Amp up any occasion with JLife’s selection of easy-to-make, delicious recipes suitable for the new season.
Although autumn’s descent is firmly underway and summer’s sunny glow is starting to feel like nothing but a distant memory, there’s no reason why you can’t still relive the season’s refreshing flavours in the form of party food.
1 ½ cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 nectarine, diced
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-oz.) French bread baguette
1 (10.5-oz.) goat cheese log, softened
Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together strawberries, nectarine, grape tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, freshly ground pepper, and salt.
Split baguette in half; cut each half crosswise into four equal pieces. Spread cut sides of bread with goat cheese. Place bread pieces on a baking sheet, and bake 13 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from oven, and top with strawberry mixture. Cut into two inch slices
The rich and creamy combination of cream cheese and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers.
Baked Potato Bites
Why waste time away from guests working on a huge dinner with all the trimmings when these canapes will act as ideal alternatives? And they’ll be a welcome change to the filling food that this time of year typically brings.
9 small yellow potatoes
2 tsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
6 spears of asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
4 and ½ tsp sour cream
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Put them in a 9″x11″ cake pan (if your pan is prone to sticking, add some foil or parchment paper first). Toss the potatoes with one teaspoon of the olive oil, ¼ tsp coarse salt and ⅛ tsp coarse black pepper. Scoot the potatoes to one side of the pan and arrange them cut side up.
Roast until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are done, remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool as well.
Meanwhile, toss the asparagus with the remaining one teaspoon of oil, a good pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Put the spears on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven. Cook until bright green and only just yielding to the pressure of a fork (four minutes for this asparagus, seven for really thick ones). Remove from the oven and transfer them to a plate to cool. Cut each asparagus spear into three equal lengths.
Arrange the potato halves on a serving plate, cut side up. If any are particularly tipsy, cut a thin slice off of the rounded bottom, making it flat. Top each half with ¼ teaspoon of sour cream and one length of asparagus. Give everything a small grind of pepper
These elegant portions are perfect for a classy dinner party, and the creative design will inevitably prompt praise and have attendees asking you for cooking inspiration.
12 ounces mushrooms (your choice), diced finely
4 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sheet puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package)
1 egg beaten with 3 tablespoons water
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the diced mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and they become a little brown and caramelised. Set aside to cool.
Take the puff pastry sheet and roll it into a uniform rectangle about 10 by 12 inches.
Spread the mushroom filling over the surface of the pastry and then roll it jelly roll-style starting with the long side.
Refrigerate the roll for about 20 minutes before slicing into ¼ inch rounds. (Or wrap and freeze the roll for later use.)
Place the little pinwheels on a parchment-lined baking sheet and dab each with a little of the egg wash.
Bake at 425° for 12 to 15 minutes and serve warm