Delightful recipes for a spring soirée

Combine a blooming garden setting with light, fresh finger food for the perfect spring gathering. Recipes & Styling: Alana Lowes

With the change of season, we welcome plenty of reasons to take the party outside and eat simple, delicious food with our favourite people. So we couldn’t help but pull these recipes by Alana Lowes out of our archives – they’re oh-so-pretty, and so perfect for a garden party.

Alana Lowes spring recipes
Foodie, writer and presenter Alana Lowes

Decorate your garden taking inspiration from the budding flowers. Here, Alana used the classic combination of green and pink hues and gave it a chic overhaul with the use of black and whites as well. And her final piece of advice for the perfect spring soirée? “Kick off your heels and dance under the rays of sunlight on your soft, green grass!”

Alana Lowes spring recipes Lillet & Rose cocktail

LILLET & ROSE COCKTAIL

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10 min

Ingredients
500ml Lillet Blanc

500ml ruby red grapefruit juice

100ml gin

1 tbsp rose water

edible flowers to serve

Method
Place the Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, gin, rose water and ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain and pour into cocktail glasses. Top with edible flowers.

Alana Lowes spring recipes White Bean tartlets

ROASTED GARLIC & WHITE BEAN TARTLETS

Makes: 12
Prep time: 10-15 min
(plus pastry defrosting time)
Cook time: 30-40 min

Ingredients
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted

1 small garlic bulb

1 tin (400g) of cannellini beans

¼ cup crème fraiche

juice of 1 lemon

salt & pepper

micro chives or chives, chopped

Method
1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 190°C.

2.
Wrap the garlic bulb in foil and place onto a baking tray and then into the oven. Cook for approximately 30-40 mins or until soft and browned.

3.
To make the pastry cups, grease 2 x 12 hole patty pan baking dish, grease one mould inside, grease the other mould on the underside. Using a 5cm cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds from the defrosted pastry sheet. Press the pastry rounds into the greased patty pan and place the other patty pan on top (the one with the greased underside). Place into the heated oven and cook for approximately 18-20 mins or until the pastry cups are golden and flaky. Set aside to cool.

4.
To make the filling, peel the roasted garlic cloves and place in a food processor along with the cannellini beans, crème fraiche and lemon juice. Blitz to a puree. Season with salt and pepper.

5.
To assemble, pipe the filling into the cooled pastry cups and top with the chopped chives.

Alana Lowes spring recipes chilled pea soup

CHILLED PEA, CUCUMBER & MINT SOUP WITH DUKKAH

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10-15 min
Cook time: 2-5 min (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
200g frozen or fresh peas

2 lebanese cucumbers

½ cup fresh mint leaves

¼ cup crème fraiche

juice of 1 lemon

1-2 cups vegetable stock

salt & pepper

6 tbsp dukkah

Method
1.
Blanch the peas in boiling salted water for 30 secs. Drain and plunge immediately into iced water. Drain.

2.
Place the blanched peas and remaining ingredients (except for the stock) into a food processor and blitz to a puree. Add vegetable stock and continue to blitz until you achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Place into the fridge to chill.

3.
To serve, divide into bowls and sprinkle with dukkah.

Alana Lowes spring recipes Moreton Bay Bug rolls

MORETON BAY BUG ROLLS WITH SPICY MAYONNAISE

Makes: 6 rolls
Prep time: 10-15 min

Ingredients
3 cooked Moreton Bay bugs

2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded

2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise

2 tbsp crème fraiche

1 tbsp Alana’s Pantry Spicy Morocco sauce

6 small dinner rolls, cut in half

Method
1.
Remove the meat from the Moreton Bay bug shells and slice or shred.

2.
To make the spicy mayonnaise, add the whole egg mayonnaise, crème fraiche and Alana’s Pantry Spicy Morocco into a bowl and stir to combine.

3.
To assemble the rolls, spread both sides with the spicy mayonnaise, top the bottom half of the roll with the Moreton Bay bug meat and then the shredded lettuce. Sandwich with the roll tops.

Alana Lowes spring recipes Sweet Semolina cake

SWEET SEMOLINA, ROSE & LEMON CAKE (Basbousa)
Basbousa is a sweet Egyptian cake and super simple to make!

Makes: 10-15 slices
Prep time: 10-15 min
Cook time: 30-40 min

Ingredients
2½ cups fine semolina

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup caster sugar

½ cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

¾ cup Greek yoghurt

¾ cup (200g) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

10-15 blanched almonds

Syrup

1½ cups caster sugar

1 cup water

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp rose water

Method
1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 190°C.

2. Grease a 30cm x 25cm x 5cm baking tray.

3.
In a large bowl, mix together the semolina, desiccated coconut, sugar, flour and baking powder. In a jug mix together yoghurt, butter and vanilla bean paste. Add to the dry semolina mixture and mix together. The mixture should be quite stiff. Press and spread the mixture into the greased tray. Cut into diamond shapes and place an almond into the centre of each diamond. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

4.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup, place all ingredients into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is all dissolved. Continue to simmer for a further 5 mins. Allow to cool.

5.
While the cake is still hot, pour over the cooled syrup. Allow the cake to soak up all the syrup and cool before serving. Can be made the day before if required.

Photography: Marina Ridgway