Recipes for a summer party

Summer’s here! What absolutely glorious weather. It makes me want to do nothing but sit in the garden and drink Pimms. Sadly that’s not a possibilty as even though the weather is wonderful, life still carries on. You have to go to work, chores have to be done and the worst thing of all is that I am studying for an exam! Saying that, I have had a few days off in the last couple of weeks so I really shouldn’t complain.

I have been meaning to publish this post for a while now but I’ve just been so dazzled by the sun I couldn’t do it (lame excuse eh?). However, in order to make up for my tardiness I have made this a double post with a savoury and a sweet recipe, both of which are perfect for a summer party or afternoon tea in the garden. And that is exactly what I made them for. A few weeks ago (well five weeks to be precise – ok stop judging, I told you the heat is making me slow!) we had a garden party for all the houses in the development I live in. One of my neighbours thought it would be a great way to get to know everyone. At first I thought she was completely mad! The party started off being for about 18 houses and soon enough we had invited well over 100 people! I thought it would be chaos. What if it rained? Who would bring what? But I needn’t have worried, it was a wonderful afternoon. The sun came out, we had gazebos up, barbecues fired, drinks on ice and a bouncy castle for the children. My neighbours did a wonderful job organising it, so if they happen to read this I’d like to use this opportunity to say a massive thank you. I can’t really take much credit for it myself, except of course for my yummy culinary contributions.

These fritters are perfect for a large party. They can be eaten with your fingers and can be served hot or cold. They are also a perfect way to hide vegetables for children who are not so keen to get their 5 a day. I have only used sweetcorn but feel free to add grated courgettes or carrots for an extra veggie boost. And these madelines are one of my favourite things to make. As a bit of a Francophile these little boat shaped cakes remind me of my wonderful holidays in France with N. And dipping them in chocolate just makes them even more luxurious!

Sweetcorn Fritters
(serves 20-30 depending on size | total prep and cooking time approx 45 mins-1 hour)
Ingredients
300g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
seasoning and herbs (eg. parsely)
3 eggs
200-300ml milk
2 small cans of sweetcorn – drained
1 large potato – grated
1 large onion – grated
100-150g grated cheese
Method
– Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl
– Add the eggs and whisk
– Add the sweetcorn, onion, potato, cheese and herbs and mix well
– Slowly add the milk. The batter should be thick enough to hold its shape in the frying pan but runny enough to slowly drip off a spoon. You may not need all the milk, it depends on how much water has released from the vegetables
– Heat approx 1cm of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and using a large spoon place the mixture in to cook. You will need to cook the fritters in batches and will need to add more oil as it gets soaked up. You may also need to reduce the heat as the oil will get quite hot towards the latter batches
– Cook the fritters for apporximately 2-3 mins on each side until the batter is cooked and the fritters are golden brown
– Transfer to a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil
– Serve hot or cold with sweet chilli dipping sauce
Chocolate Dipped Madelines
(makes approximately 36 | total prep and cooking time approx 40 mins depending on how many batches you make them in)
Ingredients
6 eggs
One and a half teaspoons vanilla extract
One and a half teaspoons lemon zest
375g icing sugar
300g plain flour
Three quarters of a teaspoon of baking powder
375g butter – melted and cooled
150g bar of plain chocolate – melted
Method
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan
– Grease the madeline moulds
– Beat the eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest for 5 mins with an electric hand whisk
– Beat in the icing sugar for 5 minutes
– Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold. It is best to fold in batches
– Mix in the cooled melted butter
– Bake for 10-12 mins until slightly brown and springs back on touching. Remove and cool on a wire rack
– While baking, melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Once they have cooled dip the madelines into the melted chocolate and leave on baking paper for the chocolate to harden







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