Archive for the 'Party food' Category

Beetroot and sourcream dip

October 25, 2010


I have been overrun with homegrown beetroot. Not a terrible situation to be in as I LOVE beetroot!

The other night I decided to knock together a beetroot dip. Something that I have eaten many times before but never made. Incredibly simple, tasty and perfect as part of a mezze.

Not only is this dip tasty it is also good for you – don’t you just love that. Beetroot is packed full of folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and vitamin B6 along with huge amounts of antioxidants.



4 large beetroot or 7 – 8 small ones
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
150 ml Sour Cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Nutmeg (optional)


Scrub the beetroot well and remove the root and any stalks. Cut larger beetroot into quarters and smaller ones in halves. Place in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Beetroot ready for roasting

Add a splash of water and cover with foil. Bake in oven at 200 degrees Celsius for approx 25 – 35 mins or until tender.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Beetroot and sour cream in fod processor

Once cool put in food processor with sour cream and blend – add lemon, salt and pepper and grated fresh nutmeg to taste.

Beetroot dip

Serve with hot flat bread, pita chips or plain crackers.


Spinach and feta dip with homemade pitta chips

October 25, 2010

Spinach and feta dip

Dips are so easy and it doesn’t have to be guacamole and hummous everytime. Even though I do love them they can get a little bit dull.

Feta is a great medium for a dip, you can mix lots of different things into it like sauteed mushrooms, fresh herbs, chargrilled red pepper, courgettes etc.

I chose to use frozen spinach as I had bought a bag as a bit of a trial to see if it was a good cheap alternative to the fresh stuff. It isn’t!

But it does have it’s uses….

This dip for example (however I do think it would taste better with wilted fresh spinach).


100 grams frozen spinach
200 grams feta
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Dried oregano


Cook spinach as per instructions, I microwaved mine for 2 mins. Then drain through a sieve.

Drain spinach

Once drained and cool pop into the food processor with the feta, juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano.

Spinach feta in food processor

Blend then season to taste adding more lemon if required.

Serve with Pitta Chips


Pitta bread


Cut pita bread into triangles

Cut pitta bread into triangles and split in half.

Tip: you can dust the pitta with some paprika or cummin to jazz it up if you want.

Bake in oven

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celcius until golden and crunchy.

Crunchy pita chips

Feta, tomato and herb toasts – a cheeky little snack with a hint of Greece

August 30, 2010

Grilled feta, tomato and herbs

This is a bit of a twist on grilled cheese on toast with a little bit of Greece thrown into the mix.


Good bread or rolls
1 block of feta (approx 200 grams)
1 tasty tomato
1/2 small red onion
Fresh herbs (I used parsley, mint, chives, thyme)
Dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Finely dice onion and tomato and add to a bowl with crumbled feta. Add finely chopped fresh herbs removing any touch stalks. Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano and a healthy glug of olive oil. Mash together and season.

Pile on top of halved rolls of slices of good bread, drizzle with olive oil and grill until golden.

Eat with relish.

Mushroom pate – oh how I love mushrooms….

August 18, 2010


Another first for me recently was mushroom pate. One of those things that I just have never tried to make – I love mushrooms and I love mushroom pate. I decided to serve this as the party I catered for too. Apologies that there are no photos of the finished product but I promise to add one when I make it again.

It was very simple to make, very tasty and if you are a mushroom lover like myself I strongly recommend you give it a bash!

Ingredients (makes about 400 – 500 mls)

500 grams mushrooms (can be a mix if you want – I used Swiss browns and closed cap white)
1 large onion
Fresh Tarragon (about 1 tablespoon of chopped leaves)
1 large lemon (more if you wish)
200 grams of cream cheese, you could use ricotta or mascarpone
Salt and Pepper
Fresh nutmeg
Olive oil


Brush mushrooms to remove any dirt. Try to avoid washing them as they will absorb a lot of water.


Slice mushrooms and saute in a non stick frying pan in a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil until cooked through and most if not all of the liquid released from the mushrooms has evaporated (do not brown). Leave to cool.

Finely dice onion and saute in butter and olive oil. When cooked through soft sweet and translucent (do not brown) leave to the side to cool.

Sauted onion

Juice the lemon and finely chop tarragon (1 tablespoon).

Add cooled mushrooms, cooled onion, cream cheese, lemon juice and tarragon to a food processor. Season with a large pinch of sea salt, several grinds of the pepper mil and about 1/4 of a finely grated nutmeg.

Blend until smooth (a little bit of texture is quite nice so not too smooth).

Taste and add more seasoning if needed and if you wish more lemon.

Pile into attractive ceramic bowls and serve with mini oatcakes. Also delicious on hot buttered wholemeal toast for breakfast.

Corn and ricotta fritters – easy, cheap and super versatile

August 18, 2010

Corn and ricotta fritters

I recently catered for a party, the brief was no warm food – in Scotland!!!! Certainly a challenge. One of the things I decided to try was corn fritters. My mum used to make them for us when we were kids and I loved them. However they were warm….so I did I test run and I am pleased to say that they are just as lovely cold as they are warm.

So I made about 70 of them, little weenie bite sized ones and topped them with a herby cream cheese and a baby roasted Roma tomato.

Success, every single one of them was gobbled up.

Now you don’t have to have them cold obviously, they are great eaten straight from the frying pan or toasted the next day or dare I say microwaved for little bit to warm them. Actually toast them – I hate microwaves!!!

Corn fritters are easy quick and tasty and can be eaten as a snack, for breakfast with some crispy bacon or as a light lunch or dinner with a salad and a tasty tomato and mint salsa….yummy:

Ingredients (makes about 20 mini ones or 8 – 10 larger ones)

7 tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Salt and Pepper
200 grams of fresh full fat ricotta
50 grams of finely grated Parmesan (fresh not dried of course)
1 large onion
1 large egg
2 cobs of fresh sweetcorn
Milk (approx 500 mls)
50 grams of unsalted butter


Flour egg cream of tartar bicarb

Sift flour, cream of tartar and bicarb into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and some milk and beat until combined. Add more milk, a large pinch of salt and several grinds of the pepper mill. The batter should be relatively thick – about the same consistency of drop scones (Scottish pancakes) or picklets.

Place in the fridge covered in cling wrap.

onions and butter

Finely dice onion and saute on a low to medium heat with the butter and a pinch of salt until soft sweet and translucent. Leave to the side.

Removing corn kernals from cobs

Remove husk from corn and wash the cobs. Cut the kernels from the cobs.

Batter corn onions ricotta and parmesan

Add sautéed onion, corn, ricotta and finely grated parmesan to the pancake batter and stir through to combine.

Batter mixed through

You may need to add a little bit more milk to loosen the batter if it feels a bit too stiff.

Fritters in pan

Heat a non stick frying and grease with a little butter.

Dollop spoonfuls of the pancake batter into the pan giving each spoonful a little room as they will spread a bit.

Keep the temp at a medium heat as you do not want them to be burnt on the outside and uncooked in the middle.

Turn fritters when golden

Turn when golden brown and bubbles have formed and burst on the top side of the pancake/fritter.

Cook until both sides are golden and the pancake is cooked through. If the outside is cooked and the inside is not you will need to reduce the temperature.

Cool in a clean tea towel – it will absorb any moisture and keep them nice and crisp on the outside.

Eat straight away or cool completely in tea towel then seal in a Tupperware box and refrigerate until you want to eat them. They should keep for a couple of days and I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to freeze them actually….

Mushroom ricotta and herb filo pie

July 26, 2010

Mushroom and ricotta pie

When I made the Spanakopita the other day I thought why limit myself to spinach! The flakey pastry lends itself really well to mushrooms. I absolutely love mushrooms but don’t really eat them very often. When I do eat them I tend to cook them very simply and have them for breakfast on toast or roast large whole mushroom in the oven with a bit of butter and fresh thyme.

One thing that did concern me a little about using mushrooms is they tend to give out a lot of liquid which could be a bit of a disaster for filo. The ingredients must be relatively dry or you end up with a soggy pastry disaster. Nobody likes soggy pastry!

The key here is to slice the mushrooms and roast them in the oven until the liquid has evaporated. They will give out quite a lot of liquid and you will think that it will never evaporate but be patient it will.

Ingredients (8 portions)

1 packet of filo pastry
200 grams of unsalted butter
500 grams of closed cup mushrooms
250 grams of Portobello mushrooms (or large field mushrooms)
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 small bunch of chives
1 medium red onion
4 large cloves of garlic
250 grams of full fat ricotta
150 grams of Parmesan Reggiano
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh nutmeg
Tablespoon of sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius


Brush off any dirt from the mushrooms. Do not wash them as they will absorb lots of water. Finely slice the mushrooms and place in a large roasting tin or ceramic baking dish.

Sliced mushrooms with Thyme butter olive oil

Use about 50 grams of the butter and cut into small pieces, dot this over the mushrooms. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and sprinkle over the mushrooms too. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake in oven making sure you stir every ten minutes to ensure the mushrooms cook evenly. This will take about 35 – 40 minutes. Depending on how mush liquid comes out of the mushrooms – make sure you cook them until nearly all the mushroom juice has evaporated.

Saute onions and garlic

While this is happening finely dice the onion and garlic and saute in a little olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft and sweet. Leave to the side to cool.

Onions and garlic cooked and left to cool

Finely chop the parsley and chives and add to a large bowl. Finely grate the Parmesan and also add to the bowl along with the ricotta. Once the onion is cool also add to the bowl with about 1/3 of a nutmeg very finely grated.

Grated parmesan ricotta parsley and chives

Once the mushrooms are cooked remove from the oven and let cool slightly – I removed them from the ceramic dish and spread them out on a cold plate to speed this process along.

Cooked mushrooms

When the mushrooms have cooled down a bit stir them into the ricotta and herb mix (they can still be warm just not piping hot).

Add mushrooms to ricotta mix

Mix mushrooms with ricotta

Make sure you do not add any “mushroom juice” to your mix – try and keep it as dry as possible.

You are now ready to layer up your filo.

Filo, pie dish and melted butter

Take the rest of the butter and melt.

Chose a rectangular pie dish about the size of half a sheet of filo (no bigger). The dish can be ceramic, pyrex or metal.

With scissors cut the filo pastry in half.

***Tip: Cover your filo with a damp tea towel or kitchen paper when you are not using it as it dries out VERY quickly.

Brush the base of the pie dish with butter and lay a sheet of filo on top. Brush this sheet with butter and lay another sheet on top keep going until you have layered up half the sheets.

Add filling

Take the mushroom mix dollop onto your filo layers. Spread evenly and then start layering the rest of the filo sheets in the same way.

Brush top layer with butter and score through portions

Brush the top of the pie with butter and then take a sharp knife and cut the top layers of pastry into portions. I got 8 good-sized portions out of mine. (do not cut all the way down to the bottom layers).

If your filo pastry is a bit bigger than your dish tuck the overhanging edges down the sides of the pie dish.

I then sprinkled the top of the pie with sesame seeds – this is optional.

Bake in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 25 – 35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot, warm or cold with a cos lettuce salad and a squeeze of lemon.

Mushroom pie

– this is a fab dish and I am going to try to make this in individual triangles or “fingers” to see how it will work for a cocktail party as finger food. Will keep you posted!!