'Tis the season to get together with friends for parties and I always look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people at various gatherings. Usually when I meet someone for the first time, unless we have a mutual history, I shake their hand and if we've gotten to know each other during the course of dinner or the party, when we depart, there's the kiss on the cheek. This ritual occurs a lot during the party season.
Yet I somehow still manage to embarrass myself during the farewell kiss. I had just said goodbye to some friends. I then slid into the front seat of the car only to bury my face in my hands moaning.
"Did you see what I just did?" I said to Mr NQN through my fingers.
"When I went to kiss whatshisname goodbye, I accidentally missed his cheek and kissed him on the neck! Arrrgh!" I said dramatically. It was true, a miscalculation with this very tall male meant that I had planted my kiss on his neck instead of on his cheek. I was hoping that he hadn't noticed but I'm sure that he did. Awkward!
Hey at least I didn't make it a hickey ;)
Anyway, this is something to smooth over any awkward cocktail party moments. These sushi bites are ridiculously easy and tasty and versatile so you can change them to suit your favourite ingredients. I was served these at a party once and I marvelled at how good they were only for the hostess to tell me that they were very easy to put together. They don't require a sushi mat and you could probably even do these without the tin. Not only that but they can be made a few hours ahead of time and just assembled closer to the time. I'll be bringing these along to New Year's Eve at my friend Ute's house where hopefully I won't accidentally plant a smacker on someone's neck!
So tell me Dear Reader, what will you be doing on New Year's Eve this year? And do you ever have awkward moments when greeting or farewelling people? Are you a hand shaker or a kisser?
Cocktail Party Sushi Bites
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes (plus time for the rice to cool)
Makes 25 bites
- 1.5 cups uncooked sushi rice
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon caster or superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sheets dried nori seaweed sheets
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 3 tablespoons Kewpie mayonnaise
- A little wasabi to spread (depending on how hot you like it)
- 100g/3.5 ozs. smoked salmon
- 1/4 large avocado
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Pickled ginger and soy sauce to serve
Step 1 - Rinse the rice 4-5 times until the water runs clear. Cook the rice according to directions until it is done. Allow to cool.
Step 2 - While the rice is cooking and cooling, heat the mirin and stir in the sugar and salt to dissolve. Once the rice has cooled, stir through the mirin mixture and mix until distributed.
Step 3 - Line a square 8x8 inch baking tin with clingfilm. Place a sheet of nori on the bottom, it should fit perfectly but if not, just trim it with scissors to fit. Spoon half of the rice onto the nori and pat down flat - I found using an angled spatula helped. Slice cucumber thinly and place on top of rice.
Step 4 - Place the second sheet of nori on top and then top with the rest of the rice pressing down firmly. Spread with wasabi (the amount depends on how hot you want it) and then mayonnaise. Layer with the smoked salmon and then remove the whole square from the tin using the clingfilm to ease it out and slice up into squares with a very sharp knife.
Step 5 - Top each square with a piece of avocado and a little pickled ginger and sesame seeds. You want this to be a bite sized morsel that people can eat easily so just serve it with some soy sauce in which to dip the sushi squares.