When planning food for a party, I really don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, so getting 90% of the prep and cooking done in advance is high on my priority list – along with deliciousness and looking great of course! Here I have covered vegan, vege and pescatarian friends, a pretty platter, salty nibbles, elegant finger food, something hot and a dessert,
so hopefully that is all bases for a perfect party. I’ve put the hummus and dill veges together for the platter, keeping it strictly vegan, but you can add charcuterie and cheeses.

This year marks 100 years since the birth of Colin McCahon, one of New Zealand’s foremost 20th-century painters. We took this centenary as the chance to celebrate contemporary art in New Zealand and pay a visit to McCahon House Museum in Titirangi, Auckland. It was here, at this tiny bach-like home in a setting of bush and beach, that the McCahon family lived in the 1950s.

Now operated as a public museum, visitors today experience the environment and elements that shaped McCahon’s practice and inspired some of his best-known work. It’s a compelling glimpse into the artist’s way of living and making art and it’s easy to imagine the house as a fount of inspiration, full of conversation and ideas with studio and domestic life jostling together. This unique house provided an evocative backdrop for our sociable, free-wheeling party dishes.

Serves: 8
Preparation: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
CORN CHIVDA
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Serves: 10 - 12
Preparation: 20 mins plus overnight soaking
Cook: 1 hr
SEED & NUT CRACKERS
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