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How to host an end of winter party

How to host an end of winter party

Winter is officially on the way out. While we’re gleefully anticipating the return of the sunshine, we’re going to miss tucking into hearty cold-weather dishes. Why not throw one last dinner party to see the season on its way? Gather your closest friends, cook up some delicious carb-heavy meals, and salute winter with some matching cocktails – served warm and toasty.

Prosciutto and blue cheese pizzas

You can’t go wrong with pizza. This combo is a sure to be a crowd-pleaser, thanks to the delicate balance of salty prosciutto and the creaminess of blue cheese.

Serves: 4
Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes

4 medium pizza bases
⅓ cup (80ml) pizza sauce
1 cup (120g) pizza cheese, coarsely grated
80g blue cheese, crumbled
8 prosciutto slices, coarsely torn
2 small Corella pears, thinly sliced
120g pkt Coles Australian Baby Rocket
⅓ cup (35g) walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 230°C. Divide the pizza bases between two baking trays. Spread bases with pizza sauce and sprinkle with pizza cheese and blue cheese. Top with prosciutto.
2. Bake the pizzas for 12 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bases are golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, combine the pear, rocket and walnut in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and season. Gently toss to combine.
4. Divide the pizzas among serving plates. Arrange the pear mixture over the pizzas and serve immediately.
To drink:
We’d recommend pairing these pizzas with a classic winter favourite – the Hot Toddy.

Hot Toddy

60mL of Makers Mark Bourbon
1 tbs of honey
2 tsp of lemon juice
¼ cup of boiling water

1. Add the bourbon, honey, and lemon to a mug.
2. Top with boiling water and stir until dissolved.

Chicken, chorizo and couscous paella

Paella is a great dish for sharing, and the rich flavours of couscous, chorizo, and paprika will keep you warm no matter how low the temperature is outside.

Serves: 4
Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes

500g Coles RSPCA Approved Australian Chicken Thigh Fillets, coarsely chopped
1 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tsp ground paprika
1 red capsicum, seeded, finely chopped
1 cup (120g) frozen peas
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1½ cups (375ml) chicken stock
1½ cups (300g) couscous

1. Heat a paella pan or large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, for six minutes or until chicken is golden and cooked through.
2. Add the onion, garlic, paprika and capsicum to the pan and cook, stirring, for three minutes or until the onion softens. Add the peas, tomato and stock. Bring to the boil.
3. Add the couscous to the chicken mixture in the pan and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Cover the pan with foil and set aside for two minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
4. Use a fork to separate the grains. Divide paella among serving bowls. Serve with fresh parsley.

To drink:
Keep channelling the Spanish vibes by serving your paella with hot Sangria. The tempranillo will complement the tomato base of the dish perfectly.

Hot sangria

1 bottle of Mr Mick Tempranillo
¼ cup of Cointreau Liqueur
½ cup of orange juice
¼ cup of sugar
4 orange slices
4 cloves

1. Add all the ingredients to a saucepan, and warm over low heat – being careful not to boil.
2. Heat for 10–12 minutes, then remove from heat and stand for another 10 minutes.
3. Discard orange slices and serve in mugs.

One-pan chicken with bocconcini and olives

If you’re looking for a simple recipe that’s sure to impress, try this chicken and bocconcini number. The beauty of this dish is that it’s all cooked in one pan – meaning you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time with your guests.

Serves: 4
Prep and cooking time: 15 mins

2 large Coles RSPCA Approved Australian Chicken Breast Fillets
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
400g can cherry tomatoes
400g can diced tomatoes
1 cup (120g) pitted mixed olives
180g bocconcini, coarsely torn
⅓ cup (90g) basil pesto

1. Cut each piece of chicken in half horizontally. Sprinkle the chicken with oregano. Season. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Cook the chicken for two minutes each side or until golden brown. Transfer to a large heatproof plate.
2. Heat remaining oil in the pan. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for one minute or until onion softens. Add cherry tomato and diced tomato and bring to the boil.
3. Return the chicken to the pan with the olives and bocconcini. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for eight minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens slightly. Serve drizzled with pesto.

Serve with a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread.

To drink:
Match this one with a classic warm cocktail that’s all but been forgotten – the Bishop. It’s a soul-warming port-based cocktail that’s perfect for when they mercury drops.

The Bishop

1 bottle of Taylors 10 Years Old Tawny Port
1 orange
4 cloves

1. Preheat oven to 200°C
2. Slice orange and arrange on a baking dish, layer with cloves and bake for one hour or until browned.
3. Bring port to a gentle simmer in a small pan, add cooked orange and allow to infuse for five minutes. Serve warm.

Quick Nutella Mousse

This simple 4-ingredient recipe punches well above its weight, and it’s the perfect dessert to finish your feast with.

Serves: 6
Prep and cooking time: 15 mins

100g dark chocolate, chopped
300mL thickened cream, chilled
½ cup (165g) Nutella
Crumbled Cadbury Flake chocolate
bar, to serve

1. Place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate just melts. Set aside for five minutes to cool slightly.
2. Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add the Nutella and whisk until the mixture is just combined. Add the melted chocolate. Use a large metal spoon to gently marble.
3. Spoon the mousse evenly among serving glasses. Sprinkle with Flake bar and serve immediately.

To drink:
You know what goes with chocolate? More chocolate! Double down on the sweetness with a mature take on the hot cocoa.

3 cups of milk
60mL of McKenna Kentucky Bourbon
2/3 of a cup of dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbs of brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of salt

1. Bring milk and cinnamon to a gentle simmer for 5–8 minutes.
2. Add chocolate, sugar, and salt and whisk constantly until mixture is smooth and creamy, about another five minutes.
3. Remove cinnamon sticks and add bourbon, stirring through. Serve warm.