Now that the sun is starting to reappear and it really does start to feel like summer, it’s time to get those garden chairs and tables out of the shed and plan your weekend party with your household. Summer tends to be short and temperamental in this country and we really should make the most of it while it lasts. An afternoon garden party that might extend into the evening is possibly the best way to do this, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, is there anything more British (ok, apart from Fish and Chips and rainy days in August) than a traditional garden party with sandwiches and Victoria sponge cake? So, in order to get your party as perfect as possible, I’ve put together the recipes for pretty much everything you might need. So, what are you waiting for? Send out those invites and enjoy an afternoon with friends in your garden.
Place the 300ml water, sugar and rosemary in a small pan. Bring to a slow boil and then simmer on a medium heat until reduced by half.
Put the 1l water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the hibiscus flowers to the 1l boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.
Pour the rosemary syrup through a sieve into the hibiscus tea. Add the lemon juice and stir. Now pour all the ingredients through a sieve into a large jug. Leave to completely cool, the place into your fridge over night. Just before serving add the ice cubes and decorate with a large sprig of rosemary.
Avocado & Egg Finger Sandwiches:
Chicken & Herb Mayonnaise:
Peel and chop the avocado into small pieces, place into a large bowl. Peel and chop the eggs into small pieces and add to the avocado. Add the crème fraîche, salt, pepper and chilli powder. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.
Place ¼ of the mix onto a slice of bread leaving space around the edges and then place another slice on top. Now cut off all the crust/edges and cut the remaining sandwich into three equal parts.
Clean and trim the spring onions and then chop into thin slices before placing into a large bowl. Finely chop the parsley and dill and add to the spring onions mixing them together.
Chop the chicken breast into very small pieces and add to the onions and herbs, add the mayonnaise, salt & pepper and mix until well combined.
Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Place ¼ of the mix onto a slice of bread and 6 cucumber slices (two for each sandwich) on top. Put the second slice of bread on top and proceed the same as with the other sandwiches, cutting off the crust and dividing the sandwich into three equal pieces. Decorate with a slice of cucumber on top.
For the mini Victoria sponge cakes (makes 12):
Preheat your oven to 180C. Line your muffin tin with the cases. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl (or stand mixer) and mix until light and fluffy. Add each egg one by one and mix for 3 minutes after each one.
Mix the baking powder and flour together then add to the mixer and mix until completely combined. Add the milk and mix for another 2 minutes.
Divide the batter equally into the muffin cases then place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool completely. Whip the double cream until you have stiff peaks.
Once cooled, remove each cake from the cases and cut them into halves – this is best done with a bread knife, slowly “sawing” through the cake without much pressure. Place some strawberry jam onto the bottom half. Fill your piping bag with the cream and place a dollop onto the jam.
Place the top half onto the cream and pipe another bit of cream onto the top. Now you can either leave the cakes as they are or decorate with a tiny strawberry and some icing sugar.