After spending the majority of the last six weeks traveling for work projects, I’m so excited and happy to be back home and able to enjoy August in New York. I think one of the best pleasures in life is taking time to just relax around friends and loved ones – even better if you get to eat and drink while doing so, right?! It feels so great to turn off my phone, or at least put it to silent, and relax outside. As you guys know, I am not a food expert(!) but I do love to eat good, honest simple food so I teamed up with my friends from Castello Cheese to share three ways you can elevate a summer party without the stress of spending hours in the kitchen.Over the years I’ve learned I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen when I have friends over. Instead, I can keep things simple without compromising on great tasting food, which in turn keeps me feeling stress free. OK, so below are three super easy and simple ideas I do to instantly elevate any summer picnic or party I throw. The best part is that none of these ideas mean I have to spend hours preparing! I hope you enjoy them and find time to out outside with friends and family and enjoy the summer warmth!Idea One: Walnut, Aged Cheddar and Watercress Crostini
I love crostini as they are so easy to eat – you don’t need flatware or plates – which makes them perfect for outdoor entertaining. These crostini use the Castello Mature Cheddar with Cracked Black Pepper Slices, which are perfect as they come pre-sliced. This means they look neat on the top of the crostini but also it saves so much time slicing a block of cheese into identical slices. These bite sized crostini take minutes to make, look wonderful but taste super yummy – the walnuts pair perfectly with the sharp cheese! You can also add a drizzle honey on top to add a little sweetness.
– 1 x Baguette
– 1 x pack of Castello Mature Cheddar with Cracked Black Pepper Slices
– Small bunch of watercress
– Small pack of walnuts and honey for drizzling
1. Cut a baguette into thin slices and toast under a grill or toaster until slightly brown.
2. Cut a slice of Castello Aged Cheddar into quarters and place one of the quarters on top of a baguette slice.
3. Top the cheese with a walnut and watercress leaf.
4. With a spoon or drizzle, add a touch of runny honey over each crostini.Idea Two: Blue Cheese Crumble Over Store-Bought Salad
I love this because it’s so simple but makes such a difference to a salad. Castello Cheese sell a pack of Danish Blue Cheese Crumble which is ready and prepared to go. So all you have to do is grab a salad bowl, then either prepare your favorite salad or, if you’re like me, you can just grab a bag of pre-washed salad from the store! Then, before you add your dressing, simply pour over the blue cheese crumble to taste and mix in. In a few seconds you will have taken a plain salad to something much more elevated with zero stress! This is perfect for summer entertaining because the zero prep. means you can actually get outside to enjoy the season rather than be stuck inside! For picnics you can also leave pouring over the cheese until the last minute, or even place it on the side so people can add to their personal taste.Idea Three: Statement Cheese Board
It’s easy to make a stylish cheese board using Castello Cheese because they offer such a wide range of different cheeses. When different styles and shapes of cheeses are added to a board it instantly looks inviting. There are so many cheeses to choose from, including Double Crème Truffle and a tasty Edam, so there is something for everyone! You can check out the full range of their cheeses right here. The cheese board you see in this post took no time at all to make and I have outlined the full list of items I put on it in case you want to recreate it. I would recommend also cutting up some flavored cheese into cubes. I did it with the Havarti Jalapeno cheese so that people can easily nibble on some food while enjoying a drink. Don’t be afraid to mix things by placing honey, olives and herbs on the board, too.
– Castello® Havarti Jalapeño
– Castello® Traditional Danish Blue
– Castello® Double Crème Truffle
– Castello® Edam
– Red grapes
I hope my ideas have helped you whether you are tight for the time and have people coming over, or you just want something that is quick and easy but still looks great! Castello Cheese have a great section on their website full of recipes so be sure to check those out, too! Happy and stress free summer entertaining!// Styling & photography by Will Taylor