The other weekend our street decided to have a party which was very lovely indeed. Neighbours shuffled past my window carrying tables, chairs and armfuls of homemade goodies. Even the 40 meters of bunting I painstakingly made for my wedding got another airing. We had a teddy bear's picnic for the kids, got dance lessons from a very cool 50s couple, treasure hunted, raffled (didn't win the Bill's hamper *sob*) and kept up with the Joneses. A local estate agent even sponsored us a hog roast, proving that estate agents are in fact rather useful for something* ;-)
As my plans were scuppered by a later than anticipated return from London (friends, wine, laughter - it happens) I streamlined my offerings with three easy-peasy, retro inspired entertaining dishes. These take no time at all and will be brilliant for pre-dinner canapes or part of a buffet. I noticed that my dishes disappeared really quickly which made me feel proper smug but there were some fantastic things to eat that people had brought. The person who presented a whole box of hot jacket potatoes was nothing short of a genius and the cakes were to die for.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Croustads
This recipe is adapted from the brilliant Meals in Heels cookbook. It uses cheap supermarket sliced bread to make the cases but you would never guess it! Next dinner party I'm having I shall be serving these up with a glass of Prosecco for a pre-dinner treat.
10 Thin slices of supermarket white bread
125ml Olive oil
200g Cream Cheese
1 Tablespoon baby capers, chopped finely
1 Unwaxed lemon
100g Smoked salmon - trimmings are fine
Preheat the oven to 180C. Using a pastry cutter, cut two 6cm rounds from each slice of bread. Using a rolling pin, flatten each side and brush with olive oil. Press the rounds into a mini-muffin tin. I found using the end of the rolling pin to squash it right in helped keep the shape. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 5 minutes until golden.
Using kitchen scissors, snip the chives into the cream cheese, also adding the capers and grated rind of the lemon and half the juice. Combine thoroughly. Place 1 teaspoon into each croustade case and top with a piece of smoked salmon.
Sun-dried Tomato, Olive and Cheese Pin Wheels
500g Pack of puff pastry (cheat!!)
3 Tbs sun-dried tomato paste
150g Cream cheese
Handful of finely chopped basil
A handful of black olives, pitted and chopped
100g Grated Gruyere cheese
Roll out your puff pastry into a large square until it is about 3mm thick. Spread the sun-dried tomato paste on top. Combine the herbs and cream cheese and spread this on top of the sun-dried tomato. Scatter over the olives and the Gruyere, season and roll the pastry up. Cover with cling film and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Take the pastry roll from the fridge, remove the clingfilm and slice into 1cm slices, placing on the lined baking tray.
Bake for 7 -10minutes or until golden. Remove onto a cooling rack so they don't go soggy on the base.
Custard and Nutmeg Yo-Yos
I was lent a copy of Marcus Wareing's Nutmeg and Custard cookbook and inadvertently chose this recipe. It's a fantastic book and contains lots of other recipes that don't involve er, nutmeg or custard. These butter-rich beauties were light, crunchy and very moorish.
Makes 12 sandwiched biscuits
*Only joking of course. Thank you Mishon Mackay, you are in no way the same box as the blood sucking, devil agents we used for our house purchase.