Whether you’re throwing a cocktail, barbecue or pool party, we have compiled some easy summer entertaining ideas of recipes, cool cocktails and clever table-setting tricks to impress your friends and family all summer long.
When we think of summer entertaining, one of the first things that springs to mind is the barbecue. Barbecues have become an essential part of enjoying the summer. Any evening that’s warmer than cold and there isn’t any rain forecast and you can expect Great British optimism in spades as we (get wrapped if we need to) sit outside and enjoy a feast with friends and family.
The smells it conjures pours out onto streets, setting everyones appetites alight. Couple with a glass or two of something nice and cold and that’s we all really need to celebrate the warm summer.
Here we give our Pearl & Pear top tips as to how to prepare for entertaining this summer – from the best meats and salads, to easy snacks, gorgeous place settings, flowers and simple yet delicious drinks to quench everyones thirst.
Easy Summer Snacks
Serves 8 – 10
You could actually also barbecue your camembert for a more theatrical starter – it’s a little more exciting than just popping it in the oven! Purchase two camemberts and stud with very finely slices of fresh garlic and rosemary, drizzle with olive oil, season. Worth noting once you have done this to then place them back in the round boxes they came in and then wrap in foil. Either on the barbecue or oven, bake for 10 – 15 minutes.
Serve with slices of toasted sourbread and yummy chutneys.
We love crudités at parties. For summer entertaining yes but you should also never underestimate the credit platter all year round. The ingredients are abundant, look great and better still, they won’t hurt your back pocket. Dips are a great way to feed a crowd too. Wins all round!
Amelia Freer’s Olive and Rosemary Chickpea Flatbreads
“Make up a batch of these gluten-free flatbreads if travelling and dip into hummus, pesto or tapenade.” Amelia Freer
Makes seven triangles
140g chickpea flour
Olive oil, for greasing
2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked
25g pitted green olives, finely sliced
Tip the chickpea flour into a bowl and gradually whisk in the water until you have a smooth batter. (Alternatively, whizz together in a blender or food processor). Cover and let the batter sit at room temperature for an hour or two, if you have time.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5 and grease a 20cm ovenproof frying pan or pizza pan with a little olive oil (or use a 20cm solid-bottomed round cake tin).
Stir the garlic oil and rosemary leaves into the batter and season well. Pour into the greased pan. Sprinkle the olives on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and the sides have started to crisp. Carefully remove from the pan and leave to cool, before cutting into triangles.
Recipe from Cook. Nourish. Glow by Amelia Freer
Jamie Oliver’s Easy Cheese Straws
“Crunchy, easy and savoury – best served with a glass of something cold.” Jamie Oliver
150g unsalted butter (cold)
225g plain flour
75g Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon paprika , plus extra for sprinkling over
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas mark 6.
Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper and set aside.
Cut the butter into small cubes, then place in a bowl. Add the flour and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Finely grate the Parmesan, then add 60g to the flour and butter, along with the mustard and paprika. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water until the mixture comes together.
Roll it out on a floured surface, forming a rectangle about 1cm thick. Slice it into 1cm sticks and place onto the baking sheets.
Sprinkle over the remaining cheese, a little more paprika and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden et voila!
Delicious Summer Drinks
Summer entertaining isn’t of course summer entertaining without some seriously refreshing cool down drinks. They need to look the part too though. Here are three delicious recipes to not only refresh, but help guests let their hair down too!
A good little rhyme to remember when making punch is ‘one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak’. We love this refreshing punch that gets everyone in a great mood.
250ml elderflower cordial
1.5 litres prosecco
850ml soda water
Serve in a large bowl with ice cubes and cucumber to garnish.
Elderflower Gin and Tonic
Courtesy of Ashley Rosé, a cocktail developer based in San Francisco – we couldn’t resist sharing her delicious Elderflower G&T. Squeeze one slice of pink grapefruit into your glass when it’s nice and chilled. Then add the other full slice, berries, rosemary and finally, some ice. Then once prepped, you’re ready to pour in your favourite gin followed by your tonic. Give it a stir and enjoy! It’s beautifully refreshing.
60 ml your favourite Gin
170 ml your favourite Tonic
2 pink grapefruit slices
A few juniper berries
Sprig of rosemary
Summer Entertaining Days Pimms
There are so many variations of Pimms but at Pearl & Pear we like the traditional, one part Pimm’s No.1 with three parts sweet lemonade and lashings of freshly chopped fruit and mint. Mix well and serve in tall glasses with ice.
One large watermelon (around 6.5kg)
700ml soda water
This one gives the real wow factor. Purchase the largest watermelon you can find. Cut around the top third off and trim the bottom just enough to make a flat surface then scoop out all the delicious fruity flesh.
Then, working in batches, puree the watermelon in a blender and strain through a fine sieve so it becomes nice and smooth. You should have about 9 cups of juice from doing this. Then, cover rind with cling film and put both this and your juice in the fridge to chill for around an hour. When nice and chilled, mix the juice with your soda water and put inside the watermelon to impress your guests!
The Summer Table
The English summer months are short enough so when they arrive, we recommend going bright! Think vibrant table cloths, runners, glasses, plates and napkins full of colour. You can create tables that wow inexpensively too by using fresh herbs and fruit to tie the decoration all together.
Pearl & Pear Top Five Summer Entertaining Table-Setting Tips
*Line the centre of the table with fresh daisies, cow parsley and soft green grasses from the garden in little jam jars or candle holders
*Remember, we can get bitten in the UK too so using citronella based candles will help ward off any unwanted visitors
*Add a touch of flare to your jug of water and include slices of lemon and cucumber. You can theme the colour of the water to the colours of your table too. If you have a pink runner or napkins for example, pop a few raspberries in with the water or create summer ice cubes and do it this way instead
*Decorate pillar candles with sprigs of flowers or herbs
*Fill vases with whole and half lemons, limes or both! They make very beautiful centre pieces
Summer entertaining of course isn’t complete without a great salad. Here are a couple of really easy to prepare options that are proven crowd pleasers. With a bit of twist you can’t go wrong with these.
Heston’s Peach, Parma ham and Gruyère Salad
”Nothing beats perfectly ripe peaches in the summer and I love using them in salads like this one. The Gruyère, cloves, Parma ham and peaches make a surprisingly good combination for a summer lunch for four or starter for six. Serve with an ice cold glass of Manzanilla sherry.” Heston Blumenthal
125g balsamic vinegar
2 ripe peaches, sliced
200g Wild Rocket & Chard
180g Parma Ham, roughly chopped
80g Gruyère cheese, shaved with a potato peeler
40ml white wine vinegar
40g wholegrain mustard
120ml grapeseed or ground nut oil
½ tsp ground cloves
For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar and mustard in a bowl and whisk together. Slowly add in the oil while still whisking. Add the ground cloves and season with salt.
For the drizzle, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Let the liquid reduce to a syrup consistency and remove from the heat. This should take about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Remove the stones from the peaches and slice them into thin wedges.
Toss the rocket and chard leaves in the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Add the peach slices, the thinly sliced ham and the Gruyère shavings and mix together gently. Place a generous pile in the centre of each plate and, using a spoon or squeezy bottle, drizzle the balsamic over the top of the salad.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Courgette and Samphire
“Just like me, other cooks are finding reassurance in the abundance around them that turns the cooking of vegetables into the real deal. The world is their oyster, only a vegetarian one, and it is varied and exciting”. Yotam Ottolenghi
300g podded edamame beans (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
2 green courgettes (450g), cut into 0.5cm-thick slices
2 yellow courgettes (550g), cut into 0.5cm-thick slices (a mix of green and yellow looks great but if you just have green that’s fine. A mandolin helps to get the slices really thin too if you have one)
90g samphire, broken into small lengths
1 tbsp poppy seeds
15g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
100g soured cream, to serve
For the dressing
2½ tbsp lemon juice
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
60ml olive oil
2 tbsp soured cream
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, blanch the edamame for three minutes, until cooked but still with a bite, then drain, refresh under cold water and set aside to dry. Once dry, put in a large bowl with all the other salad ingredients, except the cream.
For the dressing, put the lemon juice and mustard in the small bowl of a food processor, add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and mix until emulsified. Add the soured cream, work briefly to combine, then pour over the salad and toss. Arrange on plates (or one big platter), add a spoonful of soured cream on top and serve.