Roasting grapes brings out a wonderful sweetness which is excellent paired with salty, zesty goats-cheese. You can buy the crostini ready-made or you can easily make your own from a baguette or ciabatta.
12 ready-made crostini or 12 slices of ciabatta or baguette
200g semi-soft, crumbly goats cheese
2 large bunches grapes
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Large handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Dill fronds to serve
- If you’re making your own crostini, dry the slices of bread in the oven at 100°C so that they’re crisp but not coloured.
- Raise the oven temperature to 190°C. Place the grapes on a baking tray and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Roast for around 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until the grapes are dark and sticky.
- Crumble the cheese over the crostini, add a few roasted grapes and some chopped hazelnuts and serve with a couple of dill fronds.
Putting beautiful, delicate crab meat atop a crispy pastry base is always going to be well received. Using shop-bought pastry is absolutely fine and this very simple snack will impress your guests.
300g crab meat (we use white and brown but just white is fine too)
1 red chilli (seeds removed)
2 spring onions
Large handful coriander
2 egg yolks
200ml vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Ready rolled puff pastry
Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Cut out 12 circles (around 7cm diameter) of the puff pastry and place on a baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top to stop the pastry from rising and press down gently. Bake for ten minutes until crispy and golden. Leave to cool.
- Very finely chop the red chilli, spring onions and coriander. Reserve half of the chilli and coriander and mix the remaining with the crabmeat and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
- Put the egg yolks in a food processor and whizz on high speed. Very carefully start to add the vegetable oil a little at a time until the egg yolks start to emulsify. If it gets too thick, add a little water.
- To assemble, place a spoon of the crab mixture on each of the pastry discs. Dot the mayonnaise over the crab and sprinkle with the remaining chilli and coriander.
This is a very fancy-looking dinner party dish that is actually incredibly easy to make and really tasty. You can swap around the herbs for whatever you have available. Mint, dill and fennel fronds all work excellently.
2 racks of lamb
Small bunch parsley
3 sprigs rosemary
3 tbsp thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic
4 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
12 baby potatoes
4 handfuls of pea shoots or another salad leaf
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Finely chop all the herbs and grate the garlic. Add to a blender with the pine nuts and olive oil and blitz until you have a coarse paste. Add salt and pepper.
- Take the skin off the rack or ask your butcher to do it for you. Place the racks fat side down in a cold pan and place over a high heat until the fat is crisp and golden. Turn over and brown the other side.
- Place each potato on a wooden spoon and make small vertical slits 2mm apart. Douse in olive oil, season with salt and roast until crispy.
- Carefully cover the fat side of the lamb with the herb and pine nut paste, place on a baking tray and roast for approximately 20 minutes for pink meat or a little longer if you’d like it well done.
- Leave to rest for five minutes, carve and serve with the potatoes and pea shoots dressed with a little oil and lemon.