While cocktail parties are fun, making hors d'oeuvre is usually fiddly and boring. Rather than going out and buying the frozen appetizers that everyone else serves, here are some suggestions that will perk up your soirée without too much work. Make or put together items that can sit on a table for guests to help themselves, which avoids having staff or friends running around serving.
Platters: The easiest cocktail party platter is smoked salmon with cream cheese, chopped onions, capers and black pepper. Serve bagel crisps or toasted baguette and let people help themselves. Avoid pumpernickel as it tastes too strong for smoked salmon.
Charcuterie: This is another easy way to make crowd-pleasing appetizers. Buy four different kinds of charcuterie from a good-quality store, two kinds of pickles or pickled fruit, mustard or chutney. I like to add some chicken liver pâté in a crock but it isn't necessary. Add a hunk of Parmesan and serve with cheese straws, sliced baguette or ciabatta.