a summer party menu for friends

summer party menu

One of the questions I get asked most is for ideas for party food. I do this for a job so I’m always pulling together menus but I know that for a lot of people, having friends over can feel stressful and expensive. So I’m sharing a summer party menu to help.

Now I’ve got children, entertaining is about delicious food, children running wild and plenty of wine. Life is stressful enough so the fun bits of having friends over shouldn’t feel stressful.

I recently made this summer party menu for 20 people in an unfamiliar kitchen and it went down a treat. So you should finds it a breeze. This menu also works well when things are room temperature so you won’t be stressing about things being hot.

If you’re savvy you’ll invite people on a Saturday and have leftovers to make Sunday and the start of the week easy peasy.

Summer party menu:

  • Roast chicken thighs with fennel, garlic and lemon.
  • Spanakopita (a Greek spinach, lemon and feta pie).
  • New potatoes, boiled whole in salted water and then gently crushed and stirred through salsa verde butter.
  • Roast radishes and asparagus.
  • Romesco sauce.
  • Tomato and basil salad.
  • Rhubarb cake with roast rhubarb compote and creme fraiche.

Here are the recipes…

Spanakopita

Salsa verde

Romesco sauce

Roast radish and asparagus

Rhubarb cake (I served this with roasted rhubarb and creme fraiche that I swirled with juice from the roasted rhubarb and honey).

The chicken thighs were roasted in a roasting pan at 200c fan (400f) for 50-60 minutes. Before roasting them, I sprinkled them with fennel seeds, salt and smoked paprika and sat them on whole cloves of garlic and lemon cut into wedges.

The baby tomatoes were halved and tossed with sea salt and red wine vinegar. I left them to sit for an hour in the salt and vinegar before scooping them on top of whole leaves of basil.

Timings and prepping ahead

You can make everything in a one-off two hour cooking session but if you prefer to make things gradually in the days before, here’s how…

The spanakopita can be made the day before and re-heated. Leftovers will be fine in the fridge for a few days.

The tomatoes can be halved and dressed an hour before people arrive.

The chicken can be cooked and served at room temperature so you can make that just before people arrive. Leftovers will be fine in the fridge for 3 days.

The radishes can be cooked in the morning and re-heated. Asparagus is best cooked just before serving.

The potatoes are best cooked just before serving. Leftover potatoes are amazing made into my roast squished potatoes. Used the leftover new potatoes in salsa verde then lay them on a metal tray without adding anything else and roast them at 200c fan (400f) for 45-60 minutes (longer is best), sprinkling them with salt and white wine vinegar before serving.

The cake and rhubarb can be made two days ahead. Leftovers will be fine for a few days. Keep the cake in a cake tin out of the fridge and the rhubarb in the fridge.

Romesco sauce and salsa verde can be kept in the fridge for a week or so.

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