Royal wedding celebration, anyone? Cue cute nibbles and the coolest summer cocktail recipes ready to pick and mix.
Slice a white peach into thin segments. Halve 150g strawberries, discarding the stems. Fill a large punch bowl or serving bowl with ice cubes by a third and mix in the fruit. Pour over 300ml Pimm’s, followed by 900ml chilled pink lemonade (for example, Belvoir Raspberry Lemonade or Fentimans Rose Lemonade) and stir. Scatter over a few borage flowers, if available (or use small basil leaves). Ladle into chilled large (250ml) martini glasses.
Rose wedding cup
Fill a mug with coarsely crushed ice and have ready a chilled bottle of pink champagne or rosé wine. Tip the ice into a large punch bowl or serving bowl, drizzle over ½ tsp rose extract and 100ml Cointreau, and gently mix in a handful of small pink edible rose petals and 100g small raspberries. Pour over the champagne or rosé and ladle into chilled large (250ml) martini glasses.
Mint julep martini
In a mixing jug, place 8 sprigs of mint, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 3 dashes angostura bitters, and crush everything together using the back of a spoon. Add 100ml chilled sparkling mineral water and stir vigorously, then add 300ml bourbon. Fill six chilled small (180ml) martini glasses with coarsely crushed ice by two thirds. Strain the cocktail into a measuring jug and divide among the glasses over the crushed ice. Finish each glass with a spring of mint and a thin wedge of lime.
Gin & Dubonnet royale
Have ready six chilled small (180ml) martini glasses and 6 dark red cherries. Prick the cherries all over and place one on a pretty stick in each glass. Fill a medium cocktail mixing jug with ice, pour over 270ml chilled dry gin and 270ml chilled Dubonnet and swizzle for 30 seconds, then immediately strain over the cherries.
Spiced Aperol fizz
At least an hour before you want to serve, place 6 crushed cardamom pods and 1 earl grey tea bag in a mug, cover with 150ml boiling water and leave to steep for 3-4 minutes, then discard the tea bag, leave to cool and chill. Have ready 450ml chilled Aperol, 300ml chilled prosecco and 1 lemon. Half-fill a large punch bowl or serving bowl with ice cubes and pour over the tea with the cardamom pods. Squeeze over half the lemon, then cut the remaining half into thin wedges and mix into the ice. Pour over the Aperol, followed by the prosecco. Ladle into chilled large (250ml) martini glasses and decorate with a twist of lemon peel, if wished.
Sparkling cider spritz
Have ready 150ml calvados, 150ml chilled pineapple juice and 600ml chilled dry sparkling cider (try an artisanal cider with lower alcohol). Slice 2 thin rounds of fresh pineapple into segments and prepare 12 twists of lemon peel. Fill a large punch bowl or serving bowl with ice cubes by a third. Mix in the pineapple and lemon twists and muddle them. Pour over the calvados, cider and pineapple juice and stir. Ladle into six chilled large (250ml) martini glasses. If wished, decorate with pineapple and lemon twists on a stick.
Anchovy butter blinis
In small bowl, whisk 50g softened unsalted butter until pale and moussey, then work in 1 rounded tsp Gentleman’s Relish using a spoon until the mixture appears streaked. Warm 12 cocktail blinis for 1-2 minutes each side under the grill, then leave them to cool to room temperature. Slather each blini with half a teaspoon of the butter, drop some chopped gherkins in the centre and dust with finely chopped chives. You could also spread the flavoured butter on savoury crackers of your choice.
Easy ham & cheese tart
MAKES 1 TRAY FOR SLICING
Have ready a 23cm baking tin (for example a brownie tin or equivalent), 1 x 320g all-butter shortcrust pastry sheet, 4 medium eggs, 150g diced roast smoked ham (fat discarded) and 175g grated gruyère. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry into a square that will line and overhang the tin. Lay the pastry in the tin without trimming the excess, line it with foil, securing the sides to the tin, then spread baking beans in the base. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, use a little of the white to brush the pastry case, return the tin to the oven and bake the pastry for 15 minutes more until golden. To the eggs in the mixing bowl, add 300ml whipping cream, 100ml whole milk, 1 tsp grainy mustard and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Whisk together, then stir in the diced ham and half the gruyère. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and scatter over the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and puffy. Leave the tart to cool for several hours or half a day to firm up, storing it in the fridge as necessary. Trim the pastry edges level with the filling and cut into squares the size of your choice. The tart can also be rewarmed for 20 minutes at 190C/170C fan/gas 5, either covered or wrapped in foil.
Cocktail sausages with bloody mary dip
Have ready 500g cocktail sausages (or use chipolatas twisted in half and snipped in two). Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Brush a roasting pan with vegetable oil and spread the sausages over the base in a single layer, spaced slightly apart to ensure they caramelise evenly. Roast for 35-45 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, for the dip, peel and finely chop 1 banana shallot and slice 3 sticks of celery heart. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium pan over a medium heat and fry the shallot and celery for 3-5 minutes until softened and lightly coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir in 350g baby plum tomatoes and some seasoning, then cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. In a blender, purée the contents of the pan with 1½ tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 dashes Tabasco, 1 tsp gherkin juice (from a jar) and 1 tbsp vodka. Pass the purée through a sieve into a small nonstick pan and simmer over a low heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a rich dip. Transfer this to a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.
Salty choco chilli bites
MAKES ABOUT 18
Have ready 30g plain crackers (for example, Bath Olivers), 50g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa) and 50g very dark chocolate (80 per cent cocoa). Finely chop the crackers, Break up the two chocolates and gently melt them with 10g unsalted butter in a bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water, then stir in the crackers discarding any very fine crumbs. Trace about 18 x 4cm circles on a sheet of baking paper using a biscuit cutter as a guide, then turn the paper over. Spread half teaspoons of the mixture into craggy discs within the circles and leave in a cool place for 30-60 minutes until semi-set and starting to appear cloudy. Very lightly dust the discs with fine sea salt (for example, pink Himalayan) and cayenne pepper, and leave to set completely. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a couple of days. In warm weather, store in the fridge.
Mini olive muffins
MAKES ABOUT 18
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and arrange 18 mini baking cases on a baking sheet. Drain 30g pitted black olives, pat them dry and chop them finely. In a medium bowl, sift and combine 80g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder then stir in 15g ground almonds. In another bowl, whisk 1 medium egg with 75ml whole milk, then stir in 25g melted unsalted butter. Pour the egg mixture on to the dry ingredients and combine to form a lumpy batter. Fold in the chopped olives. Dot with 1 rounded tablespoon pesto and gently fold over a few times to streak the mixture. Half fill eachbaking case with a heaped teaspoon of the mixture. For the top, cut 9 extra pitted black olives in half (or use cherry tomatoes for a different presentation). Toss the halved olives with 1 tsp olive oil and gently press a half into each muffin to semi-submerge. Scatter a pinch of finely chopped spring onion over each one. Bake for 20-23 minutes until lightly golden and firm. Serve warm or newly cooled. These may also be rewarmed the following day for 5 minutes at 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Walnut and roquefort biscuits
MAKES ABOUT 18
Have ready 50g walnut pieces and 25g freshly grated parmesan. In a food processor whiz together 50g plain flour, 50g diced unsalted butter, 25g ground almonds, 40g crumbled roquefort, 10g of the parmesan and a little cayenne pepper. Bring the dough together into aball, wrap it in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 2½ and butter a nonstick baking sheet. Roll the dough into balls the size of a cherry (about 10g each), press one side of each ball into the remaining parmesan and arrange cheese-upwards on the baking sheet spaced a little way apart. Press a walnut piece into the top of each biscuit and bake for 45 minutes until a pale gold. Loosen with a spatula and leave to cool. These will keep well in an airtight container for at least a week.
Easy lemon & elderflower trifles
Have ready 6 small (150ml) cocktail glasses and 3 bought madeleines (for example, Bonne Maman). Coarsely crumble half a madeleine into the base of each glass and drizzle about a teaspoon of elderflowercordial over each one. Stir some good-quality blueberry jam until loosened and smooth, then drop a generous teaspoon into each glass on topof the cake. Combine 125g extra thick double cream with 225g Greek yoghurt and 2 tbsp lemon curd. Spoon a couple of heaped tablespoons of lemony cream over the jam. Arrange a few small blueberries on top, dust with icing sugar and chill for up to a day. Just before serving, decorate with edible flowers of your choice, if wished. Try maddocksfarmorganics.co.uk for a brilliant selection to buy online.
Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Claire Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.