An Afternoon Fiesta

A menu suitable for sports-watching, a casual birthday, or a fun entertaining idea.

An Afternoon Fiesta


Bar Nuts
Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Pulled Pork Sliders

Build-Your-Own Chilli

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Real margaritas

Margaritas, I mean real margaritas, are amazing. Once you get over the first sip they begin to go down very easily. Made of fresh lime and lemon juice, orange liqueur, ice and – importantly – cheap tequila, they are just the thing to kick the party off.

Only fresh lemon and lime juice will do

Bar nuts are smoky, spicy and intensely savoury. Make a big batch a few days ahead and keep a bowl topped up with this crowd-pleasing nibble to keep the masses very happy, indeed.

Bar nuts

People are funny about guacamole. I think many of us have had one-too-many mediocre guac experiences to get really excited about it, but homemade guacamole done right is a thing of complete joy.

It’s not complicated, but I am very specific about what guacamole should contain. Principally: extremely ripe avocados. Don’t bother if you they’re not so ripe you can’t squeeze the pits out. Plenty of salt, lots of lime, and a hint of finely grated garlic are all that’s required beyond that. Don’t mess with perfection.

Guacamole done right

Pulled pork sliders are a reliable party favourite. I wouldn’t advocate making pulled pork for this occasion alone – you’re only one person, after all – but I would suggest making a big batch of pulled pork and freezing smaller portions, for moments just like these.

Slider buns are hard to find off-season. Good quality, bakery hot dog buns sliced into thirds do the trick very nicely. Toast the buns, smear with coleslaw and pack in as much pork as the little bun will allow.

Pulled pork sliders

For something casual and gutsy like chilli, don’t overcomplicate things. Pass around big, steaming bowls and let everyone build their own with what they fancy. For me that means cheddar cheese, sour cream or crème fraiche, coriander, fresh red chilli and wedges of lime.

I love cornbread with chilli, but the English aren’t quite so accustomed. Rice is, evidently, traditional with chilli in the U.K., so I oblige. But that doesn’t mean I have to participate.

Now for something sweet. For a party, you really can’t beat a cupcake. Quick to bake, easy to decorate (even with my inferior piping skills), and instantly mood-lifting. I follow a simple red velvet cupcake recipe with a cream cheese buttercream icing.

Red velvet cupcakes

Hopefully that’s enough food to soak up the margaritas!

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