together an afternoon tea for the family! We had my favourite Fortnum and Mason blend of black tea, iced green tea lemonade and gourmet tea sandwiches and treats. Our wedding china finally got some use as it was pulled out of storage for the afternoon. We purchased a beautiful three-tiered tea tray and the china tea pot was borrowed from my mother-in-law.
Gourmet Tea Sandwiches:
– Egg Salad – hard boiled eggs, mayo, fresh chives, mustard, salt & pepper on White Bread
– Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese & Fresh Dill on Whole Wheat Bread
– Cucumber Mint with Cream Cheese on Whole Wheat bread
– Ham & Swiss Cheese on Marbled Rye
– Shortbread cookies
– Homemade Poppy Seed Scones
Recipe for Green Tea Lemonade:
– Tazo Green Tea Bags
– Juice of 4 Lemons
– ½ cup Granulated Sugar
– ½ cup Water
To create the simple syrup, bring granulated sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens, stirring frequently. Let cool.
Bring water to boil in a kettle. Place 3 green tea bags in a large bowl or pitcher and pour boiling water over them. Brew on the strong side and let cool.
Combine cooled green tea, simple syrup and lemon juice together in pitcher with lots of ice cubes and stir. Store in fridge until ready to serve. Add extra ice cubes to individuals glasses before pouring.
Test as you go and adjust portions to taste.
Wine & Cheese Party
As mentioned in a previous post, we hosted a wine and cheese party over the summer. Although the idea was for it to be a cocktail type evening with people gathering in all rooms of our apartment, we had a smaller turn out then expected and everyone ended up gathering in the living room. Quality cheese and meat products were served with wonderful accompaniments like slices of apple, grapes, olives, honey, pickles and lots of bread and crackers. Everyone brought their own drinks and we had a nice selection of wines and imported beers.
It turned out to be a wonderful, intimate setting and with the appetizer like set-up, the dining room table wasn’t missed!
Hors d’oeuvres for Dinner
Grazing on appetizers is one of my favourite ways to eat, and with limited space it’s much more convenient to set up buffet style along the kitchen island and nibble away.
Whip up some stuffed mushrooms – clean, remove stems. Combine parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, chopped up stems, cream cheese and green onions. Place mixture in the centre of the mushroom heads, throw in the oven at 425 and bake until heated through (8-10 minutes).
Bake some garlic – remove outer skin of one head of garlic. Cut off the top portion of the bulb, leaving each clove exposed but the bulb intact. Place on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from foil. Cloves should feel soft and spreadable. Serve with crusty French baguette.
Cook some sweet and sour meatballs, right from the frozen section of your grocery store. Serve using toothpicks.
Veggies round out a heavier menu– serve with a light dip.
Mix up the beverage selection as well for a more laid back feeling with Sangria or Mojitos!
Try fruit kabobs with chocolate dip or chocolate fondue for dessert.