The drink of the moment – The Spritz

This sparkling, incandescent drink seemed the perfect thing for that lazy, liminal hour between work and play and tastes fantastic with a selection of salty, savoury canapes while entertaining.  A Spritz is perfect for entertaining as you can have all the components pre-mixed ready to pour then all you have to do when serving is top up with the prosecco and enjoy.

Entertaining - Aperol Spritz

Classic Aperol Spritz
3 parts Cinzano Prosecco
2 parts Aperol
1 Splash of Soda
Ice and slice of orange

Start by adding ice into the glass then pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol and add a splash of soda, top with a slice of orange.
This serving avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.

Entertaining - Sparkling Rose

Sparkling Rosé & Ginger Cocktail with Jasmine & Lemon

¾ cup of ginger peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Bring the ginger, sugar and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
Strain through a sieve and set aside to let it cool to room temperature.

⅓ cup of ginger syrup
6 ounces jasmine tea (steeped), which is about 1 cup
3 ½ ounces of vodka
1 ½ ounce of fresh lemon juice
Top off with sparkling rosé

Combine the syrup, tea, lemon juice and vodka in a shaking tin with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe. Top with sparkling rosé and garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.

Entertaining - Watermelon Spritz

Watermelon spritz
Everyone loves a spritz, because they’re delicious. But let’s step it up this Christmas and deliver those spritz-lovers a refreshing twist on their favourite.

Serves 10
1.5 litres watermelon juice
300mL vodka (we recommend Cleanskin Vodka)
1 litre soda water
sprigs of mint
4 limes

Add the juice of the limes to the watermelon juice and chill. Add the vodka and stir. Pour over ice and add a sprig of mint for a touch of class.

Entertaining - Rum Spritz

Rum Spritz
20 ml Mount Gay Rum
20 ml Campari
40 ml crisp dry white wine, such as a cool-climate Riesling
¼lemon, juice only
soda water
orange wedges for garnish

Fill a highball or tall tumbler with ice, add rum, Campari, white wine and lemon juice, garnish with orange wedges, top with soda and serve.

Note This drink may also be successfully made ahead in quantity. Mix rum, Campari, wine and lemon juice in a jug and chill.
To serve, offer soda and ice separately for your guests to fill their glasses to taste.

Entertaining - Chambery








“The grapefruit rosé provides a pleasant bitter-floral base, with the sumac syrup and Chambéryzette adds the sour-sweet balance that makes this Spritz so quaffable.” Start this recipe a day ahead to make the grapefruit rosé.

30 ml Chambéryzette (see note)
45ml soda water
sliced strawberries and grapefruit twists (optional) to garnish

Grapefruit ros
Finely grated zest of ½ large or 1 small pink grapefruit
750ml rosé

Sumac syrup
1 tbsp ground sumac
100gm sugar

For grapefruit rosé, combine grapefruit zest and rosé in a container, seal and refrigerate overnight to infuse.
Strain through muslin, transfer to a bottle and reserve
Makes 750ml. Grapefruit rosé will keep refrigerated for a week

For sumac syrup, combine sumac in a heatproof container with 200ml boiling water and stand to cool to room temperature.
Strain through muslin, stir in sugar, then transfer to a bottle and reserve.
Makes about 250ml. Sumac syrup will keep refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Fill a glass with ice, add 75ml grapefruit rosé, Chambéryzette and 20ml sumac syrup
Top with soda, stir gently, garnish with strawberries and grapefruit, and serve.

Note “Chambéryzette, a strawberry apéritif, is available from major liquor retailers, and is worth hunting down.  It would be possible to substitute with a 50-50 mix of dry vermouth and strawberry liqueur, but this will ultimately cost more than just buying the Chambéryzette. It’s also delicious by itself over ice or topped with a splash of sparkling wine.”

Something to nibble on with your spritz

An stress free way to entertain is to have a table pre-set with goodies for guests to enjoy at their leisure.

Fill it with what ever takes your fancy such as chilled  cured meats, smoked fish, chilled prawns, oysters, glazed leg of ham, chargrilled vegetables, marinated olives, cheese with figs and strawberries also include condiments and bread and crackers.

Entertaining - Korean PorkRoast Korean Pork Lettuce Cup with Ssamjang
800gm piece boneless pork belly, skin scored
1tbsp fat such as coconut oil, duck fat or tallow
1nashi, thinly sliced and placed in acidulated water for 5 minutes
To serve: iceberg lettuce leaves, kimchi and sliced spring onion
2 spring onions (white part only), thinly sliced
2 tbsp Korean fermented hot chilli sauce (see note)
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1tbsp honey (preferably raw unfiltered), or to taste
1½ tsp finely grated ginger
1tsp fish sauce, or to taste
1 garlic clove, finely grated on a mandolin

Preheat oven to 240C.

Rub pork with fat, season to taste and place in a roasting pan. Roast until skin starts to crackle (30-35 minutes).

Reduce heat to 150C and roast until tender (1¼-1½ hours; if crackling needs more time, place it under a hot grill for a few minutes).

Remove from oven and rest in a warm place (20 minutes).

For ssämjang, mix ingredients in a bowl, adding a little water if necessary.

To serve, thinly slice pork belly and arrange on a platter with the nashi, lettuce, spring onion, kimchi and a bowl of the ssämjang for guests to assemble their own lettuce cups.

 Note Fermented hot chilli sauce can be purchased at select health-food shops and organic grocers.

Entertaining - Sticky Mango Prawn

Sticky Mango Prawn
300 g large raw shell-on king prawns
6 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 heaped tablespoon mango chutney
1 lime

Peel and devein the prawns leaving the tails on so people can ealiry pick them up

Heat a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat.

Peel and very finely slice the garlic, fry with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until crisp, then scoop out and put aside, leaving the garlicky oil behind.

Stir the curry powder into the oil, then add the prawns. Fry for 4 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked through, tossing regularly.

Stir in the mango chutney for 30 seconds, taste, season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, then dish up.

Scatter over the crispy garlic, finely grate over half the lime zest and serve with lime wedges, for squeezing over.

Guests can help themselves to the pile of yumminess (leave a empty bowl close by for the tails)

Entertaining - Scorched Corn

Scorched Corn, manchego and jalapeno croquettes w green Tabasco aioli
5corn cobs, husks and silk removed
120gm butter, coarsely chopped
120gm plain flour
70gm drained canned pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
2tbsp finely chopped coriander
1dried chipotle chilli, finely chopped
200gmManchego, finely grated
65gm chèvre, coarsely chopped
120 gm(2 cups) panko crumbs
2eggs, lightly beaten
300 gm(2 cups) plain flour
For deep-frying:vegetable oil
Tabasco aioli
1 tbsp green Tabasco
75gm aïoli

For corn stock, boil 3 corn cobs in 1.5 litres water in a large saucepan over high heat until corn is tender (10 minutes).

Reduce heat and simmer until water is infused with flavour (30 minutes).

Strain (discard cobs) and measure 1 litre stock (add hot water if necessary).

Meanwhile, scorch remaining corn cobs over a naked flame until kernels are blackened (6-8 minutes), cut kernels from cobs and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir continuously until smooth (2-4 minutes).

Cook for another 2 minutes to cook out flour. Add 250ml corn stock, beating with a wooden spoon to incorporate, and cook until thickened (8-10 minutes).

Repeat until all stock is incorporated.

Reduce heat to low, add corn, jalapeño, coriander and chilli, then remove from heat and stir in cheeses.

Pour into a 20cm x 30cm baking dish lined with baking paper, smooth top and refrigerate until set (overnight).

Turn mixture out onto a board and cut into 3cm x 8cm pieces (makes about 10). Place panko crumbs, flour and egg in separate bowls and dip croquettes, one at a time, in flour, then egg and then panko, shaking off excess in between.

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat to 180C. Deep-fry croquettes in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (3-4 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels and scatter with sea salt.

For Tabasco aïoli, stir Tabasco into aïoli and serve with hot croquettes.

Note Begin a day ahead to set the croquette mixture.

Entertaining - Moroccan Meatballs

Moroccan Meatballs w pomegranate glaze
1 shallot, very finely chopped – reserve ⅓ for sauce
1 lb. ground lamb, beef, or chicken (we prefer lamb)
4-5 large garlic cloves, minced or crushed through a press
2 eggs
1 cup chopped herbs – flat leaf parsley, mint or cilantro or a blend
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, more to taste
¼ cup to ½ cup toasted bread crumbs (feel free to use gluten-free bread crumbs)

Pomegranate Glaze
⅓ shallot – finely chopped
1 ½ cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
pinch salt and pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice


Garnish : pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley or mint), or optional toasted pine nuts

Place meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and using hands, combine well, adding enough breadcrumbs to make them easy to roll into balls. Cook a “tester.” Taste, adjust salt.

Using wet hands, roll into ping-pong sized balls (about 1 ¾- 2 inches in diameter) and set aside. You should have about 12-16.

Start the glaze. In a small saute pan or pot, saute shallot in a drizzle of olive oil, over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until tender. Add pomegranate juice, pinch of salt and pepper, maple and allspice.

Bring to a simmer, turn heat to medium, then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until it reduces to ½ cup. Turn heat off.

While glaze is reducing, cook the meat balls. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Working in batches (don’t over crowd) brown the meatballs, giving the skillet a little shake now and then to roll them around a bit and cook the edges. Once browned, turn heat down to lowest setting, cover and cook through for just a couple minutes.

Place in an oven proof dish, pour glaze over top and keep warm until ready to serve, or refrigerate and reheat.

Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds and herbs.