The numbers at your dinner party may be limited but the taste won’t be with Annie Bell’s scrumptious (and speedy) 60-minute menu.
Dinner party for 6: The menu in full
Radishes with chive goat’s cheese
Radishes (especially the long French Breakfast variety) with a creamy dip alongside make classic and elegant nibbles to enjoy with a cocktail.
250g-300g young goat’s cheese
around 2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp finely chopped chives, plus extra to serve
200g French Breakfast radishes, trimmed and halved lengthways
grissini or twists to serve 6
1. Cream the cheese with the milk in a medium bowl and stir in the chives. Transfer this to a couple of small shallow dishes and scatter with a few extra chives. Serve with the radishes and grissini or twists.
You can serve these either with a drink before supper or scatter them between the prawn toasts (see below) for the starter.
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
around 250g padron peppers
1. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over a high heat, trickle a couple of teaspoons of oil over the base, then fry the peppers for 5-10 minutes, stirring or turning them almost constantly until they blister and go golden, seasoning with salt towards the end.
Garlic butter prawn crostini
Wickedly indulgent buttery prawns on toast, liberally spliced with garlic.
75g unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed to a paste
300g cooked and peeled king prawns
6 small thin slices sourdough, toasted
1 heaped tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Melt the butter in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, stirring in the garlic when it is half melted.
2. Once it is sizzling nicely add the prawns and heat through. Transfer them to a medium bowl using a slotted spoon and simmer the juices vigorously to drive off any moisture given out by the prawns, until you have a clear garlic butter.
3. Arrange the toast on a large serving plate, spoon the prawns on top leaving behind any juices, then drizzle with the garlic butter and scatter with parsley. Place centrally for everyone to help themselves.
All-in-one chicken and parma ham roast
This thyme- and lemon-scented chicken comes replete with juices given out by the spring onions beneath.
3 bunches spring onions (roughly 300g), trimmed and sliced 1cm thick
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
6 x 175g-200g skin-on chicken breast fillets or supremes (i.e., with the wing bone attached)
1 tbsp lemon thyme leaves
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
15g unsalted butter, softened
12 slices parma ham
30g freshly grated parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 6½. Spread the onions over the base of a large roasting dish (approx 25cm x 38cm), drizzle with the oil and season.
2. Season the underside of the chicken fillets then turn them skin upwards. Score 3 diagonal slits in the skin of each chicken fillet.
3. Mix the thyme and lemon zest and stuff a pinch into each slit. Smear a little butter over the skin and season, then arrange the fillets on top of the onions, spaced a little way apart.
4. Drape the parma ham slices in piles between the breasts and scatter the ham with parmesan; these will shrink considerably on cooking. Roast on the top shelf for 35 minutes.
Sweet potato chunks with cherry tomatoes
Sweet and caramelised, the cherry tomatoes sharpen up the potatoes nicely.
900g unpeeled sweet potatoes, sliced 1cm thick and then halved
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
6 sprigs of cherry tomatoes on the vine (around 300g total)
1. Toss the sweet potato chunks in a large bowl with a couple of tablespoons of oil and some seasoning and spread over the base of a large roasting pan in a crowded layer. Roast for 55-60 minutes, turning them halfway through.
2. Meanwhile, arrange the tomato sprigs slightly apart in a medium roasting pan, drizzle over a tablespoon of oil, season and roast for 20-25 minutes. Combine when both cooked.
Figgy honey trifle
Simple, deliciously indulgent and full of nutritious goodies. The fruit can be varied depending on what’s sweet and ripe on the day. You will need a 20cm diameter x 6cm deep trifle dish.
5 madeleines, eg Bonne Maman
2 tbsp Cointreau, Grand Marnier or amaretto
3 figs, stalks trimmed, quartered vertically and sliced
500g greek yogurt
2 tbsp runny honey
20g toasted chopped hazelnuts
icing sugar for dusting
1. Coarsely crumble the madeleines over the base of the glass trifle dish. Drizzle with the liqueur and scatter over the fruit.
2. Spoon the yogurt into a large bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle with honey and fold over once to streak it. Dollop this on the fruit and spread to almost the edge of the dish. Cover and chill. Scatter with the hazelnuts and dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Whisky and ginger
With so many fab ginger beers on the market, what could be more welcoming on an autumn evening than to be greeted with a small blend of whisky and ginger before dinner? Just the one!
ice cubes and 6 orange peel twists to serve
600ml artisanal ginger beer, eg Fentimans Pink Ginger
1. Muddle a few ice cubes with an orange twist in six small tumblers. Add a 25ml shot of whisky to each one and then fill up with 100ml chilled ginger beer.
Plan of action
1. Put the sweet potatoes in to bake – 5 min prep, 55-60 min cooking.
2. Make the trifle – 10 min prep, then chill.
3. Put the chicken and parma ham roast in to bake – 10 min prep, 35 min cooking.
4. Put the cherry tomatoes in to bake – 2 min prep, 20-25 min cooking.
5. Fry the peppers – 10 min cooking.
6. Prepare the crostini – 5 min prep, 5 min cooking.
If you like to feel in control, some elements of this 60-minute menu can be prepared in advance to make it even easier.
- Make the goat’s cheese dip and prepare the radishes up to half a day in advance, cover and chill.
- Prepare the trifle up to half a day in advance, cover and chill.
- Assemble the chicken and parma ham roast up to an hour in advance, cover and set aside.
Food stylist: Lou Kenney. Prop stylist: Charlie Phillips