As I mentioned last Snackmas, MSW is a sucker for Party Food. She buys it all despite never having an actual party.. We do always have it for tea on the 24th though and all the way through to New Year just to keep the spirit alive - You might say we have several of our own mini celebrations with the help of tiny finger foods!
M&S caught my eye when it came to this years offerings with plenty of NEW bits to feast upon - Handmade Prawn Parcel Selection, Mini Porcini & Chestnut Mushroom Mac & Cheese, Duck Croquettes and Mini Mozzarella Bites, all priced at £3.50 each minus the latter which I think was £2. Conveniently, this little lot can be cooked from fresh at the same temperature of 180ºC Fan for 10 minutes.. Even the Mozzarella Bites which came with a recommended time of 7 minutes, turned out perfectly - I always give cheesy things a smidgen longer to avoid any soggy outsides!
Handmade Prawn Parcel Selection
4 wheat pancake parcels with a prawn sweet and sour filling, 4 pastry stars with prawn and red chilli, 4 pastry parcels with prawns, mushrooms and hoisin sauce filling.
Golden and crisp, all 3 of the prawn parcels looked most attractive when straight out of the oven and certainly something you would be proud to display on your party table. Smelling as one would expect in being mildy fishy, the Sweet & Sour Pancake Parcels were the first I tried and didn't disappoint in terms of flavour - The outside was pleasantly on the greasy side with a packed filling of prawn chunks and complimenting vegetables which reminded me a bit of a Spring Roll. Moving onto the Pastry Stars which I felt quite brave in even trying given the use of red chilli. Thankfully, it was just about bearable but still delivered enough heat for those who appreciate such a thing, for that spicy kick and went well with the soft prawn layer between 2 crisp sheets of pastry. Thirdly, the Pastry Parcels or as I feel compelled to call them, the crunchy blobs! Thicker on the pastry front but not overly dry, these were just as yummy as the previous 2 with the addition of hoisin sauce for that added bit of sweetness and mushrooms for a "meatier" flavour. I didn't find any of the trio to be overly fishy so can't see them offending many.. Apart from the Shellfish allergy sufferers.. Obviously, you're excused. A 4 out of 5 from me.
10 mini foils containing conchigliette pasta, chestnut and porcini mushrooms in a rich cheese and marsala wine sauce. Complete with spoons.
How cute are the individual pots with a handy, baby spoon!? The cheese may have exploded everywhere but I don't think they could look more adorable! Taking a mouthful, quite a potent flavour was delivered of rich, creamy cheese with squidgy pasta pieces throughout and a real kick of mushroom - Strong to the point of definitely being one for the fanatics of the aforementioned. I couldn't taste any marsala wine whatsoever but that didn't take away the enjoyment and I would quite happily eat 6 - 3 spoonfuls in each, just isn't enough! It's 4.5 out of 5 from me.
Tender and tasty roast duck croquettes coated in a crunchy crumb and served with a honey and truffle dip.
These, cylindrical shaped croquettes cooked a treat to be exactly as promised - Soft on the inside with a satisfyingly crisp coating. Full of meaty flavour and undeniably that of duck, they were quite rich alone but mellowed by the delicious sweet, honey tones of the dip. Some sort of spice was also noticeable, not that I could say what exactly and for me, the truffle was completely MIA.. What is truffle suppose to taste like anyway? I probably wouldn't know it if it hit me in the face! It's a 4 out of 5.
Mini Mozzarella Bites
Italian mozzarella in a thyme and parsley breadcrumb with a garlic and herb dips.
Lastly and the type of Party Food that I am particularly fond of.. The Mozzarella Bites! Smelling ridiculously herby, the balls were ooey gooey inside with another crunchy outside to contrast to all the soft. Unfortunately, the thyme aspect of these was very overpowering and I felt, took away from any decent cheese flavour. Bizarrely however, when eaten with the rather slimy green looking dip, despite adding further herb into the equation, I found the bites to mellow and generally be far more palatable. An odd one - A 3 out of 5.
Overall, there is not much to complain about when it comes to this range of Party Food from M&S. The quality is most definitely there and I feel, brings something a bit different oppose to the usual selection on offer - Mini Pizza's and Quiches are great and all but just sometimes, only a fancier snack will cut it.. Maybe do avoid the Mozzarella Bites though unless you've got an extended family member who's favourite food is thyme and nothing but!
Three Bird Roast Sausage Rolls
All butter puff pastry, filled with lightly seasoned British pork, turkey, chicken & duck with smoked bacon.
But what if you prefer a cold Party Food option? I hear ya and present to thee, the Three Bird Roast Sausage Rolls! Priced at the ludicrously expensive £5 for 12, I purchased the 420g pack when it had been reduced with every intention of whacking them in the freezer to bring out over the holidays.. This never happened and we ended up eating them there and then, as is.. Although they are fine to be heated at 180ºC Fan for 10-15 minutes, if one so wishes.
Cutting the Roll in half, a good amount of filling presented itself with the layers of pastry, to produce that flaky feel, clear to see. Taste wise, bacon was at the forefront with an array of not quite bird distinguishable yet deliciously meaty flavours throughout - I especially didn't get duck at all despite it being such a rich taste. A good amount of seasoning was included along with a salty edge making them really quite moreish.. Not to mention, the oodles of buttery, almost cheese tones from the pastry! Yummy - A 4 out of 5 from me!
..I think I might have eaten too much.
..I think I might have eaten too much.