The sunny days and longer evenings are finally here. And how better way to make the most of them than to throw a garden party for your friends and family. If you're anything like us, you'll want to get every detail just right. From the summer-themed playlist, to the fruity cocktails and chilled out vibe, you'll want to make yours the one to remember.
Without doubt, the best way to show off your party hosting skills is by preparing some interesting and delicious snacks and Canapés. To help you wow, we've teamed up with Alex Head, founder of the chic and creative catering company Social Pantry. She's put together four unique and mouth-watering recipes certain to surprise your guests when you serve them up at your next garden gathering.
Charred Sweet Potato, Edamame and Toasted Almonds
This is a brilliantly more-ish salad that you find yourself going back for more again and again. The fresh flavours and vibrant colour makes it a real favourite of mine.
To feed 6 hungry people
4 x sweet potatoes
Olive oil for brushing
1 garlic clove, crushed
60g edamame beans
60g garden peas
1 bunch spring onion
1 punnet of roasted cherry tomatoes
1 bunch chopped basil
20g sunflower seeds
20g toasted almonds
Zest of 1 lemon
Cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp honey
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Wash the sweet potatoes and slice horizontally or into 1cm thick discs.
Brush with oil and garlic and lightly season with salt and pepper, place on a hot griddle pan. Grill until nicely marked.
Finish off in the oven on 180 for 10 - 12 minutes, or until tender.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a jar and season to taste.
In a bowl mix all the other ingredients, except the nuts, season and pour over the dressing.
On a plate build the salad and sprinkle with seeds.
Serve on a gorgeous plate. Enjoy!
Grilled Asparagus, Quinoa & Mint Salad
120g frozen peas
400g cooked quinoa
6 radish, thinly sliced
Handful fresh mint, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin olive oil
Jucie of 1 large lemon
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
Put a medium pan of salted water on to boil. Once boiling, blanch the peas until the first few float to the surface then immediately plunge into ice cold water (this retains the vibrant colour).
Wash the asparagus and break off the woody stalks. Slice lengthways and toss in a glug of olive oil. Char on a griddle pan until nicely marked. Once cooked, cut each piece in half.
Zest the lemon into your preferred serving bowl/platter and add the juice along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the quinoa, peas, radish, charred asparagus and mint to your bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Mix gently until fully combined - you can add crumbled feta at this stage for another depth of flavour.
Raspberry & Pistachio Meringues
Meringues always remind me of Summer, gorgeous stacks served with British berries and soft cream, or even better, clotted cream! If you're really organised, this is a great dessert that you can make a couple of weeks in advance.
To make 12 meringues
4 free range egg whites
90g castor sugar
25g brown sugar
115g icing sugar
1 punnet of raspberries
Crushed pistachio to garnish
Heat the oven to 100c and prepare a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, ready for the oven.
Using a hand whisk or freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl on a medium speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Turn the speed up to a high speed and whisk in the castor and brown sugar, one spoonful at a time.
Add the raspberries in with the last spoonful of sugar.
Once combined, sieve in the icing sugar and fold into the meringue.
Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet.
Cook for 90mins until your meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath.
Pile high and serve with soft cream, crushed pistachios and British berries. Enjoy!
Blood Orange Marshmallows
110g Cold water
360g Caster Sugar
60g Egg Whites
2 x Blood Oranges (if out of season, feel free to use regular oranges)
100g Icing Sugar
Line an 18cm x 30cm tin with silicone paper, place aside.
Finely grate the blood orange zest into a pan, add the juice.
Boil and reduce to about 2 tablespoons.
Soak the gelatine leaves in the 110g of cold water, place aside.
Place the caster sugar, glucose and 160g of cold water into a pan.
Boil and cook the sugar/water/glucose to 128°c
Add the gelatine and cold water to the pan (beware of bubbling up)
Stir until completely blended.
Whisk the egg whites until aerated.
Gradually add the contents of the pan until incorporated.
Whisk for 5-6 minutes until thick and glossy.
Add the orange reduction, carefully whisk in.
Whisk for a few more minutes.
Sift the icing sugar and cornflour together into the tray.
Using a wet spatula place the marshmallow into the tray.
Flatten with a knife dipped in hot water, level.
Dust the marshmallow with cornflour/sugar.
Cling film the tray and place in the fridge to set.
Cut into squares as required.
Roll briefly in the remainder of the icing sugar/cornflour.
Serve on a plate you can be proud of.
While we can't promise the weather, come rain or shine your next garden party's sure to be a hit when you give Alex's fresh and bright recipes a go.