Bring A Plate: Easy Party Dishes, Because Sometimes You Want More Than Chips & Dip


‘Tis the season for beach picnics and garden soirees, but that doesn’t mean picking up snacks from the supermarket on your way to the party. Make the (minimal) effort and show up with a dish to impress. Fresh salads, mini pizzas and sweet, pistachio-filled pastries — these recipes are deceptively

A perfect dish for using up leftover chicken, these are equally good with baby cos leaves. If you like anchovies, chop a couple and add them to the mixture — they provide a salty quality that is hard to beat.

Swap traditional tabbouleh for this tasty tonal one, an all-green look that is packed with freshness and summer flavours. Here, we’ve used green tomatoes that were planted a little late, before they had time to turn red.

Use green tomatoes for this fresh and zesty summer salad. Photo / Babiche Martens

Kahawai was under-utilized for years but now you’ll find it in most supermarkets. This delicious pate is perfectly slathered on simple seed crackers. It’s also great spread on toast and topped with fresh tomato and basil.

An oldie but a goodie, this recipe makes delicious use of the excess of summer tomatoes. Roasting your tomatoes enhances the flavor and brings out the sweetness. It’s also a great mixture to stir through some cooked pasta for a quick dinner.

Old fashioned tomato and onion pie.  Photo / Babiche Martens
Old fashioned tomato and onion pie. Photo / Babiche Martens

This simple salad is bound to become a favorite over the warm summer months. Sparkling with summertime, this beautifully presented dish is sweet, sharp and deeply delicious. Choose a variety of homegrown or heirloom tomatoes which you should be able to find at your local farmers market or organic store, and serve with crusty sourdough bread and a little unsalted butter.

Put a pantry staple to good use in this easy salad, which is delicious and oh-so-quick to make, thanks to a handy tin of chickpeas. Double the dressing as it’s great with other salads and barbecued chicken.

Chorizo ​​and chickpea salad with date dressing.  Photo / Babiche Martens
Chorizo ​​and chickpea salad with date dressing. Photo / Babiche Martens

Whether spread over toasted ciabatta or served with a cheese platter, this versatile pâté will be a firm party favourite. It can also serve as a base for a sandwich with crunchy cos lettuce or in a roulade. The key is fresh, moist smoked fish. Keep it simple by adding capers, dill or even a few chopped green olives to change it up.

Straight from the oven, these are a real treat. How can you possibly go wrong with fresh juicy figs combined with blue cheese? Make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, or freeze if you think time might be short. Then whip it out, shape it into your mini pizzas, pile on toppings, and bake.

All you need is five ingredients to create these simple blue cheese and fig tarts.  Photo / Babiche Martens
All you need is five ingredients to create these simple blue cheese and fig tarts. Photo / Babiche Martens

There is such a great set of flavors in this tart. If you don’t have wholemeal flour (or any flour!), you could either make this as a frittata with no pastry, or use store-bought, and sub in feta, goat cheese or even cheddar. Toasting the walnuts fresh makes all the difference when adding them to the salad that sits on top of the tart.

This recipe calls for figs, but feijoas and pears would also work well. Whatever fruit you choose, always check the sweetness of the mixture and add a little more sugar if needed.

Fig filo cigars.  Photo / Babiche Martens
Fig filo cigars. Photo / Babiche Martens

This salad is packed with delicious charred summer goodness. Add other vegetables if your garden is growing with seasonal produce, or basil if you have it. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra oil to the egg plant. If you cover it once cooked it will continue to soften.

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