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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Food: easy entertaining

We were having some friends over on Saturday night so I said I'd make a few snacks.

The thought of feeding quite a few people used to stress me out but now I keep things simple.

Martin and I had been to see Despicable Me 2 earlier in the day which was sadly really disappointing. Despicable Me is my favourite film so I was really gutted. I think part of the problem was that I was looking forward to seeing it so much that I'd watched every single available trailer far too many times and, as such, had already seen all the funny bits!

I didn't want to spend ages slaving over the cooker because that's when entertaining becomes boring and annoying. I therefore picked some easy to rustle up dishes:

- honey mustard sausages
- caramel and burnt marshmallow cupcakes
- garlic, mozzarella and sugar bread sticks
- tortilla chips and salsa
- quinoa salad

I started by making the Hummingbird bakery caramel cupcakes with a burnt marshmallow topping.

I use a special Ikea cupcake trays which make smaller, taller cakes. The tray costs £7. The recipe below makes 24 of these petite cupcakes.

80g butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
150g dulce de leche

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Whisk together until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
2. Combine in a separate bowl the eggs and milk.
3. Add half of the egg/milk mixture to breadcrumb mixture and combine. Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the egg/milk. Stir.
4. Finally add the dulce de leche and combine.

5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and risen.

To make the topping follow this Ottolenghi meringue recipe.

Just make sure that once your uncooked meringue is made that you then use this directly i.e. don't bake it in the oven. Don't worry about uncooked egg - the way the sugar is heated beforehand means that the egg white is fully cooked.

Then place the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with any type of nozzle you fancy - I used a simple star and piped Mr Whippy shaped cones on top of the cupcakes. I then used a blow torch to create the toasted effect.

I also rustled up this quick and easy salsa recipe and served it with sour cream and tortilla chips.

I made an old favourite of sausages with mustard and honey which couldn't be simpler to do.

I prefer to use chipolata sausages. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line an oven tray with foil and place the sausages on top. I used 24 sausages. Then, in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of runny honey with 1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard. Brush this sticky mixture over the sausages and cook for 35 minutes in an oven - turning half way.

Your end result is beautifully sweet and knarled sausages.

I made some mozzarella and garlic sugar bread. I saw this recipe on the amazing Kitchen Treaty blog. When I saw this recipe originally, I was slightly concerned about the inclusion of sugar, but Karen certainly knows what she's talking about. It was so yummy!

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
1 pack of ready made pizza dough (it comes in a large rectangle)
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
200g grated mozzarella.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the pizza dough on an oven proof tray.
2. Combine the olive oil and garlic and brush over the top of the pizza dough.

3. Sprinkle the cheese and sugar over and bake for 15 minutes or until light golden and bubbly.

I finally rustled up a simple quinoa recipe based on this recipe.

Most of the prep was just assembling and letting the oven do all the work! If you've got lots of people to feed I definitely recommend popping some sausages in the oven and the garlic bread is amazing - you'll never want to buy it again.

We were hoping to have a few leftovers for lunch the next day but everything went, so at least that means everyone enjoyed it!

Do you have any favourite recipes for feeding lots of people? Do you spend all day in the kitchen beforehand or do you prefer to take shortcuts where possible? 


  1. Amazing looking spread, I'm not surprised there weren't any leftovers! I'm going to have to try quinoa, it looks delicious. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thanks! If you do make the quinoa, make sure you grab a sweet potato in your shopping too. Just pop it into the microwave whole and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Then mash it and incorporate it with the rest of the salad. It really is the base of all my quinoa salads. :)

  2. Oh my gosh!! This looks absolutely amazing. Can I just eat all of it?? :)

    1. Thank you so much! Honestly, it was sooooo quick to do (but don't tell any of my guests that!)

  3. I want a dozen of those cupcakes right now! :D They turned out so perfect!

    1. They were almost perfect - I didn't add enough raising agent though, so they were slightly too dense for my liking!