Party food: crab cakes, noodle salad and lemon ice tea

Have you ever been to one of those cocktail parties, where it seems the cocktails were prioritised over the food? You know the scene, guest start loitering near the kitchen doors and pounce on the trays as they are ready. These are two of my favourite nibbles, perfect for new years eve cocktail parties - and guaranteed to have guests pouncing for another bite, simply because the beautiful flavours, not because they are utterly starving. The crab cakes themselves are wonderfully light - and the noodle salad provides something with a little substance, as well as being largely vegetarian friendly. The lemon iced tea, filled with colourful summer flowers from the garden also provides a nice alternative to the usual soft drinks and mocktails for those (unfortunate few) who have to be the designated driver!

Crab cakes with coconut-avocado butter

This recipe was given to me by a friend, about six years ago. There is something wonderfully summery about them. I think they are perfect to make for a party when the weather is hot - or if you are on the other side of the world, you could make them if you are wishing the weather was hot!

Makes about 20


375 g fresh crab meat, any moisture squeezed out
4 spring onions, very finely chopped
1 green chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 yellow capsicum, finely diced
1 egg
2 tbsp soured cream
100g self raising flour
2 tsp fresh lemon thyme
Olive oil for pan frying
For the coconut and coriander paste

1 clove garlic, peeled
1 green chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
1 cup of mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 medium avocado
2 tbs coconut cream


To make the crab cakes:

1. Carefully fold together all of the ingredients, except half of the four and olive oil. When combined, season with salt and pepper and then fold in the remaining flour.

2. Form the crab mixture into 20 small cakes and place on a tray, lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

To make the butter:

3. Add all of the ingredients, except the coconut cream and avocado in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.

4. Next, peel and scoop out the avocado. Add the coconut cream and the avocado to the paste and pulse blend into a rough paste. Place in a bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.

5. When the crab cakes are well chilled, remove from the fridge. Heat a heavy-based frying pan. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and then fry half the crab cakes for about one minute each side. Then cook the remaining batch.

6. To serve, put the freshly fried crab cakes on a platter and top each one with a teaspoon of avocado-coconut butter.

Cucumber and roasted peanut noodle salad

Makes around 8 small serves


For the dressing:
3 tbsp fish sauce
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
2 large red chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
For the cucumber salad:
200g/7oz vermicelli rice noodles
2 cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced
1 green chili, de-seeded and finely sliced (to garnish)
small handful fresh mint leaves
4 spring onions, sliced finely
2 tbsp peanuts, crushed and roasted


1. Make a dressing by adding all of the ingredients and stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

2. In a heat-proof bowl, cover the vermicelli with boiling water and leave for a minute or so until the noodles have softened.

3. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water. Mix the drained noodles in a large bowl with the cucumber, mint, spring onions, peanuts and the dressing until well combined.

4. To serve, divide the salad among small bamboo boats, slice the chili, garnish and serve.

Lemon iced green tea

Makes 1 medium sized jug


6 cups boiling water
6 lemon green tea bags
6 tbs of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
fresh mint leaves and edible flowers (such as borage and nasturtiums), as garnish


Pour boiling water over tea bags in a large jug. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on desired strength. Remove tea bags. Stir in lemon juice and honey. Allow tea to become very chilled before serving. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and edible flowers.

Wishing you all, lovely friends, a very happy new year...and if you are hosting a party this year, I hope a good time is had by all!


  1. Hi Ella! What lovely photos... These recipes are so vibrant, colorful, light & fresh! I wish I was there to sample some (or hover by the kitchen doors!) Enjoy your beautiful summer days :)


Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate every single one!

© Mulberry and Pomegranate
Maira Gall