There is still a month of daylight saving left, and hopefully more mild evenings.
March is a good time to gather friends for the last summer parties before we all hunker down for winter and become reluctant to go out.
Here are some pass-around food ideas that might inspire you. It took me just over an hour to make this food, shopping not included. The quantities are for 10 people. There wasn't too much kitchen time involved, and once you've put this together you get to sit down for the rest of the evening.
For drinks over two hours allow 10 pieces of food per person, this will be more than generous. There will be leftovers.
Pass-around food or cocktail food needs to be no more than a bite and a bit. Think about how it will be eaten, mostly standing up, with a glass in the other hand. Offer lots of cocktail napkins.
If you are using sticks to skewer food, provide a container for these to be disposed of. There is nothing worse than standing around with a toothpick and a used paper napkin in your hand, looking for a discreet place to deposit them. Your job as host is to make it easy for your guests and provide a nice environment, so keep an eye out for messy piles of used paper napkins and sticks and tidy them out of sight.
Stuffed eggs and toasted asparagus rolls
Old favourites never fail to please. People love the retro taste of asparagus rolls, club sandwiches, little sausage rolls and stuffed eggs.
The stuffed eggs
1. Boil 10 eggs to hard cook them then cool them down under running cold water.
2. Shell the eggs and cut lengthwise. Separate the two white sides and remove the yolk.
3. Mash the yolks with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, a teaspoon of curry powder and some chopped chives or parsley.
4. Fill the white hollows with this mix and garnish with some fine strips of spring onion green that you have soaked in iced water to make it curl.
The toasted asparagus rolls
1. Drain a can of asparagus and spread the spears across a paper towel to dry.
2. Remove crusts from 10 slices of white sandwich bread.
3. Melt 100g of butter.
4. Roll shaved ham (or prosciutto if you want to be flash) around the asparagus spears. You will need about 100g.
5. Lay out the crustless bread on the bench and brush with the melted butter.
6. Roll the ham/asparagus spears in the bread.
7. Brush the outside of the roll with melted butter. Cut each roll in two.
8. Place on a baking tray and toast off in a moderate oven till browned and crispy. Serve warm.
* Grant Allen, a former restaurateur, runs an Auckland bespoke catering service called COOK. Visit Grant's Facebook page here.
What are your favourite finger foods?