I'm feeling decidedly patriotic today, being St George's day so I thought it would be an appropriate time to launch a planned series of posts in the lead up to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee! A year ago this April, I hosted a party for my fellow British expats here in Houston, Texas, to celebrate the Royal nuptials of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. There was much flag waving, hat wearing, quaffing of copious amounts of champagne and general merriment... but the bit I enjoyed most (believe it or not) was the planning & preparing of the food! Being a Brit abroad, there are many favourite comfort foods you simply have to learn to live without on a regular basis, but with a Royal Wedding to celebrate I felt compelled to provide a buffet that encompassed the best of British cuisine.
With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee fast approaching next month, I thought I ought to share some of my recipes and ideas for those of you planning to celebrate this milestone with a quintessentially British street party! I'm going to be on holiday in Lanzarote with my family for the Jubilee but am planning to pop some Union Jack bunting in my suitcase for this very purpose!
I shall be sharing some of the best of my Jubilee street party food recipes, ideas & printables over the next week or two, so check back regularly! Here are some to be getting on with:
Every party needs a cake... and for a Jubilee party you may need one that can feed the whole street! For the royal wedding party I hosted last year, I did consider creating a mini tiered traditional wedding cake, but in the end practicality won out. I needed something quick and easy to put together that still encompassed the feel of the occasion. So I bought a plain white iced sheet cake (from good old Costco) and decorated it with fresh berries to look like the Union Jack Flag! Very easy, quick and yet oh, so effective!
You will need...
- A rectangular cake, frosted with white icing (homemade or shop bought depending on your preference)
- Red berry fruits, washed and dried carefully, e.g. strawberries or raspberries
- Blue berry fruits, washed and dried carefully, e.g. blueberries or blackberries
Rinse, hull and prepare your fruit (cut larger berries in half). Dry them very carefully on paper kitchen towels. Create a cross with red berries going vertical and horizontal across the cake. Then, add diagonal lines of red berries going from the center to the four corners. Finally, fill in the gaps with blue berries.Mini Fish n Chips in newspaper cones
This is one of the things I miss about the UK... a fish 'n' chip supper eaten hot & straight from the paper with lashings of salt & malt vinegar! Delicious!
You will need...
- Greaseproof baking paper
- Fish goujons - see my recipe for homemade brain boosting fishfingers
- Oven french fries or homecooked potato chips
Firstly, get your paper cones prepared in advance. Cut a pile of newspaper squares measuring approximately 4"x 4". Then cut a matching pile of greaseproof paper squares... these can be the same size or marginally smaller if you want neater edges. Lay a square of greaseproof paper on to of a newspaper square, and then roll two opposite corners towards each other to create a cone shape. Secure with a staple trying to keep the pointy end closed. Stack them to keep their shape until you are ready to serve.
Then, simply prepare you chips (french fries) and fish goujons. Pop a few chips and a fish goujon in each cone to serve. And don't forget to provide the salt & malt vinegar!
Marmite & cheese mini tarts
Marmite... us Brits either love it or hate it! I personally couldn't live without it's salty, savoury, sticky, dark yummi-ness! These are dead easy to make and store in advance, as long as you can stop yourself from scoffing them all before the party!You will need...
- Shortcrust pastry dough (ready made or homemade)
- Grated mature cheddar cheese
- Cookie cutter
- Shallow mini-tart baking tray/cupcake tray, greased.
Roll your pastry on a floured surface and cut rounds of pastry to fit the tarts in your baking tray. Place a small dollop of Marmite in each tart and then top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake at 375'F (190'C) for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pastry golden. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. When completely cooled, store in an airtight container until needed.
First off, these are a must. If anything says "British buffet" it's a good old cucumber sarnie! To make these perfect you will need...
- English seedless cucumber/s, rinsed but not peeled unless you prefer (if you can only find the normal US seeded ones then peeling is probably best)
- Soft, white thin-sliced bread ('Homestyle Bread' from the supermarket in-house bakery is the closest I have found to traditonal white sliced loaf here in the US)
- Butter or buttery spread
- Salt & pepper
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
First of all, these don't sit well and tend to go a bit soggy if made too far in advance, so leave until the last minute if possible. Second of all... lay off any embellishments like cream-cheese or dill or spices or even salmon... these are American variations of this traditional sarnie and as her Majesty would say "...not to be encouraged".
You will need to butter both slices of bread to the edges to stop the bread getting soggy. Then, slice the cucumber as thinly as possible in rounds. Lay the slices of cucumber on one slice of the bread overlapping slightly. Season lightly and dash with a small amount of lemon juice. Top with another slice of buttered bread. Then you really should cut the crusts off, regardless of what your parents told you about eating them! And cut them into triangles or fingers and arrange nicely on a serving plate. Garnish the plate of sandwiches with twisted cucumber slices!
For more ideas for your Jubilee Street Party see the following blog entries: