Who better to ask for a summer garden party recipe than supper-club duo Jackson & Levine? Well-versed in hosting sell-out dinner parties, these girls know a thing or two about creating crowd-pleasing recipes. The following serves 12 so gather your nearest and dearest and take it outside.
- Watermelon with almond & dill
- Potato salad
- Rainbow tomatoes
- Roast salmon stuffed with watercress
- Elderflower pressé jelly
- Summer berry & pistachio pavlova
For a while there, ‘buffet’ was a bit of a dirty word. But in the last 12 months we’ve been to more of them than sit-down dinners. Buffets are cool again – just ditch the vol-au-vents and turkey curry and keep it simple. Everything on this menu can be prepared in advance. Make your cocktails, stuff the salmon, cook your potatoes, bake the meringues, and have the jelly ready to go. Then all you need to do is slice some ripe tomatoes when people arrive and pop some ice in the drinks. Hang strings of festoon lights above long trestle tables for the ultimate, picture-perfect party.
Watermelon with almonds & dill
- 2 large banana shallots, thinly sliced into rounds
- Cider vinegar, for soaking
- 300g almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 small watermelon, peeled and cut into 2.5-cm cubes
- 300g feta
- 300g radishes, thinly sliced (ideally with a mandoline)
- Large bunch of dill (about 75g), roughly chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Place the shallots in a bowl and pour over enough cider vinegar to cover. Mix, making sure all the shallots are coated in the vinegar, and set aside.
2. Place the chopped almonds in a dry frying pan over a low to medium heat. Toss until toasted and the skin has turned golden brown; this will only take about 5 minutes, so don’t leave them unsupervised. Tip onto a plate to cool.
3. Place the watermelon in a large bowl and crumble over the feta. Remove the shallots from the vinegar and add them to the bowl, along with the radishes and toasted almonds. Scatter over the dill, season and mix well with your hands. Transfer to a large platter and serve.
- 1.5kg mini new potatoes (the smaller the better), halved
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp good-quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp capers, well rinsed
- Roughly chopped herbs, such as dill, basil or parsley (optional)
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water until cooked through, then drain and set aside for a few minutes to cool down a little.
- In your serving bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, except the seasoning. Add the drained, warm potatoes and turn to coat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
- 1.2kg ripe tomatoes (a variety of different shapes and colours)
- 100g basil sprigs (purple and green for extra colour), leaves picked
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Roughly slice and chop your tomatoes – some into halves, some quarters and some sliced. You want a variety of textures, shapes and sizes in the bowl; this doesn’t have to be neat.
- Place the tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Tear over the basil leaves, reserving a few to garnish. Add the olive oil and lightly toss with your hands. Arrange on a serving platter and top with the reserved basil leaves.
Roast salmon stuffed with watercress
- 115g unsalted butter, softened
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 200g watercress, woody stalks removed, roughly chopped
- 120g breadcrumbs
- 1 small banana shallot, finely chopped
- 1 whole salmon, about 2–2.25kg, gutted
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3.
- Put 90g of the butter, the lemon zest and half the juice, the watercress, breadcrumbs, shallot and plenty of seasoning in a bowl and mash together with your hands until well mixed. Spread the stuffing inside the cavity of the salmon.
- Tie the salmon together at intervals with kitchen string, so that the space between each set of ties is roughly one portion – try to achieve equal portions while taking into account that the salmon tapers towards the tail end. Cut a slit in each segment of salmon and insert a half-slice of lemon (you may not need all the slices). You can protect the head and thinner tail end of the fish with a layer of wellgreased foil, to slow their cooking. Squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the fish and spread the remaining 25g butter over the top.
- Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until it is cooked through but still pink, and is lovely and moist.
Elderflower pressé jelly
- 1.2 litres elderflower pressé (sparkling elderflower)
- 80ml lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
- 14 gelatine leaves
- 200ml elderflower cordial
- 20g edible flowers
- 200g raspberries
- 1 large ripe plum, sliced
- 1 large ripe nectarine, sliced
- Pouring cream, to serve
- Put the elderflower pressé and lemon juice in a large bowl.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water until soft, for about 5 minutes.
- Put the cordial into a small saucepan, warm through over a low heat, then remove from the heat.
- Drain the gelatine and squeeze out excess water, then add to the warm cordial, stirring until it has dissolved. Add this mixture to the pressé and lemon juice and stir until evenly distributed. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes, then take it out and give it a stir. Repeat this 3 more times.
- Take a 1.5 litre jelly mould or bowl. Ladle in enough of the jelly mixture to cover the base (this will be the top of the jelly). Choose some of your best flowers and fruit, place over the jelly and put in the fridge until set. At this stage, the remaining jelly will be almost like wallpaper paste, still pourable but capable of suspending fruit and flowers where they are placed. Add a little more jelly mixture on top of the set jelly, then a handful of flowers and fruit, refrigerate and repeat until you have used all the fruit and flowers (reserving some for decoration), finishing with a jelly layer to create a smooth base. Return to the fridge to set overnight.
- When you are ready to serve, wet a serving plate so you can slide the jelly into position if you need to once it’s tipped out. Fill your sink with warm water and submerge the bowl up to just below the top of the jelly for 30 seconds to loosen the sides. Using your fingers, gently pull the sides of the jelly away from the bowl, place your plate on top, flip over, give it a gentle shake and you should hear it drop. Lift off the bowl, decorate with flowers and berries, and serve with cream.
Summer berry & pistachio pavlova
For the pistachio meringues:
- 10 large egg whites
- Large pinch of salt
- 500g caster sugar (white is better than golden here)
- 140g shelled pistachios, chopped
For the topping:
- 650ml whipping cream
- 25ml elderflower cordial (optional)
- 600g mixture of fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- 45g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- Fresh mint leaves
- Fresh edible flowers (optional)
- Heat the oven to 110°C. Line four baking sheets with baking parchment (you may need to cook the meringue in batches if you don’t have enough baking sheets or oven shelves) and draw a circle 20cm in diameter on each sheet. Turn the sheets over so that the circles are visible from underneath.
- Place the egg whites and salt in a large, clean bowl. Using an electric whisk, and starting on a low speed, whisk into a foam, then increase the speed a little and whisk until the whites stand in stiff peaks. Up the speed again and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking for about 5 seconds between additions, until all the sugar is incorporated and you have a glossy mixture. Now use a metal spoon to fold in the chopped pistachios.
- Place a tiny dot of meringue underneath each corner of the sheets of parchment to hold them in place. Divide the mixture evenly between the four trays and, using the back of a large serving spoon, spread the mixture out to fill the four marked circles. Bake in the oven for 2 hours, then turn the oven off but leave the meringues in the oven until they are completely cold. (At this stage, you can store the meringues in an airtight container, separating the discs with baking parchment; they will keep for a few days. Or you can freeze and use within 1 month.)
- When ready to serve, whip the cream to soft peak stage, then stir through the elderflower cordial, if using. Spread the cream over the meringue discs and top with the fruit. Sprinkle over the chopped pistachios, mint leaves, and edible flowers, if you have some.
Discover the complementary summer cocktail for this recipe here.
And if you’re a fan of this one you’ll love Jackson & Levine’s ultimate dinner party recipe here.
Round to Ours by Jackson & Levine (Published by Quadrille) Photography: Kristin Perers