I have an addiction to cook books; old, new, classic, modern. I love simple homegrown recipes; easy to read lists that don’t induce stress and panic!
I spent a beautiful sunny Saturday morning sipping Irish Breakfast Tea from my new Elle Cup & Plate Set and immersed myself into the new Annabel Langbein ‘A Free Range Life: Celebrate Summer’ cook book, filled with healthy recipes!
I believe fashion and food are similar in the sense that ‘less is more’ – complicated recipes and chaotic outfits initiate instant disarray for me! With over 100 recipes in Annabel’s glorious new book, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or anxious; I felt encouraged and motivated to try each one.
Being a qualified chef, I had read countless cook books and spent many (many) hours in the kitchen however the recipes that Annabel has created allow for the perfect harmony between preparation time and amazing taste – something that it surprisingly very difficult to achieve! The methods are relaxed, the ingredients are fresh, bright and juicy and the taste is to die for!
After a quick text to some of my friends and a shopping list of ingredients, I had arranged an impromptu informal late lunch. I decided to have fun with a few of the recipes from the book, all guaranteed crowd pleasers, and easy to make.
Spiked Chocolate Mousse with Chilli White Chocolate Bark
I prepared the Mousse first as I knew it would be about 4 hours to chill in fridge. Adding the ingredients together was quick, simple and satisfying; who doesn’t love playing with melted chocolate?!
I added some Irish whiskey which is optional, to give a gentle kick to the taste buds. This recipe is one of the best I’ve ever used for mousse; the finished creation was like fluffy chocolate silk. I also highly recommend serving the Chilli Chocolate Bark, it was a favorite with my guests and took only minutes to make! The Azura Wine Glass was the ideal serving dish, a little quirky and great portion sizes.
I smashed the frozen Chilli Chocolate Bark into long shards so the top would stick out and be memorable presentation.
Mini Pita Pizzas
When I read this recipe I thought it was ingenious! Why has no one else thought of this before, it’s a great simple, tasty idea!
I prepped the pita breads with homemade pizza sauce and had the meats and veg cut and ready for everyone to make their own personal pizza masterwork. A great interactive idea with guests and also allows the host to have a break from cooking!
We added some yummy cheese and delicious fresh basil and our lunch was ready within 10 minutes! My guests asked for the Chipotle Dip back for the crunchy pizza crusts, always a great sign when they ask for more! The DOIY Bike Pizza Cutter was another novelty approach to interact with the guests and actually worked a lot more effectively than a normal pizza cutter.
Tortilla Chips & Chipotle Mayo Dip
Once the mousse was in the fridge chilling I started creating the Chipotle Dip. I had never made this from scratch before and was delighted with the outcome. I love spicy foods and this recipe made my mouth happy!
So much more fresh and flavorsome than any other chipotle I’ve tried, even compared Mexican restaurants. The Tortilla Chips took a matter of minutes to prepare, such a perfect idea for any kind of parties or events. Within 30 minutes the chips were golden and crispy – a match made in heaven along with the dip!
I can’t wait to make them again, next time trying them with the Fresh Smoky Salsa recipe. I served these hot as soon as my guests started to arrive. I served the chips on the Artisan Dinner Plate and the dip was placed inside the smallest bowl from the Jamie Oliver Nested Serving Bowls. All the vibrant colors and textures formed a lively summer contrast, complimenting the dish.
The lunch was a relaxed, tasty, colorful success! I can’t wait to try more recipes from Annabel’s book, especially for a hot summer BBQ.
All the amazing dining wear from our Kitchen & Dining range allowed me to celebrate summer through style, color and texture. It was a great way to unwind and spend some quality time with friends in great weather.
I had a wonderful Saturday cooking and I must say a huge big thank you to my lovely boyfriend Enda for doing all the washing up as I got continuously inspired and incessantly messy!
SEE MORE FROM THE KITCHEN
Read more on the blog about the book here or shop the book here!