This cocktail came about by accident. I was planning on experimenting with some Earl Grey Martinis, when my friends brought a bottle of bubbly along. I thought ‘what the heck’ and just topped the martinis off with bubbles – and it was pretty much amazing. Perfect for a summer party.
Serves 6 • Prep 20’ • Cooking 10’• Easy
6 Earl Grey tea bags
8 ice cubes
1 bottle crémant or sparkling wine
salt and pepper, for the glass rim
Start by making a sugar syrup: put the sugar into a saucepan, add 100ml water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and keep on a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool completely.
Steep the tea bags in the gin for 10 minutes, strain and put the liquid into a cocktail shaker.
Squeeze the lemons and put the juice into the shaker. Add the cooled sugar syrup and 8 ice cubes and shake.
Put the salt and pepper onto a little plate. Put a bit of water onto another plate. Dip the tops of 6 champagne glasses into the water, then into the salt and pepper mixture.
Divide the Earl Grey syrup between the champagne glasses, and top up with bubbly – you’re looking at a ration of 1⁄3 Earl Grey syrup and 2⁄3 of bubbly.
Hummus is one of my absolute favourite dips. In the UK, you get hummus in every supermarket and I can’t recall a single house party or picnic at which there wasn’t a tub of hummus to tuck into. I love how super easy it is to make this dip, just throw all the ingredients into a blender and pulse - it’s that simple. You can find tahini paste – which is effectively sesame butter – in the foreign food section of most supermarkets.
Makes 1 bowl • Prep 5’ • Easy
1 can chickpeas (240g drained)
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp tahini paste
3 tbsp yoghurt
juice of 1 lemon
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil plus a bit for drizzling
smoked paprika, to sprinkle
Put all the ingredients, except for the smoked paprika, into a blender and pulse until smooth. Put into a bowl, drizzle with a glug of olive oil and sprinkle with some smoked paprika.
Serve with crackers or vegetable sticks.
There are endless variations for hummus. My favourites are:
- Pesto hummus: Add a couple of tablespoons of pesto and blend.
- Olive hummus: Add a handful of black olives and blend.
- Cumin hummus: Dry-roast a tablespoon of cumin in a frying pan, add to the basic hummus and blend.
Blue Cheese Biscuits
These cheesy biscuits are always incredibly popular at my parties. They go perfectly well with a glass of wine or Crémant. Easy to prepare ahead, they taste best straight from the oven.
Makes about 30 • Prep 20’ • Fridge 30’ • Oven 12-15’ • Easy
75g butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1⁄2 tsp salt
Crumble the blue cheese into a large bowl. Add the butter and egg yolk and mix well. Add the flour, salt and 3 tablespoons of water and knead into a dough. Shape into a ball, wrap into cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
Break off walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll them between your palms and place the balls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Gently press the balls down, so they’re slightly flattened.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, put on a wire rack to cool down or serve while still hot.
- These can also be made with grated mature cheddar or gruyère.
- I always have some of this dough in my freezer – ready to pop out when unexpected guests arrive. Just make the dough ahead, shape into a sausage and freeze. Defrost it on the day you want to make the biscuits, and cut into slices before baking.
Mini Chocolate Beignets
Right, let me be frank, these sound pretty posh, but they’re in fact nothing else than deep-fried Mars bars! I swore never to eat such a culinary perversion, yet on one night out in Glasgow, I was converted! At a local chippie, I tried a proper deep-fried Mars bar and realized that it’s in fact a pretty acceptable dessert. It slightly reminded me of churros: crunchy and fatty on the outside, with a melting chocolate centre. Still, I couldn’t stomach a whole one. So, instead I’ve used mini chocolate bars to make my beignets and enhanced the beer batter with vanilla sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. I know it’s still slightly nuts, but, believe me, these mini chocolate beignets are a real party pleaser.
Makes about 30 beignets • Freezer 15’ • Prep 10’ • Frying 6’ • Easy
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
120ml cold beer (lager)
1l sunflower oil
30 mini chocolate Celebration bars (250g)
2 tbsp icing sugar for dusting
Put the flour into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Once the flour is cold, put into a large bowl and mix with the baking powder, vanilla sugar and cinnamon. Add the cold beer while whisking to make a smooth batter.
Heat the sunflower oil in a deep pan until a drop of batter sizzles and crisps up straight away. Unwrap the chocolate bars and put them all into the batter. Mix with a spoon so all the chocolate bars are covered in batter.
Fish the chocolate bars out of the batter with tongs, and drop them into the hot oil in batches of five. Deep-fry for a few minutes until they start turning golden. Take out of the fat and put onto absorbent kitchen paper. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
- If you can’t find mini chocolate Celebration bars, you can cut regular sized chocolate bars into small chunks.
- You can of course fry these in a deep fat fryer.
Recipes from the book Anne’s Kitchen, Editions Schortgen : http://anneskitchen.co.uk/the-book/