Our summer house has survived many dinner parties and parties through the years, but the one we had during this holiday in Sweden was probably the best one so far. The weather was good, it was a nice group of friends and the perfect amount of people, and even the food seemed to be appreciated.
And it is so nice to have a party among old friends sometimes. Friends who without even asking just start helping you. All of a sudden Carina was doing the washing up, Linus carved the meat, Maria made coffee and Claes took charge of the camera. Thanks, guys!
We started off with two canapés, both found on a lovely Swedish foodblog: Pyttes. We had fried halloumi with grilled peppers and crustades with girolles. Both adorable and extremely tasty!
As a starter I chose a dish I have made before and love; the salmon tartar with cream cheese topping. It is a great summery dish that looks more difficult to make than it is, plus you can prepare it in advance.
For the mains we had barbecued chicken with lemon and rosemary and barbecued leg of lamb marinated in red wine, garlic and rosemary. With this we served celeriac gratin, tomatoes provencale and small carrots.
The dessert was prepared in advance as well, the best way to do it for a large gathering I think. I had made an elderflower pannacotta with passionfruit on top, and it was really nice actually, made with mothers homemade elderflower cordial.
I poured the panna cotta into disposable plastic cups, not very sexy, but nice to skip the washing up, when there is 17 of you!
Thank you to all my great friends for coming!
Halloumi canapés with grilled peppers, serves 20 if combined with another canapé.
2 packets of halloumi
5 bell peppers
1 bunch of basil
crema di balsamico
olive oil for frying
cocktail sticks/small scewers
Cut the peppers into big chunks. Rinse and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Put the tray in the oven until the peppers are soft and has got some colour, about 25 minutes, 200C, this step you can do in advance.
Slice the hallomi and fry in olive oil until golden, just before serving. Place a piece of pepper and a piece of halloumi on a cocktail stick with a basil leaf in between. Place on platter and repeat until it is all used up. Drizzle crema di balsamico on the platter. Serve with napkins.
Crustades with girolles, serves 12-18 together with another canapé
2 packs (48 pieces) of crustades (you find them in Waitrose)
500 g girolles
butter for frying
150-200 g garlic and herb cream cheese
50 ml sourcream or creme fraiche
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt, white pepper
chives to decorate
Clean the mushrooms and chop them. Fry in butter on high heat. Remove from pan to a bowl and add the cream cheese, sour cream, mustard and honey. Season to taste. Fill the crustades with the mixture just before serving (otherwise the crustades go soggy). Cut the chives and sprinkle on top. Serve and enjoy!
Barbecued whole chicken with rosemary and lemon, 8-10 people at a buffet
2 medium chickens
50 g softened butter
4 garlic cloves
Rinse the birds. Mix the butter with lemon peel and rosemary leaves. Season the birds and cut pockets in the skin above the breasts. Fill the pockets with butter and smear the rest of the butter around the birds. Cut the lemon in half and place each half the the bird’s cavarties. Place the chickens in a cooking bag each. Place 2 garlic cloves in each bag. Cut a small whole on the top of the bag (as a chimney) and place the chickens in the oven on 200C for about 45 minutes or until almost done. Remove from the bags and place on the barbecue and cook until done (clear juices at the joints).
Barbecued leg of lamb with red wine, rosemary and garlic, serves 12
2 legs of lamb
1 bottle red wine
1 bunch rosmary
Season the meat on all sides and place in a cooking bag each. Add rosemary sprigs and garlic to the bags and pour half the bottle in each bag. Let the meat marinate for 24 hours, make sure to turn the bag a few times so it marinated evenly. Cut a small whole on the top of the bags (as a chimney) and place the bags in the oven (200C) for about an hour. A meat thermometer is a great tool here, but unfortunately our old one in the summer house didn’t work. Take the meat out of the bags and barbecue at the end to get the crisp and sooty outside. Let the meat rest before carving.
Tomatoes provencale, serves 2-4
2 large tomatoes
3-4 tbsp grated parmesan
5 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove
Cut the tomatoes in half (nicest if you cut vertically). Place with the cut side up and brush with oliv oil. Bake in 200 C for 15 minutes. Mix parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Add enough olive oil for the mixture to soak it up. Season the tomatoes and place a spoonful of the mixture on each halve. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.
Elderflower pannacotta, serves 6
700 ml cream (I mixed single and double)
4 tbsp concentrated elderflower cordial (preferrably homemade)
40 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
3 gelatine leaves
Decoration: 2 passion fruits + 2 tsp icing sugar
It is best to make this dessert the day before serving so it has time to set properly. Cover the gelatine leaves with cold water in a bowl. Mix sugar, cream and vanilla in a non-stick saucepan. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves and add them to the cream mixture. Stir so they dissolve evenly. Add the elderflower cordial and leave the mixture for 30 minutes to cool down. Pour into plastic cups or small bowls. Leave to cool completely before putting them into the fridge. Leave them overnight to set.
On the same day, scoop out the passionfruit and mix with the icing sugar. Divide the mixture between the pannacottas and spread it out over the top. Serve and realise with the first spoonful that you have gone to heaven.