DECEMBER 10: Christmas Zoom parties with a generous splash of lemon


Christmas Zoom, who would have though a year ago that parties would be like this!

First one tonight for me with the fabulous people of the Guild of Food Writers with people logging in from Italy, Norway and across the UK to reflect on a crazy year and toast each other with cocktails, aperitivos and canapés.

My cocktail was a super simple Pink Gin ( gin, bitters, ice … and, err, that’s it) and a plate  of Parmesan Shortbread, with a Pea and Feta dip (with a generous splash of lemon juice), with the recipe reproduced here, courtesy of Julie from @the_tinytable .

The Tiny Table’s Parmesan Shortbread with Pea and Feta Dip

The Tiny Table’s Parmesan Shortbread with Pea and Feta Dip

I love these little biscuits which you can eat (a lot of!) just with your aperitif or as a great base for things like hummus and dips.

You could also make larger ones for the cheeseboard and I have often added poppy or sesame seeds for a little crunch. [Follow @the_tinytable on Instagram).

Parmesan Shortbread

Makes around 20 biscuits depending upon cutter size

150g plain flour

100g salted butter, diced and just coming to room temperature

75g grated Parmesan

½ tsp paprika (smoked or hot as you prefer)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mix comes together in a ball. (If you do not have a processor, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour/paprika until it resembles breadcrumbs or a crumble mix. Then add the cheese and keep working with your fingers until it all comes together.)

Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to around 5mm. Choose the size cutter you prefer, cut out the biscuits and re-roll any trimmings until all used up.

Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake at 180C/160 fan for 8-10 mins until just golden brown in colour. (If you use a tiny cutter check at 6 minutes.)

Pea and Feta Dip

200g frozen petit pois, cooked for 2/3 minutes and drained

100g feta cheese

about 10 fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil (I use a local chilli rapeseed which adds a nice little kick)

cracked black pepper and chilli flakes (optional)

Serve on the little cheese biscuits above or as a dip with breadsticks.

(Any leftovers make a great breakfast on toast with crispy bacon.)

green peas
Frozen peas are great staples for the freezer, Photo by R Khalil on
Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.