By Lyn Hagin Meade

The lights dim, as the Autumn clouds hasten the drawing in of the evenings. We are in rows of seats, set up by the children, blankets on our laps. The children made entry tickets and the food is set up on the garden table. The voices hush and the credits roll as we settle in to watch an old movie on a big sheet screen pinned to the end of the garden and a projector plugged into our laptop.

Of course you need serious treats for a movie night like this, especially the ones that remind you of days of youthful possibility…

Pizza Party Ring (serves 6-8)

1 quantity pizza dough (shop bought approx 700g) or get recipe here

Semolina for rolling

100g black olives

50g sundried tomatoes (rehydrayted if dried, in a small cup of hot water for 5 minutes, then drained)

1 ball (approx 125g) fresh mozzarella

50g parmesan

2 tablespoons basil pesto ( I use Happy Pear, but you can make your own – see recipe here)

150 ml white sauce –get recipe here

To serve – sour cream dip


Grease a ring tin – or a 23cm cake tin, with a small metal ring in the centre (to give ring shape)

When the dough is ready, tear off and roll golf ball size pieces in your hands, then roll these lightly in semolina.

Place all the dough balls in a large bowl and working very quickly, add all the other ingredients.

Using your hands, combine everything (a spoon will break up the dough balls.)

Evenly place handfuls of mixture in the tin.

Bake at 200C for 30 minutes, until the ring is golden.

To serve, loosen the pizza ring and serve on a plate, with sour cream dip.

Spicy Potato wedges with sweet chili dip (serves 6)

10 medium potatoes, peeled or not – your choice!

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon Thai 7 spice mix

200ml creme fraiche

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (or to taste – we like it mild)


While the potatoes are boiling, preheat the oven.

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Cut each half into wedge shapes of equal size by cutting diagonally from the sides to bottom centre line.

Boil the potatoes in water for 10 minutes, until starting to soften. Drain well, put the lid over the drainer and leave to steam for a few minutes.

Pour 2 tablespoons sunflower oil onto baking tray with 1 tablespoon Thai 7 spice mix and a pinch of salt, then place in the oven to heat.

Add the drained potatoes to the preheated baking tray and turn the potatoes lightly to coat.

Bake for 30 minutes at 220C, turning regularly. Add the extra tablespoon of oil if the potatoes are too dry.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the sweet chilli dip. Combine the chilli sauce with the crème fraiche and stir well.

Serve immediately once the potatoes are done – otherwise they can go soggy!

Kettle Corn (serves 8 kids)

One of my favourite treats when living stateside, it’s still our party food of choice here in  Ireland.

Make the popcorn as normal – see my recipe, here using approx 50g popping corn kernels.

50g sugar

25g butter

1 tablespoon butter


Put the sugar, butter, water in a small saucepan and melt, then bring to the boil and boil for 5 mins until thick.

Meanwhile, line a tray with greaseproof paper.

Pour the sugar syrup over the popcorn and combine with a large spoon – making sure to keep your hands out of the way as it is REALLY hot!!

Pour the popcorn onto the tray and leave to cool/set well away from greedy hands who might try to taste a few.

It will clump together a bit, but can be easily broken up.

Ice Cream Sundae

This is a rustic sundae with a homemade chocolate sauce no one will resist. Try not to overload on the types of flavourings – the chocolate sauce and biscuits are just the right combination.

Chocolate sauce – (serves 6)

100g chocolate

2 tablespoons milk

Knob of butter

Vanilla/strawberry/ your favourite ice cream

Cherries, nuts, chocolate drops, sprinkles chocolate flakes, wafers

Grainy biscuits (cookies) crumbled – we use hobnobs, digestives or ginger-nuts


For the sauce, melt the chocolate over a low heat with the milk. When melted, beat in the butter until glossy and pour over icecream.

Pile up layers of biscuits, ice cream and pour over the chocolate sauce.

Ice cream floats

Easy peasy, these were the height of sophistication for me and my friends when we were young teens. It even counted as ‘cooking’ in our book then!

Per person:

1 glass soda (such as 7up/Sprite, Pepsi/Coca Cola)  ¾ full

1 large scoop ice cream


Drop the ice cream into the soda and using a spoon, hold it under the surface for 30 seconds to let the bubbles start to react and create a large bubbly drink.

Vanilla malt milkshakes

This is another teen favourite of mine. I loved the diner, with jukebox, burgers and fries. Vanilla malt milkshakes just happen to be a simple way of bringing back those memories.

Makes 2

500ml cold milk

1 tablespoon barley malt extract

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 scoops ice cream


Blend all the ingredients in a blender until well combined and frothy. Then pour and enjoy!

Copyright © 2018 Lyn Hagin Meade, All Rights Reserved.