In this episode of Eating Well we come up with a healthy party menu featuring easy-to-make cucumber canapés, creamy, dreamy avocado lime cheesecake, plus a refreshing blueberry, lime and lavender cocktail. It’s all about food that is quick and easy to prepare but has the wow factor that is sure to impress guests.
We visit Martin Morales, our friend and top Peruvian chef who’s known for his Ceviche and Andina restaurants in London. Martin treats us to some fresh ceviche, explaining that most Peruvian food is naturally free from grain, gluten and even dairy, offering up a whole new, exciting palette and ingenious recipes to the western mainstays which are absolutely delicious! We also visit an urban distillery in east London to see how artisan vodka is made and make away with a bottle for our evening of hosting.
It’s all about informal, relaxed parties where guests feel like they can help themselves and we love to start off with small bites to whet the appetite. Canapés should be a taste sensation so we like to incorporate the 5 basic flavours of food – sweet, sour, bitter, savoury and salty. Instead of loading up on bread bases we use nutritious, crunchy vegetables as vehicles for delicious toppings of smoked salmon or radish, horseradish and cream cheese. Find the recipe here.
Avocado lime cheesecake has been a stand out recipe of ours since we published our debut cookbook and it’s one of the recipes we see recreated the most on social media! Now we love a good cheesecake but once in awhile, and especially at this time of the year when you want something lighter and more refreshing, our take on a New York-style cheesecake made with avocado and limes does just that. Avocados are one of our favourite ‘superfoods’, high in all the right kinds of fats, fibre and vitamins. What lots of people don’t realise though, is that the avocado is technically a fruit! Lots of people only recognise them from salads and savoury recipes, but we love putting them into our desserts such as this one, or our chocolate avocado mousse. The bright green topping is fun and a little bit different and the cheesecake works as a brilliant sweet treat when you’re craving a pick-me-up. Unlike most raw and dairy-free cheesecakes, the topping is completely free from nuts and for anyone with a nut allergy, you can also swap the pecans in the base for sunflower seeds. Yes, while these ingredients are quite expensive a little goes a long way and as this is a nutritious dessert you only need a small slice to fill you up! Find this recipe in The Art Of Eating Well.
The blueberry cocktail we make is another favourite from The Art Of Eating Well and is also super popular at our cafe Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges. It’s a beautiful pink colour and tastes refreshing with a hint of floral. Raw honey, rather than sugar syrup lightly sweetens this cocktail. Blueberries, lime juice and coconut water help to alkalise and keep you hydrated. If you don’t have coconut water or prefer a fizz, then you can also choose a naturally sparkling water. To make it extra special we use frozen blueberries as ice-cubes and let them bob around in this pretty cocktail. Just freeze them in a single layer on a baking tray.
We love entertaining, and over the years we’ve discovered some great tips for throwing a dinner party – the most important of which is to make sure that you prepare lots of your delicious dishes in advance, so you don’t spend the whole evening in the kitchen away from your friends! The great thing about all three recipes in this episode is that they can be prepped ahead of time, so you won’t be stuck in the kitchen all night. Cheers to that!
Watch Episode 9 ‘Party Food’ of Eating Well With Hemsley + Hemsley here.