It was a little scary to cook and host for so many people, as I never did this before, and we had more than 30 guests in our small apartment, and I was so worried there won't be enough food, or drinks, or space... But everything turned out so well. I had such a great time preparing and organizing it though, and the party itself was great, fun and relaxed, just as I hoped it would be.
I did my best to make things that are easy to eat, not messy, as our apartment is mostly white, and we also had kids at the party, and to suit different tastes as well.
This is what I prepared:
Borek, traditional tatar baked savory treats, a buttery dough filled with ground lamb meat and spices, cooked also in butter before filling the dough with it. These are great for a party as you can make them a day ahead. They get better even after a couple of days.
Zacusca, spread made of paprika peppers, served on fresh french baguette slices. Recipe for zacusca is here .
Devilled Quail eggs, served on black bread squares
Roe salad served with cucumber slices and chives on toasted bread squares
Crostini with avocado salad and garlic shrimp
Crackers topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill
One bite caprese salad, cherry tomato and bocconcini (tiny mozzarella balls) with basil, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction, served on a tiny skewer, for easy grabbing
Endive spears filled with Stilton cheese, grapes and toasted pine nuts
Rainbow fruit kabobs, that looked gorgeous and fun, and kids loved.
Death by chocolate squares, topped with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries. I used this recipe, but only baked the sponge in a thin layer, and spread the ganache on top, cutting it then in small squares.
Bowls with mixed nuts
For the drinks I tried to make it a little fun, and bought a variety of drinks, from vodka to brandy, liqueurs, different wines, syrups (curacao, grenadine, simple syrup), champagne, different beers, hard pink lemonade for the ladies (this is a pink, yes, pink beer, that tastes like lemonade, nothing like beer, but has alcohol). We also had a shaker, a blender and printed some cocktail recipes, so that people can mix and try different drinks.
I found some really nice plastic glasses that looked as made of glass, and bought them in mini versions of wine, martini, and short and long tumblers. I really hate the classic plastic glasses and cutlery, but didn't have enough regular ones for so many people, and it didn't make sense buying, so this find made me very happy. None of us or our guests is a drinker, so this was perfect, having tiny glasses, just to taste and have fun. Even the shaker I bought was mini! Seems like a kids tea party, in a grown up version. I also had small bowls with lemon, lime, orange slices, fresh mint, Maraschino cherries, martini olives... well I think we had everything a full bar would have. And of course refreshments, such as fruit juices, lemonades, all the carbonated drinks, different waters.
This was a great evening spent with great people. We really really need to have another party soon! I am sorry for not having better photos of everything, but we were so agitated with the preparations and everything, that we really didn't have time to think about taking photos. I didn't even have time to change before guests arrived, but it was all right! Having nice people around you and enjoying your time is all that matters.
About housewarming parties from Wikipedia: The term "housewarming" is descended literally from the act of warming a new house, in the days before central heating. Each guest would bring firewood, and build fires in all the available fireplaces, offering firewood as a gift. Aside from warming the house, this was also believed to repel evil spirits by creating a protective atmosphere of warmth. Uninhabited houses were considered targets for vagrant spirits, and therefore required a certain level of cleansing before a house was safe to be occupied.