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Blossom party
Do you have the ultimate dinner party tricks up your sleeve, or the perfect house for entertaining? Send laura.rowe@mediaclash.co.uk pictures of your dining space, a suggested menu and 50 words on why you’re the host with most. You might just be our next Supper Club star…

Vintage summer
Second generation Greek food blogger, Angela Gareh, made the most of the early summer sunshine with an alfresco tea party that married her love of the Mediterranean with her traditional English garden. Crumbs crashed the party… Words by Laura rowe Photos by Kirstie Young

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summer garden tea party is a quintessential English affair, right? After all, we might not always have the weather (or the religiouslike obsession with meat and smoke) for regular barbecues, but boy do we know how to hang the bunting, put out the fine china and chow down on some homemade Vicky sponge. But it doesn’t always have to be prim and proper, says Long Ashtonbased food blogger Angela Gareh. Angela, whose home is set high in the Long Ashton hills, overlooking the rolling Somerset countryside beyond, wanted to prove that you can use exotic flavours in familiar dishes to keep things fresh and exciting. Born and bred in South Africa to Greek parents, Angela’s tastes are definitely inspired by the Med. “I can’t live without lemons, olives and feta,” says Angela. “In fact, I buy my olive oil and olives in bulk, just because I got fed up with supermarkets’ tiny bottles of olives, which never seem to last long enough. We tend to lead quite a healthy lifestyle so am always on the look out for healthy things to cook, and I generally improvise a lot of dishes based loosely on recipes I find.” Angela started her blog, Ginger Fig, in September of last year as a collection of her recipe ideas, and as a way to indulge her love of food photography and styling. Scroll through the feed and you’ll soon discover a theme
This might look like a traditional British afternoon tea set-up, but each bite promises a taste of the Med, from rose-scented Swiss rolls to tomato and feta quiches; Angela decorated her table with a mix of vintage cloths, crockery and platters alongside garden flowers

Make the most of that ‘spare’ room, aka your garden!

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– ‘sunshine ingredients’. (Think thick Greek yoghurt, fragrant rosewater and salty feta cheese.) It was with this in mind that she planned her garden party menu. Set out on a separate cake table – a great way to tempt guests before you sit down to eat proper – was a range of sweet and savoury nibbles with a twist. Mini quiches (a staple of any British buffet worth its proverbial) were peppered with a colourful trio of cherry tomatoes, feta and spinach and stacked high on a tiered cake stand. Simple open sandwiches of sliced white and wholemeal bread, spread with a variety of cream cheese, hummous and fish paté, had been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours with the help of wild, Triffid-like pea shoots, microherbs and edible flowers. Effortless and yet supremely effective. Strawberries had been dipped in white chocolate and decorated with crimson gems of a pomegranate. Cupcakes had been topped with pink and blue icing and fresh flowers. A coloured layer cake was smothered with white chocolate icing and tied with ribbon, while a Swiss roll was bulging with strawberries and rose-scented cream (see the recipe on page 57). Turkish delights, from a Tessa Kiros book, were customized with melted chocolate.
Mini quiches got Angela’s ‘sunshine’ treatment, while open sandwiches were made sublime by flavoursome microherbs, pea shoots and colourful edible flowers

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roll up, roll up!
Despite the name, a Swiss roll has become a classic addition to any English cake spread. And while you might be familiar with the Christmas chocolate Yule log, or even a simple strawberries and cream offering, here Angela shows that, with the simplest of additions, you can still keep your guests guessing. We reckon it would also work well with orange blossom water and some grated orange zest if you aren’t a fan of rosewater.
Food blogger Angela (second from right) kept her guests suitably hydrated in the early summer sun with a fruit punch and unusual loose leaf teas, which she served in Bristol Vintage’s pretty tea cups

Mini Greek shortbreads (or kourambiedes) went perfectly with our loose leaf tea. Made with butter, egg yolk, vanilla, roasted almonds, flour and icing sugar (see Angela’s blog for the recipe), they melted in the mouth. Talking of tea, Angela didn’t settle for English breakfast or Earl Grey – oh no – but matched her summery menu with a ‘love potion’ of lavender and chamomile, and a wild rose black tea, alongside a refreshing fruit punch ‘summer cooler’ of pineapple and cranberry juice. This was served in a variety of mismatched vintage crockery and glasses, thanks to Bristol Vintage, which hires out crockery (if you don’t fancy raiding the attic or car boot hunting each weekend), as well as a range of bunting, jugs, wild flowers and even wind-up gramophones. Angela complemented this with antiques from her own family. The tablecloths were hand-me-downs, the doilies were handmade by her grandmother, while a silver serving tray was given as a gift to her grandparents at their 25th silver wedding anniversary. Angela also decanted the pretty tea into a variety of empty jam jars. “I’m addicted to collecting jars and bottles, and find it hard to throw away an empty bottle as I know there will always come a use for it,” says Angela. “This is great debate between my husband and I! They are an ideal way to personalise the decor for a dinner party, whether you choose to make handmade lanterns or vases from them, or even use them to serve food.” The great thing about having a dinner party like this is that you can prep everything in advance, and then make the most of the sunshine with your guests. There’s no sweaty slog over a barbecue that just won’t heat up, or rushing to and from the kitchen; everything is ready to serve. It’s relaxed and informal, but still exciting and different enough to keep your guests interested. Now we just need to wait for another sunny day…
Useful contacts ✱ BRISTOL VINTAGE; 07791 898650; info@bristolvintage.co.uk; www.bristolvintage.co.uk ✱ www.gingerfig.blogspot.co.uk

Swi S S r o l l wi t h Str awb er r i eS a n d r o S e cr eam
(SERVES 8-10)
IngredIents For the cake: 3 medium free-range eggs 100g caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 55g plain flour 55g ground almonds 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tbsp icing sugar

For the filling: 200ml whipping cream 2-3 tbsp rosewater 1 punnet fresh strawberries, sliced 2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Method – Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a 22x31cm baking tray with non-stick baking paper.  – Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until thick and creamy and the mixture leaves a ribbon trail on the surface of the mix. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and icing sugar.  – Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 15-18 minutes, until slightly golden and spongy to touch. – For the filling, whip the cream. Add the rosewater with the sliced strawberries and icing sugar into the cream. – Cool the sponge for a few minutes and remove from the baking tray using the non-stick paper. Leave to cool before carefully removing the baking paper and turn out onto another piece of baking paper. Spread a thin layer of your filling all over the sponge – and we mean thin! (Otherwise it will crack when you try to roll it.) – Roll the sponge from the short end using the baking paper to help you roll. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

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