Annabel Langbein’s latest annual ‘Celebrate Summer’ is the Easy Read’s book of the month and here she shares Book Club Nibbles.
In the opening pages of Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, we find our heroine at the kitchen bench at two o’clock in the morning, bashing store-bought Christmas mince pies with a rolling pin in an attempt to make them look homemade. Good trick!
Life is hectic and fitting in ‘be a perfect hostess and homemaker’ with everything else life demands of us – working, running households, ferrying children, helping with homework, shopping – there often isn’t enough headspace or energy left for getting creative in the kitchen.
Which is why book club drinks are such a great way to entertain. You get to catch up with friends, talk about interesting stuff and enjoy a few wines and some simple nibbles. The food doesn’t need to be fussy, and if you want to save yourself stress you can just take an assembly approach. Put together a nice cheese board – one creamy cheese, one tangy and one blue is always a good combo, set out with crackers, dried figs, fresh pears or grapes and perhaps a fruit paste or chutney.
Antipasto is another simple platter assembly. Try sliced cured meats, such as salami or prosciutto, olives, pickles, fresh vegetable bites, perhaps some pate or a dip or two, and some French bread or crackers to spread and dunk.
But it can end up getting expensive if you buy everything in, and it’s fun to share a new recipe, which is why I’ll often whip up a quick dip. My Green Goddess Hummus is such a simple (and cheap!) recipe that comes together in a flash and yet everyone thinks you’ve gone to lots of trouble. You can serve it with rice crackers or pita crisps if you like, but at this time of year I like it with a platter of fresh spring vegetables.
When I was writing the recipes for my new Celebrate Summer annual, I tried to think of all the occasions that tend to arise over the summer – potluck barbecues, drinks and nibbles with friends, impromptu picnics, book club, Christmas dinner with the extended family, the kids’ last-minute shared class lunch or school bake sale… Then I came up with all the recipes you need to take the stress out of those occasions. These brand new recipes will take you through the silly season and into the hazy, lazy days of summer in style.
Book Club Nibbles:
Annabel Langbein’s Green Goddess Hummus
Ready in 5 mins
Makes 1¾ cups
- 400g can chickpeas
- 3 handfuls baby spinach
- a handful of parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- Drain chickpeas, reserving the liquid to make Aquafabulous Mayonnaise or Aioli (see annabel-langbein.com for the recipes).
- Rinse chickpeas and drain again well.
- Transfer to a food processor or blender with all other ingredients and whizz until smooth.
- Chill up to 24 hours until needed.
This recipe is extracted from Annabel’s new spring / summer annual Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Celebrate Summer! (Annabel Langbein Media, $24.95) was picked especially for our Book Club Nibbles blog post, now available from EziBuy.