With just days to go until the launch of the London 2012 Olympics, why not celebrate by making one of these games-inspired party treats?
Gold medal shortbread biscuits
Make these crumbly, buttery, traditional shortbread biscuits in the shape of gold medals — perfect for children. Makes 12-15.
200g plain flour
120g unsalted butter, chopped
50g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Gold lustre, edible glitter, a tube of writing icing and a ribbon, for decoration
1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the chopped butter. Rub with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs and then tip in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Bring the dough together with your hands and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take out the dough and roll out to a thickness of around 5mm. The dough will be crumbly, but just push it all back together and roll again. With a 7cm circular biscuit cutter, stamp out biscuits and place gently on the baking tray. Continue rolling and stamping until all the dough is used up.
3. With a sharp knife, cut a small hole at the top of each biscuit and then bake for 10-12 minutes, until just golden. Leave to cool on the tray.
4. Lift off the biscuits and dust with a little gold lustre or edible glitter, thread a ribbon through the hole at the top and pipe a number one onto each.
Olympic fruit sticks
It couldn't be easier — or healthier. Spear coloured fruits onto cocktail sticks for a quick, nutritious snack — we chose fruits that resemble the colours of the Olympic rings. Makes 10 sticks.
10 cocktail sticks
10 yellow raspberries
10 black grapes
1 small green apple
1. Wash the fruit carefully and dry on a clean towel.
2. Gently thread on first the blueberry, followed by the raspberry, the black grape, a piece of green apple and finally the strawberry. Serve straight away.
[Related article: Brits fall in love with 'healthy' snack]
Miller's 'G & Tea'
This cocktail was created by award-winning mixologist Oskar Kinberg, who also co-founded the Dabbous bar in London. It's a refreshing take on the British gin and tonic and perfect for celebrating with this summer as the Olympics come to our shores.
50ml Martin Miller's gin
10ml crème de peche (peach liqueur)
15ml fresh lemon juice
10ml agave syrup
75ml lemon verbena
1. 'Build' in Collins glass with ice and stir.
2. All ingredients are easy to source. Lemon verbena can be found in tea shops - brew like tea and let it cool down before mixing. If it is hot, it will melt the ice and water down the drink too much!
3. Stir the drink once more and garnish with cucumber slices
Torch cupcake icing
Transform your favourite cupcakes with a swirly, torch-style buttercream icing. Makes 12.
12 cupcakes, baked in gold foil cases
300g icing sugar
125g soft, unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp boiling water
Red and yellow food colouring
Red edible glitter flakes and edible glitter, for decorating
1. In a large bowl, mix together the icing sugar and the butter. Stir gently, to avoid the icing sugar puffing up and making a mess. Once it's combined, trickle in the vanilla extract and mix well. It should be a fairly soft, spreadable consistency but if it's still too stiff stir in one to two teaspoons of boiling water (one teaspoon at a time) to soften.
2. Split the buttercream in half, placing one half in a separate bowl. Carefully following the directions on the bottle, colour one half of the icing red and the other half yellow. Stir well to mix.
3. Take the red icing and push it down one side of a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped nozzle. Lift out the yellow icing and place this along the other side of the bag. Twist the top, and as you pipe, you should notice a two-tone effect.
4. Swirl the icing on top of the cooled cakes, ending in a point. Sprinkle with red edible glitter flakes and golden edible glitter to finish.