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Food editor Linzi Pucino shares her favourite recipes to feed a crowd – now that we can! Summer has finally arrived and these are the dishes you need to make it spectacular.

I’ve been counting down the days since March, but the wait is finally over! Lockdown’s out and celebrations are way overdue. So, scrap solo dinners and snacks for one – half the joy of food is about being able to share it with loved ones, and these made-for-sharing recipes are a great way to do that once again.

From a pull-apart loaf to chips ‘n’ dips and a chicken picnic pastilla, these epic recipes are too good not to share. 

1. Chicken picnic pastilla (serves 6)

A pie that’s low in saturated fat might seem unlikely, but this flaky, crispy pastilla is exactly that. Filled with chicken, onions, apricots, toasted almonds, honey and cinnamon, it’s a satisfying balance between sweet and savoury.

Love pastry but short on time? Pick up a Co-op Quiche Lorraine, which is delicious served hot or cold.

2. Watermelon & Feta lettuce cups (serves 6)

These little lettuce cups make a lovely light starter or nibble at your next BBQ. Sweet watermelon and salty Feta is one of my favourite summer combos!

3. Pull-apart loaf (serves 8)

Grab a Co-op crusty white cob loaf and fill it with all the good stuff! I’m talking mozzarella, salami, olives and sweet grilled peppers.

4. Chilli beef flatbreads (serves 12)

Don’t be put off by having to make the flatbreads from scratch. They only require three ingredients and take no time at all to come together. Top with the spicy chilli beef for a tasty snack to feed the masses!

Gin & tonic cake (serves 12)

Instead of sipping a celebratory G&T, you’ll catch me tucking into a slice of this gin and tonic cake. A truly spectacular summer bake!

6. Meatball buns (serves 18)

Fluffy bread buns filled with cheesy meatballs and served with a spicy tomato sauce. I won’t lie to you – you’re going to struggle to share these beauties.

Chocolate & nut ice cream gateau (serves 14)

UK weather will forever keep us guessing, but as soon as the sun’s blazing, there’s no doubt I’ll be making this ice cream gateau. The best bit? It only takes 30 minutes to prepare (before chilling).

Mini fish tacos (serves 8)

Have a Mexican fiesta with friends and make these mini fish tacos! They’re great fun to assemble and have a light, zesty flavour with the lime and natural yogurt.

9. Beetroot carpaccio salad (serves 8)

This super-speedy but seriously stunning veggie carpaccio comes together in just 10 minutes. What’s more, it’s vegan, gluten-free and low in saturated fat.

If you’re putting on a big summer spread, don’t forget you can pick up lots of tasty products at Co-op for a helping hand. Co-op potato salad and Co-op cocktail sausages never go amiss on a picnic table. And don’t forget the dips! Try soured cream and chivetaramasalata and salsa for a killer trio. Or why not make your own selection from the full summer range?

Linzi Pucino
Food editor

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Lockdown has only ended in England, not the rest of the UK. You should clarify this, otherwise contributing to misinformation

  2. Hi Andy
    By now all people with a conviction to do the right thing will, as Pauline Mayers said, have had their vaccination jabs by now. We can’t expect any government to keep on legislating for ever and a day on how we should be behaving. The vaccination is the biggest single thing to overcoming this virus that we have and I believe the authorities have used all the resources at their disposal to ensure we have as near to mass vaccination as possible. As we know, certain groups of people are choosing not to avail themselves of this – which leaves us all more vulnerable as a result. We also all have a duty to act conscientiously by wearing masks on public transport and in crowded indoor spaces. By now we should be still keeping two metres distance from other people as much as we can. The government have acted in good faith by introducing the furlough system and the lockdowns. It is now up to each of us to do the right thing.

  3. OK so maybe it shouldn’t be a celebration – but we have to have hope, we have to carry on, those who want the jab will have had it by now …. if you practice the ‘keep safe rules’, well you’ve made it this far haven’t you????


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