• Paula Brown

4 Easy Yet Impressive Recipes You Can Make at Home

As August 2020 lingers on, if you were fortunate enough not to be impacted by the wrath of Storms Ellen and Francis, then you were likely a victim of cool days and mild nights. A welcomed relief from the previous heatwave in addition to which restrictions are now being modified – we can socialise. Time to call the friends and reserve a table at your favourite eatery and catch up on all that lost time during lockdown.

Still afraid to venture out? Well why not dine out in style indoors. Invite the girls over for afternoon tea with a difference. Forgo the usual sandwiches, scones, tea, cakes for

something more indulgent and spontaneous with a lot less fuss.

Dark Maria Cocktail

Who says midday needs to start with a pot of tea? Why not try a Dark Maria cocktail?

What you will need:

This is done in ratios –

1 part Tia Maria;

1 part dark rum;

3 parts cola


1. Mix all the liquids into a tall glass with ice

2. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Just what you need: a cold refreshing drink – a great accompaniment to crudités or breadsticks and onion dip.

Crab Tian

Why not impress your guests with something exotic? A quick and easy Crab Tian.

What you will need:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 crushed garlic clove

4 chopped tomatoes and extra sliced tomatoes

400g/14oz white crabmeat

1 tbsp curry powder

1 lemon juice only

Salt & ground black pepper

1 large bunch fresh chives chopped

400g/14oz brown crabmeat

1 tbsp paprika

110ml/4fl oz double cream (whipped)

2 small bunches of water cress


1. In a medium frying pan, add two tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic and tomatoes

and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes are just soft.

2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place four 5cm/2in x 8cm/3in chefs' rings onto a large flat plate and place three pieces of tomato in the bottom of each ring.

3. Place the white crabmeat, curry powder and a squeeze lemon juice into a bowl, mix well and season with salt and black pepper.

4. Add a layer of crab mixture into each chefs' ring, sprinkle over the chopped chives to cover the crabmeat mixture.

5. Mix the brown crabmeat with the smoked paprika and a squeeze of lemon, season with salt ground black pepper and spoon over the top of each layer of chives. Repeat the layering process with the remaining white crabmeat mixture, chives and brown crabmeat mixture until the ring is full.

6. Whisk the remaining lemon juice into the double cream and season, to taste and spoon over the top of the chefs' ring, and chill for a few hours.

7. For service, remove the crab from the moulds and place on finely sliced cucumber, sprinkle with remaining diced tomatoes and arrange cress round the edges. This goes well with a Soave white wine from the Veneto region of Italy or a Greco from Campania.

Seafood Bisque

Still got some Soave left in the bottle for the next course? Why not continue the ambience with an indulgent seafood bisque?

What you will need:

30g butter

1 clove of crushed garlic

1 medium onion chopped

1 medium sweet potato chopped

1 chopped chilli pepper

Chicken stock cubes

425g of canned tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp of tomato paste

500g fish cutlets

375 shelled raw prawns

¼ cup of double cream


1. In a saucepan saute butter, garlic and onion for 5 minutes, add potato and chilli for 9 minutes.

2. Crumble the stock cubes, water, crushed tomatoes bay leaf and tomato paste. Simmer for 15 minutes then using a stick blender process to a smooth broth.

3. Debone and skin the fish add along with the prawns to a pan with the processed broth and simmer for 8 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink and cream and season for taste after 3 minutes and serve.

Espresso Martini

To finish of an amazing dining experience, try an Espresso Martini with Chocolate truffles. Truffles are available from your local high street chocolatier or supermarket.

What you will need:

Again, this is done in ratios –

1 part Tia Maria

1 part Espresso

1 part Vodka

0.5 part sugar syrup

coffee shavings


1. Combine the ingredients with crushed ice.

2. Shake well and serve in a martini glass with a garnish of coffee shavings.

Now sit back and reflect on the current situation or the future after lockdown.

About Paula Brown

A graduate of creative writing with a passion for writing competitions, literary and animation festivals for the last ten years; as well as an enthusiastic cook - French and Caribbean cuisine, my ultimate goal is to edit cookbooks for Michelin-starred chefs or research location shoots. I would like to retire to France at some point and work as a wedding caterer.