This week we celebrate age, and what better way to do that than with a group of your friends - young or old - delicious food, and quality time together. That, of course, means not spending too much time in the kitchen. I often provide a large platter of char-grilled vegetables, dips and olives as a centrepiece, then make just three or four other pieces to ensure no one goes home hungry. At this chilly time of the year something hot must be on the menu. Pare down the time spent on decoration, just keep the evening fresh and simple. Go for rustic, rather than perfect, canapes.
My mother is always phoning me for ideas for her drinks parties. She finds entertaining this way is popular with her age group. They gather in the early evening for a couple of hours, then she has a poached egg on toast after the guests leave, followed by an early night. With busy lives it is the perfect way to get together. Here are three deliciously tempting finger bites that are easy to prepare and help set the stage for your evening.
Teriyaki marinade is such a great standby. I use this marinade often with beef, chicken and fish to make a stir-fry for dinner. Everybody loves it and anyone can make it. Here I use it to create simple chicken kebabs, which are always a hit at a drinks party. Simply serve it with half the marinade as a dipping sauce as I have here, or make a peanut sauce as an alternative.
These little fish morsels are a favourite combination of mine. They're always fresh, quick, tasty and impressive. The crunch of the chicory and the tender fish is delicious. Raw fish can take so many forms. This version is perfect for any occasion. Use baby cos leaves as an alternative if you can't find chicory.
I have made hundreds of today's pork balls over the years. The wrapping of the noodles may look fiddly but doesn't take long at all, so don't let that put you off. Good quality plum sauce can be bought from your local supermarket. Have the oven heated, the balls seared. When your guests arrive, the balls just need 10 minutes in the oven. I guarantee they will not disappoint.
• Teriyaki chicken kebabs