And what a starter it was! It’s great to taste something so Mediterranean and fresh. Simple quality ingredients are combined to create an explosion of taste!

Sharon and Matthew got their idea from Jamie Oliver, not surprising really given the nature, simplicity and effect of this recipe. What they did is combine two of his recipes to make tomato and olive crostini (made with white bread as opposed to ‘bruschetta’ which is made with sourdough apparently).

To make the crostini:

Slice a loaf of white bread or a baguette. You can use stale bread soaked in some stock if need be. Place them under the grill until they are hot and just begin to brown at the edges. Remove them from the oven and when they are sufficiently cool rub a cut clove of garlic on each one and pour a small dollop of olive oil on top of that.

For the tomato and olive mix:

You will need –

  • tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (or a combination of both) chopped in small pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • brown and green olives with the stones removed, chopped
  • dried chilli
  • basil leaves

Go easy on the seasoning as some olives will already be very salty. Mix your ingredients, tasting as you go along as this very much depends on personal taste. Simply place the mixture on your crostini – no need to reheat. And you’re done. I can guarantee that this is a wonderful starter that tastes of summer. It’s great for BBQs now that the season has started and it will keep for a few days in the fridge!  I have already bought my own baby basil plant inspired by this.

Tortilla wraps are usually used to contain a number of ingredients and keep them together – instead of bread or for something different, more interesting and light. They’re versatile and easy; I tend to keep a packet in my cupboard for ’emergency’ quick snacks.

This time we made something completely different though and the result was surprisingly tasty. You can even use this method if your wraps aren’t extremely fresh.

First cut your wraps into about six parts

In a separate bowl mix olive oil and crushed garlic. Instead of garlic you can use salt and pepper.

Brush the mixture onto to wrap pieces and lay them out on an oven tray. Place in a hot oven for a couple of minutes, turning over as they start to brown.

They will be ready very quickly – serve hot on their own or with dipping sauces.

I love love love party food- who doesn’t? .. and when you’re pressed for time but want something that tastes good and looks even better this is a good one to start with.

You will need large fresh tomatoes and courgettes. Choose the tomatoes that are still quite stiff and that are flat at the top. With a very sharp knife cut slices into the tomato stopping at around 1cm from the bottom. The best is to cut quarters and then cut these in half again so that you’ll get symmetry. Slice the courgettes quite finely and place 1/2 slices of courgette in between the tomato slices. When this is done drizzle olive oil over it and any other herbs or spices of your choice. Parmesan is also an interesting option. I used oregano and black pepper over mine. Place the stuffed tomato in the oven until the slices start to separate and the tomato opens up a little bit. Warn your guests that it will be very hot at first.. Feel free to leave comments with your party food suggestions!