I invited friends over for cocktails by the pool - but we moved up to the back deck once the kids, chilly and exhausted from swimming, decided they would rather play indoors.
We Mums could faintly hear the music from the Ice Cream truck at the park, and in an attempt to entice the kids outside once more, I called one of the drivers I know - a better connection than Santa Claus this balmy time of year - and not 6 minutes later, he was in our driveway dispensing his frozen treats, and merry music - the kids were ecstatic!
I developed my menu for the adults, around the Coconut Lemon Sour cocktail - which I had first tried at a friends informal gathering, and was excited to replicate and share.
COCONUT LEMON SOUR
2.5 ounces of coconut water
1.5 ounces of coconut vodka
.75 ounces of lemon juice
.75 ounces of simple syrup or agave nectar
Mix all ingredients together and pour over ice.
Recipe adapted from PF Changs Bar Drinks
TUNA AND CAPER DIP
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 can (5 ounces) of tuna packed in oil, drained, 1/3 cup sour cream (I used fat free), 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped, 2 teaspoons of capers, drained and chopped, two anchovies, chopped, 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food
COCONUT LIME CHICKEN TACOS
2 to 3 chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground cumin
zest and juice of 1 lime
splash of hot sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
Combine the chicken breasts, coconut milk, cumin, lime zest and juice, and hot sauce. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Coarsely chop chicken and return to the pot, continue cooking until liquid has mostly boiled away. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Divide among the warmed flour tortillas, or tortilla cases (I cut rounds from the tortillas, put them into mini muffin pans, and baked them for 7 to 10 minutes at 375F until they were lightly browned and crisp).
To serve, top each tortilla with avocado.
Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, July 2012
BANANA SOUR CREAM MASCARPONE CAKE
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/4 cup oil
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350F.
Beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream, mascarpone and oil with mixer on low until moistened, scraping bottom of bowl as needed. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Pour into greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium until blended, add vanilla essence. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.
Remove cake from pan, carefully cut cake crosswise in half.
Place 1 cake half, top side down, on a plate, spread the top with frosting. Top with the remaining cake half, frost the top and sides.
Recipe adapted from Food and Family, Winter 2009