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New Year’s Eve Cocktails, Festive Nibbles & Bubbles!

I have just held my Christmas soiree, which was a great success, mostly because I served a huge array of finger foods and a wonderful grazing table. I love to host an informal cocktail party where guests mingle and interact around the food. The three recipes I have chosen are from the menu I served. Please feel free to see the full menu that I served on my website to be inspired for your next event.

I would like to wish you all the best over the festive season and a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2024.



Category: fish & seafood

Preparation time: 1 ½ hours

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves:  8/10 for a cocktail menu

Description: fresh and aromatic Asian flavors with a bite that I love

Ingredients for lollipops:

  • 1kg frozen shelled shrimps-size 100/200- [defrost in a basin of cold water]
  • 2 cups fresh coriander [finely chopped]
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large thumb size piece of ginger [peeled and sliced against the gain]
  • 2 stalks lemongrass [very thinly sliced]
  • 2 bunches of lemongrass [separated and used as skewers]
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs [beaten]
  • 1 heaped tablespoon baking powder
  • Salt
  • Fine black pepper
  • Oil for frying

Method for lollipops:

  • Finely chop the shrimps
  • Place the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chili into the blender and puree. When smooth add the coriander and pulse quickly
  • Combine the shrimps, pureed mixture, breadcrumbs, eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Roll into balls using a tablespoon measure and place onto a flat tray [this can be done from before and refrigerated]
  • Deep fry until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place onto absorbent paper.
  • Allow to cool slightly and place one onto each lemongrass skewer.

Ingredients for dipping sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Method for dipping sauce:

  • Place all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer on low heat until a syrupy consistency has been achieved. [approximately 10 minutes]
  • When the syrup pours off a spoon in a solid stream it is ready
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Chef’s notes:

Slicing the ginger and lemongrass before placing them into the food processor prevents having any fibers left in your mixture.


Use 3-4 lollipops on a plate with a generous drizzle of syrup, [or a liqueur glass of syrup] as a plated starter.

For a cocktail party, use platters with bowls of dipping sauce or stand the lollipops in glasses or vases. Very impressive presentation and gives height to your table.




Category: cocktail

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves:  8

Dietary notes:

Description: An elegant, sophisticated combination of

smoked salmon, prawns and caviar balanced with basil pesto,

avocado and caper


Ingredients for seafood baguette:

  • 1 “koulouri” – aromatic village bread [baguette]
  • 200g baby spinach leaves
  • 200ml cream cheese
  • ¼ cup of shaved dill
  • ½ cup caper cerries
  • 2 avocados (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 500g smoked salmon.
  • 500g shelled prawns-16/20 size
  • 50g red caviar



  • Boil the prawns on low heat until just cooked. Strain, and add the juice of 1 lemon, salt and cracked black pepper. Allow to cool.
  • Mix the dill into the cream cheese and spread evenly over both halves of the bread.
  • Create this sandwich by layering all the ingredients evenly.


Chef’s notes:

  • A very presentable cocktail option that elevates the humble sandwich to another level
  • Use any variety of smoked filleted fish that you like.





Category: cocktail

Preparation time: 2 hours

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves:  makes about 4 dozen small vol au vent

Dietary notes:

Description: Piquant and aromatic springbuck balanced with a subtle rose petal chutney



  • 500g springbuck meat [cut into very small cubes]
  • 200g bacon [cut into small cubes]
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions [finely chopped]
  • salt
  • fine black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon powder
  • ½ ground nutmeg
  • Cocktail size vol au vent


Ingredients for chutney:

  • 10g (1 cup) dried rose petals
  • 150g sultanas
  • 400g red apple (peeled and grated)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml red wine vinegar
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt
  • fine black pepper


Method for springbuck:

  • Combine all the ingredients and marinate over night
  • Pre-heat a non-stick pan and sear the springbuck, just allow it to brown stirring quickly
  • Fill the heated vol au vent, topping with a little of the rose preserve and serve immediately


Method for chutney:

  • Place the rose petals and sultanas in a saucepan and boil for 15 minutes on medium heat
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the chutney has reached a thick consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • It is preferable to make the chutney from the day before.


Ostrich, beef, or any game meat can be used if springbuck is not available for the vol au vents.

Guests are always impressed by an unusual menu item, so take yourself out of your comfort zone and have fun with new ingredients.

Roddy Damalis

“My earliest recollections are focused on food, the kitchen and tables laden with dishes made with love. My fondest memories are filled with all the scents, sounds, textures, colours and tastes of each occasion.”


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