If you are planning a wedding, and wanting to do as much of the work yourself, then this book should be the one you buy! Perfect Parties aims to “empower people with the confidence to entertain in a stress-free manner and to host successful and memorable occasions”. The first step after getting engaged is planning an engagement party. Perfect Parties will help you with themes and tips on special touches. After your engagement party you will have a bridal shower and for this, and a baby shower, Janet tells you to look for inspiration which is all around you. The refreshing party punch (p127) will suit any celebratory event. Next is planning and executing a wedding to remember which begins with how to actually plan a wedding and how to choose the food. Having done every part of our wedding except actually cooking the food, I can tell you that it can be quite stressful if you don’t have a plan of action. In my opinion, the countdown listed is the most important part of the wedding planning. Janet also gives ideas on wedding favours and table seating plans. Even though I am not involved in any wedding planning right now, I will be making the hot chocolate delight (p154).
The book begins with general guidelines for any type of party which includes a plan of action and countdown. Then various parties are listed, with the first being tea is served. Here you will find various menu options and décor ideas. I already have the angel food cake (p20) on my list of recipes to make this year. The Swedish-inspired spiced apple cake (p24) caught my eye as well. A birthday party includes advice on how to make a novelty cake and ideas for piping. Perfect Parties ends with basic recipes and techniques which includes information on nozzles that shows the actual nozzle and how it pipes. As I still need to work on my piping skills, this is most useful to me.
The Swiss chocolate mousse cake (p72) sounds delectable. In entertaining to impress without stress Janet gives the key tip to keep it simple. She includes the do’s and don’ts of table settings. I so want to make the Karoo lamb drizzled with honey and herbs (p88) as well as the cheesy potato gratin (p92). This chapter is followed on by picnic pleasers and here you can read tips on how to find the perfect picnic spot. Janet also gives you a picnic packing check list which for someone like me who never goes on a picnic, would prove quite useful were we to do so.
Even if we don’t go on a picnic I would make the home-made Scotch eggs (p107) and the crunchy broccoli salad with balsamic glaze (p109). A good Sunday afternoon braai would need the rustic Italian antipasti picnic loaf (p111) without a doubt. And for an afternoon treat, I would bake the crunchy oat and chocolate biscuits (p112). The last party theme is celebrating Christmas and begins with getting your ducks in a row. I will attempt the honey and port-glazed gammon (p168) this year as we are sure to be invited to a big celebration. Janet’s gran’s moist Christmas fruit cake (p171) grabbed my attention as this is something I have never attempted before. I think the melting moments (p175) are also worth a try.
The book has the most stunning photographs and it is no wonder it was in the top 3 in the world in its category at the World Gourmand Awards this year.
First published by Struik Lifestyle in 2014
Hard cover – 199 pages (including the index)
Dave and I have just got back from Scotland. I will be back in my office today and I will start replying to comments as soon as I have caught up.
What I blogged September 16:
- two years ago – Amarula Chocolate Swirl Cake
- three years ago – Interview With Samantha Linsell
- four years ago – Duck Egg Ravioli With Exotic Mushroom Sauce
- five years ago – Tomato and Onion Relish