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Our stress-free get-ahead time plan

All these recipes are designed to take the stress out of cooking. Follow this triple-tested time plan using our get-ahead instructions – there’ll be no last-minute dashing around when all your guests arrive, and you can be confident that all be food will be a success!

Description: Description: Take the Stress Out of Cooking

 Take the Stress Out of Cooking

Up to two days ahead

·         Make the Salmon Sandwich Stacks

·         Make Triumphant Strawberry and Cream Jelly

Up to a day ahead

·         Make the Gin, Elderflower and Cucumber mixture

·         Make the Coronation Chicken (but don’t add the coriander)

·         Make the Layered Omelette Cake

·         Make the Cheese and Pickle Crown Bread

·         Prepare The Perfect Victoria Sponge

·         Prepare Individual Queen of Trifles

On the day

6hr before you serve

Ø  Prepare Individual Sausage and Egg Pies and cook now – or closer to serving time if you want them warm

4hr before you serve

Ø  Make the Marmite Cheese Straws

2hr before you serve

Ø  Prepare the Light and Fresh Potato Salad

Ø  Slice the salmon stacks. Chill.

30min before you serve

Ø  Complete Coronation Chicken

Ø  Add the cress to the potato salad

Ø  Finish off the Vitoria sponge and trifles

When your guests arrive

Ø  Serve the Gin, Elderflower and Cucumber Cooler and hand round the nibbles

Ø  Serve the main courses when you’re ready!

Ø  Remember to turn out the jelly before you serve the puddings.

The tipple

Gin, Elderflower and Cucumber Cooler

Sure to become a summer favourite.

Chop 2 cucumbers (ends trimmed) and whiz in a food processor with 250 ml (8fl 0z) elderflower cordial until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a large jug, working pulp well. Discard any remaining pulp. Stir 200 ml (7fl 0z) gin (we think Hendrick’s Gin works best) into the jug and chill. Fill 12 tall glasses with ice and add a mint sprig to each. Divide among the glasses and top up with soda. Serve immediately. Serves 12

·         Per serving 65cals, 0g fat (0g saturates), 7g carbs (7g total sugars)

·         Get ahead: Prepare gin, elderflower and cucumber mixture up to day ahead. Cover and chill. Complete recipe to serve.

The starters

Proper plated starters at a buffet can be more faff than they are worth. We suggest some easy-to-assemble and impressive hand-round bites to whet your guests’ appetites.

Salmon Sandwich Stacks

Description: Description: Salmon Sandwich Stacks

These decadent tall sandwich stacks are just the thing to get your party going.

In a large bowl, mix together 500g (1lb 20z) mascarpone cheese, 1tbsp roughly chopped capers, the finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2tbsp freshly chopped dill and 1tbsp milk. Lay 4 medium-cut slices of white bread on a board, and divide half the mascarpone mixture among the slices. Spread evenly to the edges of the bread. Next, divide 175g (60z) smoked salmon slices among the stacks, making sure the fish is in an even layer (use scissors to trim). Lay another piece of bread on top of each stack and repeat process with remaining mascarpone mixture, a further 175g (60z) smoked salmon and 4 more slices of white bread. Wrap the stacks individually in cling film and chill for at least 5hr, or ideally overnight. Using a large serrated knife, cut the crusts off the sandwich stacks, then slice each stack into six rectangles. Secure each stack with a cocktail stick, if you like, and serve. Makes 24

Per square 140cals, 11g fat (6g saturates), 6g carbs (0.5g total sugars)

Get ahead: Stack and wrap the sandwich up to 2 days ahead. Slice stacks into rectangles up to 2 days ahead. Slice stacks into rectangles up to 2hr ahead and keep chilled. Serve when ready.

Marmite Cheese Straws

Description: Description: Marmite Cheese Straws

A slick of Marmite gives extra oomph to these cheesy nibbles.

Preheat oven to 2000C (1800C fan) mark 6. Unroll a 375g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry and lay on a lightly floured work surface. Put 11/2tbsp Marmite in to a small bowl and gradually mix in 11/2tbsp milk. Brush half the mixture over the pastry. In another small bowl, stir together 75g (30z) each finely grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, then sprinkle half the cheese mixture over the pastry. Unroll another 375d sheet ready-rolled puff pastry and lay on top of the cheese. Lightly roll a rolling pin over pastry to stick sheets together, rolling pastry a little thinner in the process. Brush the top with remaining Marmite mixture, then sprinkle over the remaining cheese (pressing the cheese sown to help it stick). Cut pastry lengthways into 12 equal long strips, then halve to make 24 shorter strips. Transfer strip to baking sheets lined with baking parchment and cook for 15-20min until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Make 24

·         Per straw 150cals, 10g fat (7g saturates), 11g carbs (0g total sugar)

·         Get ahead: make the cheese straws up to 4hr ahead.

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