I've always loved entertaining people, I love being the hostess. On this post, you can hopefully get some unique ideas for the perfect night in with your friends or family as I'm going to quickly teach you how to make water melon cocktails, raspberry mojitos, a special punch and more, oh and I'll even show you how to make your night that extra bit special and give you a recipe for home-made healthy pizzas - All without blowing the bank, and yes, I did say healthy pizzas. Welcome to my Italian pizza making and cocktail evening...
I welcomed the girls with these beautiful looking anti-pasto skewers, or Italian kebabs as I like to call them. You just need olives, mozzarella, cured meats and tomatoes. Obviously you can add anything you like to them. Simply grab a skewer and pop the items on to it. Perfect to nibble on and it just makes antipasto/starters look prettier.
I decided to do my girls night in a bit differently, I didn't want to JUST do cocktails, cocktails are great but I really wanted to push the boat out. So instead, I went to the supermarket (Morrisons in this case) and bought lots of fresh ingredients. I put them in little bowls so that the girls could design their own pizzas. Ingredients included, mushrooms, mixed peppers, tomatoes, basil leaves, red onion, mozzarella, chicken, ham, cured meats, oregano and more.
In order to make the dough for these home-made pizzas, which will put you off ever ordering from a take away again - they are fresh, cheap to make and healthy, not to mention, great fun and very easy to make. I found the recipe on the RosieLondoner's blog but also Jamie Oliver and the Daily Mail have all published this recipe:
1kg strong white flour
2z7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tbsp sugar
Whilst our home-made crispy pizzas sizzling in the oven, it was time to make cocktails. This really is where the fun starts. My first choice was raspberry mojitos, easy to make, not many ingredients needed and delicious on Summer nights. Your typical girlie drink. We made non-alcoholic raspberry mojitos on this occasion because some of the girls were driving. Here's my own raspberry mojito recipe (we kind of followed a few recipes, but we didn't follow any exactly, but they tasted gorgeous so below is how we made them):
Em's Raspberry Mojito Recipe:
- 4x Raspberries (a few extra for garnish), but we just threw loads in to be honest - go wild.
- Simple Syrup (I'll explain how to make this at home easily below)
- Mint leaves
- Soda Water to top up
- Raspberry Juice or Cranberry and Raspberry juice
- Rum if you want to make it alcoholic
Put the raspberries, mint leaves and syrup in a glass. Add some fresh lime juice. Crush it up and mix it together with a spoon. Add some ice, some raspberry juice and alcohol if you're making them alcoholic.
A lot of people don't know how to make a simple syrup, but it's so easy. To make this simple syrup which is an ingredient used in a lot of cocktails, all you need is water, a pan and sugar. It's that simple. Simply add 2 lots of sugar to one lot of water (a 2:1 ratio), put the sugar in the pan once the water is boiling and then let it boil together for about 5 minutes, you can tell its ready when it drops off your spoon like a syrup and not water. This is perfect to use in almost any cocktail, it gives it that hint of sweetness and it's oh-so easy to make.
Then shake! I've been on a cocktail making class and that's why I've got all of these cool cocktail kits, but you should be able to buy them from anywhere for a few pounds. Shake it up.
Your concoction will look something like this and will taste very strong if you use as many raspberries as we did but my home made raspberry mojitos tasted better than any I've paid for in a bar.
Add some soda water to finish and lemon and raspberry to make it look pretty.
Next up, watermelon cocktails or more simply a cocktail, using a watermelon as the glass. It's like a huge fruity fish bowl, which contains tropical delights.
Slice the top of the watermelon off, it's quite easy to do actually, I did it with just a standard knife.
Scoop that melon out. You can scoop as deep as you want, it depends how much juice you want to put in it. You can make some holes in the 'lid' and then stick straws through that if you'd prefer.
Inside my watermelon cocktail, I mixed basically every juice you could think of. We're talking orange juice, raspberry juice, cranberry juice, a squeeze of lime, some crushed ice and then the simple syrup. When you taste it, you get a hint of the watermelon, it literally tastes delicious. RosieLondoner suggests adding the watermelon that you scraped out, in a blender with some ice and vodka to make the perfect watermelon cocktail. The great thing about these are, they look cool but you can put anything inside them. They're great for a night in because you can share them.
Cocktails aren't just for girls, there are a number of manly cocktails, that men can enjoy too, my favourite guide for manly cocktails is on the homewetbar blog. So get your boyfriend involved and get cocktail making together.
If none of these take your fancy, have a look here for some more easy cocktail recipes or for something a bit different, Primer Magazine have a great post on cocktail recipes. 20 minutes later and our homemade pizzas were ready, to be demolished.
Dessert is the Sheldon special, chocolate strawberries and chocolate fondue. What girl doesn't like chocolate fruit? It's easy to do, making chocolate strawberries makes the most delicious desert, but it's possibly the easiest thing to create.
Em's Special Chocolate Strawberries Recipe
Simply grab some strawberries, wash them, dry them off with a tea towel, leave the green stem on the top (it looks prettier). I like to melt my chocolate in the microwave, I cook it for about 1 minute and then stir and then keep going until it's melted. You then simply roll the strawberries around in the melted chocolate, and finito. Leave them in the fridge to dry.
What would your perfect night in consist of?
*My evening was paid for my the lovely people at MoneySupermarket for their BigNightIn! Thank you x
Love Em x