Lettuce Celebrate

Pulling in the we should catch up card, November can be full of gatherings, and now entertaining at home is a novelty again (who knew!) it’s generous & polite to ask what to bring.

To decide what to take, thinking about the time & place helps.
A drinks night catch up suits a platter of savoury nibbles, easy to put together, travel in the car & ready to plonk on the table, your famous salmon pate with pickled cucumbers & pumpernickle, or premade quiche/falafel/pies on an oven tray and sauces ready to add to a platter.
Canapes work well if they are 1.Recognizable, 2. Easy to pick up and eat and 3. Contain no scary parts. Bite sized, means, one bite, perfect to pop in the gob, crunchy, creamy and with plenty of flavour, I like canapes that keep me looking neat as I eat, and still be able to listen during the discussion, and not thinking, “oh, was that coriander? I hate coriander”.

I love a chicken sandwich for a drinks do. My rules include, finely chopped roasted chicken (which means I know there are no bones or chewy skin or bits of cartilage). The best mayonnaise. Avoid the vinegary sugary brands, a thick whole egg mayo gives a creamyness and full flavour. Include three elements to bring personality. Fresh Herb, chives, tarragon, mint, parsley or chervil. Some crunch, finely diced celery or toasted nuts – pistachio, almonds, macadamia. Add brightness with lemon or lime zest, diced dried mango, apricot or fresh apple. This gives you room for your very own custom version. Mint, Macadamia & Apple, or Tarragon, Celery & Lemon, Chive, Almond & Apricot. You could make a different version every week till Christmas!

Weekend lunch, offer your favourite salad. Pack the dressing and any crunchy toppings separately to drizzle over just before serving. A pile of roasted vegetables in bite sized pieces, tossed through cous cous/quinoa/rice and piled over crisp greens works well. Let’s use the rule of three again.
Potatoes, Sour Cream & Mint, with the main ingredient, accessorised with the creamy dressing & perked up with bright mint. Fresh asparagus, with lemon hollandaise & crunchy croutons. Tomatoes, Bocconcini & Basil, Pumpkin, Pecans & Red Cabbage. Sugar Snap Peas, Mint & Crumbled Feta. Grilled Eggplant drizzled with Tahini, Dukka and Pomegranate Pearls.
Tomatoes in season will be bursting with flavour. Keeping them at room temperature, gives you the maximum flavour. Sliced and layered with thin slices of white onion, seasoned with white pepper, sea salt & malt vinegar, the simpleness of this salad is the perfect match for a barbeque.