When it comes to entertaining - our motto is to 'keep it simple'.
There's nothing worse than spending all of your precious time slaving over the stove while your buddies enjoy all the fun! But keeping it simple does not mean skimping on style or flavour. We adore the recipes in our favourite new cookbook by award winning Italian restaurant POLPO (now available at Rockett St George).
Not only does it look great, with a stripped away open spine, but the book itself is absolutely bursting with delicious recipes - many of which are quick, easy and use simple but fresh and flavoursome ingredients. It's a mouth-watering experience just flicking through the pages, so we've tried and tested our favourites and selected our top go-to dishes for you to re-create at your own Summer party. Serve the Antipasto on beautiful platters or dishes, so your guests can all tuck in and get chatting...
Antipasto: We've chosen a colourful selection of tasty snack-style recipes to nibble while the wine is flowing. Try Mozzarella Bocconcini (p43), the Caprese Stack (p46) and Artichoke & Speck (p47) presented on wooden boards for a rustic, laid-back vibe. If you need some carbs thrown into the mix - Page 98 teaches you how to knock up the best ever Foccacia.
Pictured above: Artichoke & Speck. Simply take a single artichoke and wrap it in a small sheet of speck. Finish off with a little salt and pepper and secure with a wooden skewer.
The Main Event: Team the Flank Steak with Portobello Mushrooms recipe (p167) with a Grilled Zucchini Salad (p212) on the side. The Flank Steak is one of POLPO's most popular dishes and with very few ingredients, takes little prep. All you need to do is season your flank steak with sea salt and black pepper and grill/BBQ on both sides for 10-12 minutes. Fry the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with garlic and parsley (YUM!). Toss together with a little rocket and there you have it...
Top Tip: For maximum flavour, try to get your meat cooked perfectly 'medium' so that there is still a lot of pinkness to the flesh and only a little blood when cut.
Something sweet... If you have a sweet tooth the delicious Panna Cotta with Blackberries (p271) is ideal to serve as a dessert. The beauty of this recipe is that it's very simple to make, tastes great and can be made using any fruit you like! All you need to do is combine milk, double cream and caster sugar with a vanilla pod in a pan and cook to just before boiling point. Add softened gelatine leaves and grappa to the mixture and pour into tumblers. Leave a gap on the top and then place in the fridge to chill. Heat your blackberries with caster sugar and once that has fully cooled remove the panna cotta pots from the fridge, top each pot with the compote and serve with biscuits...easy!
Top Tip: The panna cotta tastes best when prepared the day before your event - the perfect time-saver!
Cocktail recipes as well as a short guide to the best wine bars and restaurants Venice has to offer are also included in the book, so you can kick-start that trip you had planned and get sloshed while booking it! Buon appetito! If this sounds like your kind of thing, you can order your copy of the Polpo recipe book here.
GET THE LOOK
While the weather is warmer why not take advantage of styling up your outside space too. Use our Top 5 Al Fresco Dining Tips, and if you're short on space, don't have one or it's raining (most likely!) then you can still get the look with these gorgeous items which are available online now and will bring the outdoors in:
Pictured Above: Faux Potted Areca Palm, Benni 03 100% Wool Rug, Victorian Pozzi Scented Candle Octopus - Cantelope, Clear Festoon Lighting, Set Of 3 Teak Paddle Breadboards, Rustic Wooden Bothy Trough, Palm Tree Table Lamp, Le Theodore Table Cloth with Pompoms - Black.