Who doesn’t love a pool party? They’re the perfect way to get your friends together, let your hair down, and enjoy some real fun in whatever remains of the year’s sunshine. Effortlessly relaxed, accompanied by great tunes and even better company, a good pool party is a thing of real beautiful, sophistication, and laid-back style.
If you’re planning on hosting your own pool party, the trick is to get everything prepared in advance - after all, you want it to look and seem like the easiest thing in the world, and you want to be out there relaxing with your mates instead of sweating it in the kitchen!
So, once you’ve got your classic pool party cocktails mixed and your bottles chilled (and you have Brumate’s insulated stemless glasses laid out, ready to add some real style to proceedings), it’s time to whip up some delicious nibbles and treats for your guests to enjoy. Food at pool parties should be casual, consisting of light bites, summery snacks, and finger foods… the kind of delicious morsels you can dip in and out of while having a chat and chilling at the poolside. We’ve put together five of our favourite pool party recipes for you to check out and enjoy, and which take minimal effort to put together. What could be better?
Lychee and Dragon Fruit Pavlova
There’s something wonderfully bright, cheerful, and decadent about a Pavlova. This Aussie classic is all about providing your guests with a real centrepiece, overflowing with fruit and cream, and which gets everyone excited. They’re also mercifully easy to make, yet create a real impact when on the table! This version uses dragon fruit and lychee to provide a tropical twist on the classic, but you can really use any fruit you fancy.
For the Meringue
5 eggs, separated
120g caster sugar
120g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cornflour
For the Pavlova
200ml double cream
200ml natural yogurt
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds removed
For the Garnish
1 dragon fruit, sliced
400g fresh lychees
Zest of 1 lime
Icing sugar to dust
Get things started by preheating your oven to 120C, and lining two baking trays with paper. Once done, you can get started on making your meringues. To do so, tip the eggs whites (absolutely NO yolks, please!) into a mixing bowl, along with a pinch of salt. Use an electric whisk to beat to stiff peaks. Increase the speed slightly, then add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time, and continue beating for 7-8 minutes until glossy and thick.
Sift in the icing sugar and cornflour, a third at a time, and gently fold until a smooth mixture is obtained. With a large spoon, spread the meringue mixture into a spiral round on each baking tray, and bake for 75 minutes. Turn off the oven, and allow to cool.
For the Pavlova, whip together the cream and the caster sugar until soft peaks are achieved. Gently fold in the yoghurt, and mix with the vanilla seeds. Spoon this cream mixture over the (completely) cooled meringue, stacking one on top of the other. Decorate with the fruits, grate over the lime zest and scatter the mint leaves, and dust with icing sugar. Perfection!
Lemon and Ginger Prawns
Some sort of seafood dish is absolutely essential for a pool party. Prawns are delicious, easy to prepare and cook, and always bring a smile to everyone’s face! This dish is lifted with a spicy marinade, and really brings a touch of zing to the soft, sweet flesh of the shellfish. What’s more, they can be cooked in a matter of minutes, meaning nobody will have to wait around to get their hands on this tasty treat!
6 small preserved lemons
7cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp grated turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
5 tbsp clear honey
4 big prawns (about 100g each, if possible)
Combine all of the ingredients (except the prawns) in a blender to create a puree.
Peel the prawns, but leave the tail whole. Tip the puree into a bowl, and coat the prawns. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
Heat a large griddle pan, or use your barbecue. Cook the prawns for a minute or two each side, basting constantly with your marinade. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Peach and Prosciutto Salad
Pool parties and innovative, delicious, and fresh salads are a marriage made in heaven. Sure, you could stick with the boring old garden salads we’re all used to… but why not go all-out and inject some real flavour and sunny character into your dish, instead? This gorgeous salad brings together sweet, juicy peaches with silky, salty prosciutto… and it’s an absolute winner that’s sure to get your guests talking!
6 fresh peaches
Some extra virgin olive oil
2 x 125g mozzarella balls
12 slices of Parma ham or other prosciutto
A few sprigs of mint, leaves picked
Preheat your oven to 180C. Halve and destone your peaches, and place them cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with some oil, and then roast them in your piping hot oven for 20 minutes. You want them nicely charred and sticky before moving on to the next part.
Place a pair of peach halves on each of your serving plates, and pop a chunk of mozzarella and a slice of ham on each one. Quickly make a dressing by squeezing half a lemon into a small bowl or jam jar, and mixing with three times as much olive oil, some salt, and some pepper. Put your rocket and mint leaves into a bowl, toss with your dressing, and then scatter the leaves all over the peaches. Serve straight away.
Sea Bass and Salmon Ceviche
Want your pool party to be bang on trend when it comes to the food you’re serving? Ceviche is a Peruvian dish, made from fresh fish marinated in citrus juices… and over the past couple of years, it’s become wildly popular at the hippest bars, restaurants, and parties around the world. Despite being achingly cool, it’s the simplest thing to prepare in advance, and tastes absolutely divine. You’ll definitely get some foodie cred points when you offer this to your guests!
250g fresh salmon fillets
250g fresh sea bass fillets
Juice of 2 limes
½ grapefruit, juice and segments only
Juice of ½ orange
2 birdseye chillies, chopped
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Salt and black pepper
6 slices of melba toast to serve
Cut your fish fillets into pieces of about 2.5cm. Place the fish pieces into a bowl, and sprinkle with the lime juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice, but set aside the grapefruit pieces. Add the chilli, garlic, spring onion, and plenty of salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the bowl with some film, and stick it in the fridge. You want those flavours to marinate and for the fruit acids to ‘cook’ the fish for at least forty minutes, but you can leave it for up to four hours for a stronger flavour.
Before serving, sprinkle over the mint leaves, and mix to combine. Serve a spoonful of the ceviche onto each plate, garnish with a grapefruit segment, and place a piece of melba toast on the side.
Cheese and Ham Croquetas
Every great pool party needs some truly great finger foods. The Spanish - with their delicious tapas dishes - are the undisputed global masters of light bites and tempting finger foods, and the cheese and ham croqueta is one of Spain’s greatest gifts to the world of fine food. These croquetas are simple to make, and you can pre-prepare a massive batch of them before your party, ready to share with your satisfied guests. If you want, you can also prepare some dips to accompany them to take those flavours further, and don’t forget to pour some chilled Albarino or Pinot Grigio into Brumate’s perfect wine glasses for the ultimate food and wine experience!
200g plain flour
Salt and pepper
75g fresh breadcrumbs
150g ham, chopped
100g strong cheese (Cheddar or Manchego is fine)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
75g plain flour (for the frying)
2 eggs, beaten
100g panko breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Melt the butter in a saucepan, and stir in the 200g of plain flour to make a roux. Whisk and cook on a steady heat for two minutes, before gradually adding the milk to make a thick and silky sauce. Season well, then stir in the breadcrumbs, ham, cheese, and parsley. Allow to cool, then keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
In three separate bowls, prepare the flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. Take the ham and cheese mixture from the fridge, and shape into 7cm cylinders. Coat each croqueta in the flour, followed by the egg, and then the breadcrumbs.
Heat a pan of oil or your deep fat fryer to roughly 170C. Fry your coated croquetas until golden brown and crispy, then leave to drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot!
There you have it - five beautiful, simple, and deliciously flavourful dishes which are absolutely perfect for an elegant, laid-back, and thoroughly enjoyable pool party. Don’t forget to serve your drinks in Brumate’s brilliant range of insulating glasses. After all, there’s no use in having great fresh food if you’re accompanying it with warm beer or wine!