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Planning your African Party Part 1

Submitted by West Africa Cooks on Fri, 2014-05-30 11:21
Chop at African Party

Take the hassle out of throwing a party by ordering all your food, partyware, drinks, and hire glasses. Make your 'do' go with a bang. We all love a good party — its great to get together and enjoy good food. In fact, the only downside is the thought of catering. But there's no need to spend hours in the kitchen. Order it!

How Much Do I Order?

It's better to have too much rather than too little you don't want to be on the phone ordering rice bread when your guests have cleared your platters and are looking for more food! So, work out in advance how much food you'll need. As a rough guide, allow 4-6 pieces per person per hour, so if you're expecting 10 guests and the party is going to last three hours, serve up 120-180 portions.

Mix It Up

Its tempting to order all your favourite African foods, but remember that your guests might include vegetarians, expectant mothers, or kids, so you need to have a range of veggie, fish and meat options. Platters cater for everyone if you order a variety you're bound to please and there'll he no need to rummage through your cupboards to find alternatives.
TIP... Ask friends or family to help out handing round platters of food do one circuit of the room, then put it on your table to free up time to mingle.

Get Organised!

So, you've decided to throw the party of the year — here's how to make sure you don't forget a thing and can enjoy your bash

  • Invitations: whether you make or write your own, or send out a group email (we know what most of you will do!), ensure you have a RSVP — both phone and email — on your invite. Chase up anyone who hasn't responded before you order your food and buy supplies
  • You've got your guest list, so start planning your food and drinks, taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of your guests
  • Order your platters and cakes at least three days before the big day. Don't do your weekly shop at the same time or there'll be no room in the fridge. Instead, book online delivery for the next day
  • Take advantage of the glass hire service. No need to beg or borrow glasses, you can get wine glasses, champagne flutes and tumblers all free of charge at certain caterings, pick them up when you collect your leis food order
  • Fill up your trolley with disposable plates, bowls, cutlery, napkins and serving platters, plus grab an extra roll of bin bays for blitzing the disaster zone — er, kitchen — the next day. Expect your African guess to want to take food home with them, so aluminium foil and food bags are good
  • Tell your neighbours about the party by popping a note through their letterbox —especially if you are expecting some party-goers to stay until the wee hours

Here are two catering companies specialising in African food.
panla.com
eatjollof.co.uk
Don't forget to write a review on Yelp to help others.

Don't Kill Your Guest

If your going to do it yourself or get involved in anyway don't forget food safety. It is essential to cook food properly to kill any harmful bacteria. If it is not cooked properly, it might not be safe for your guests to eat. It is also very important to handle ready-to-eat food carefully to protect it from harmful bacteria. This is because it will not be cooked or reheated before serving.

Safe method:

Cooking Safely

Thorough cooking kills harmful bacteria.

Safety points
Where appropriate, follow the manufacturer’s cooking instructions for food products.

Why?

The manufacturer has tried and tested safe cooking methods specifically for its products.

Preheat equipment such as ovens and grills before cooking.

Why?

If you use equipment before it has preheated, food will take longer to cook. This means that recommended cooking times in recipes or manufacturer’s instructions might not be long enough.

Do not let raw food touch or drip onto cooked food e.g. when adding food to the grill/barbecue. Never use the same utensils, plates or containers for raw and cooked or ready-to-eat food.

Why?

Raw food can carry harmful bacteria, which could spread onto cooked food and stop it being safe.

If you serve beef or lamb rare (whole cuts such as steaks and whole joints only), make sure all of the outside surfaces are fully cooked, e.g. by sealing in a pan.

Why?

This will kill harmful bacteria on the outside of the meat.
Pork and rolled joints should not be served rare.

Liver, offal, cow foot and trotters must be cooked all the way through.
When preparing dishes, such as liver pâté or parfait, the liver should be cooked until there is no pink meat left.

Why?

Harmful bacteria can be found in the centre of liver as well as the outside.

Turn meat and poultry during cooking.

Why?

This helps it cook more evenly.
Make sure liquid dishes, e.g. soups and sauces, are simmering and stir them frequently.

Why?

This is to make sure the food is hot enough to kill bacteria. Stirring will help make sure the food is the same temperature all the way through.

Check It – Use These Checks To Tell If Food Is Properly Cooked.

  • Check that birds are cooked properly in the thickest part of the leg. The meat should not be pink or red.
  • The juices should not have any pink or red in them.
    The largest piece of meat in stews, curries etc. should be steaming hot all the way through with no pink or red.
  • Check that whole cuts of pork and processed meat products, such as sausages and burgers, are steaming hot all the way through with no pink or red in the centre.
  • Check that combination dishes are piping hot (steaming) in the centre. If you are cooking a large dish or batch, check in several places.
  • Check that liquid dishes bubble rapidly when you stir them.
  • Check that all the outside surfaces of whole cuts of meat and whole joints (beef or lamb) are fully cooked.
  • To check fish is cooked through cut into the centre of fish, or by the bone if there is one, to check that the colour and texture has changed. Tuna steaks can be served ‘rare’ as long as they have been fully seared on the outside.
  • To check a pork joint or rolled meat joint, insert a skewer into the centre until juices run out. The juices should not have any pink or red in them.

What To Do If Things Go Wrong

• Cook the food for longer.
• Speed up the cooking process, for example by dividing the food into smaller quantities, or using different equipment.

How To Stop This Happening Again

• Repair or replace equipment.
• Review your cooking method. You might need to increase the time or temperature, or use different equipment.