Picnics and Party Food – Dani Valent

Dainty bites, fresh flavours and dishes that don’t mind being moved from kitchen to hamper to blanket, or being passed around on a tray at a stand-up gathering…That’s what’s on my mind with these picnic and party favourites. Rustle up some of these beauties at your New Year’s Eve party, summer luncheon or pool-deck gathering.

I would never say that the Thermomix is really just for cocktails, but it’s so good at making cocktails that I have to assume they were always part of the grand Thermo-masterplan. This elegant and party-friendly spin on a classic martini only strengthens the case. The flavour combination comes from Gamila Macrury, who has a saffron and olive farm in Beechworth. Watch my video visit to her farm!

I’m always looking for new spins on classic cocktails and this one is super fun! The idea comes from saffron farmer Gamila MacRury, who starts with saffron-infused dulce de leche, then takes it on an espresso martini adventure.

Traditionally, pate is tricky and time-consuming. This Thermomix method is fast, simple and foolproof. I know you’re going to love it.

This cold Spanish soup from chef Emma Warren plays with the Catalonian love of partnering sweet fruit with cured meats. It’s surprising and delicious and can easily be made a day ahead of your gathering.

One of my absolute favourite projects is to source chef’s recipes and share them with my community. This is one of those and it’s brilliant! I ate this savoury waffle at Rare Hare, a gorgeous winery restaurant on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. It was served with horseradish cream and salmon caviar: the combination of crunchy-soft waffle, the creamy kick of the horseradish and the pop of the caviar was just stunning.

Think of my Everything Salsa as a superhero in a jar, ready to sweep in and save you from any number of perilous situations. It’s great as a salsa, for sure, spooned over grilled meats or mushrooms, but that’s just the beginning of its heroism. It’s easy to wrangle into dips – dairy-free if you like – and it loves to save a salad too. Just to prove its versatility and can-do nature, it is even happy to do service as a marinade.

Oysters with Lettuce Sauce. It’s so incredibly simple and, I think, gives us a great insight into how a top chef thinks about creating dishes. Often it’s not about outlandish techniques or out-there ingredients. Rather, it’s about surprising combinations. Lettuce and oysters?! I would never have thought of that myself. You can probably hear the cogs in my brain creaking as he speaks about it! Now that I know about it? So easy and so good.

It’s an honour to feature two recipes from leading US chef Grant Achatz. These pierogies and pretzels are easygoing bites from the mindbending chef and they’re great to serve to a madding crowd.

It doesn’t get much easier, or more beautiful, than this! Puff pastry is a canvas to show off gorgeous tomatoes – stay mono-tonal or use a colourful mix of tomatoes as you wish. Hiding beneath the fresh tomatoes is a semi-dried tomato paste which adds an extra layer of flavour and bite to the tart. You can keep this super simple and omit the paste, if you like.

I love this chicken dish because it’s impressive but easy, with classic pub flavours and a little extra pizzazz. Importantly, it’s the perfect dish to prepare ahead of time: make your rolls, steam your spuds, then finish it all off when your guests arrive or the family is clamouring. You can serve slices of the parmigiana on toothpicks for the stand-up gathering too.

This is a new spin on the old favourite that is coleslaw, using Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts (they are really just little cabbages!) and the fabulous flavours of lemon myrtle and saffron. It’s fab to chop cabbage in the Thermomix but you can also use a knife.

I think food should be fun to say as well as to eat so I’m a massive fan of zhoug, a green chilli and herb paste from Yemen. Watch the video to hear how to say it! Today I marinate salmon in zhoug, then tear it into chunks and make it the hero of a fresh and healthy salad.

I love this recipe! What’s not to love? Chocolate mousse, more or less healthy, and made in a minute! It’s a winner. It’s rich and filling, so you don’t need much to find your chocolatey bliss. More reasons to love it: it’s egg-free, protein rich and you can make it without refined sugar.

My husband lost the power of speech as he had the first slice of this cake. “It’s the best cake I’ve ever eaten,” he said. Well, all credit to the wonderful Belinda Jeffery, as it’s her recipe and is as simple and successful as all her dishes. As she says, “This cake is from the secret cache of recipes I turn to when I have to whip up something special at very short notice – and it’s just fabulous.”

Welcome to my super-charged plan for preparing a barbecue for 12 people in just 45 minutes. Yes, it can be done!

The idea with this Ballistic BBQ Buster is that when people arrive, you have a cake in the oven, a dip made, two salads on the way, and meat and veg prepared for the barbecue. All you need to do is say, “Welcome!”

  • 15-page eBook
  • Quick, easy and delicious recipes
  • Timeline so you can plan!
  • Includes a shopping list too

You know the Thermomix is actually a cocktail machine, don’t you? Yes, food is important but how about the drinks?!

With the cocktail recipes here your anytime party, hen’s night or New Year’s Eve is sorted.

  • 17-page eBook
  • 13 delicious cocktail recipes
  • 2 non-alcoholic cocktails
I love my Elk top & Obus pants

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My business card says ‘Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.’ I do all these things with equal passion, which is why I’m sometimes sitting at my laptop with an apron on! This is where I share all my best bits of writing, recipes and videos. There are free areas of the site where you can stay up to date with my journalism and get a taste of my cooking adventures. Sign up as a member and you’ll get access to my awesome and ever-growing library of cooking videos and recipes, focusing on Thermomix.

This is a place for inspiration, chefs’ secrets, practical tuition and happy creativity. If you like cooking and eating delicious food and basking in the compliments of family and friends, this site is for you. You’ll be amazed what you can create with my recipes and videos as your guide.

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  1. fay Kennedy October 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Spring and Summer eating, these recipes look delicious. Can’t wait to give them a try.

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