My top three communal recipes which are guaranteed to unite any household.

It’s that time of year again when, once again, everything is new; new faces, new modules, new lecture theatres to find, and with all that going on, I think some home comforts are desperately needed. Something I often find myself missing at university is the feeling of shared meals, connecting with people over a mutual love or, sometimes even hatred, of whatever you have been served for tea. With this in mind, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my top three favourite communal meals, which are designed to warm the cockles and strike up a conversation over the dinner table.

Firstly, I thought I would share an idea for a delicious breakfast for you and your flatmates to enjoy. I’m sure when you think of a group breakfast, your mind immediately takes you to the traditional fry-up, eggs, bacon, sausage, the whole shebang. However, I’ve decided to take a unique approach and share a wonderful recipe for a brunch pancake sharing board from the Good Food website. This recipe is entirely adaptable to you and your tastes, and I really encourage you to go wild with the toppings; you never know what new winning combination you might come up with!

Brunch Pancake Sharing Board

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 25g melted butter, plus extra for cooking
  • 200ml milk

To serve- your choice of toppings!

For example:

  • Bacon
  • Maple syrup
  • Sliced banana
  • Raspberries
  • Chocolate spread
  • Jam


  1. Mix the self-raising flour, baking powder, caster sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the centre, then add the eggs, melted butter and milk.
  2. Whisk together until smooth, then pour into a jug.
  3. Melt a small knob of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
  4. Pour in rounds of the batter, approximately 8cm wide, and cook for 1-2 minutes until lots of tiny bubbles appear on the surface. Flip the pancake and cook for a further minute.
  5. Repeat until all the batter is used up.
  6. Arrange your chosen toppings on a large chopping board and place the pancakes in the centre.
  7. Dig in!

Next up, I wanted to share one of my favourite recipes for cheese and pesto swirls. I have made this recipe countless times, and they always go down a treat with my family and friends. The swirls are a perfect lunchtime treat and can be easily packed up and taken on a picnic if some outdoor dining takes your fancy. This recipe involves making your own dough which makes it slightly more time-consuming, but I’m sure you could substitute this for shop-bought puff pastry, and nobody would notice, as long as you aren’t planning on inviting Mary Berry to the feast! I have adapted this recipe from Sainsbury’s online magazine, and it makes 12 swirls.

Cheese and Pesto Swirls


  • 350g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to grease
  • 150g grated cheese of your choice
  • 150g green pesto
  • 1 egg yolk


  1. Put the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually mix in 210ml lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bring together with your hands, tip out on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  2. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Briefly knead the dough to knock it back, then divide it in half. Roll half the dough to a 25 x 20cm rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread with half the pesto and scatter over half the grated cheese. Roll up from one of the long sides into a long sausage shape.
  4. Cut the dough into six equal swirls. Repeat with the remaining dough, pesto and cheese.
  5. Place on a large, lined baking tray and loosely cover with a clean, dry tea towel or oiled clingfilm and set aside to prove for 20- 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, 180 fan, gas 6.
  6. Beat the egg yolk with ½ tablespoon water. Uncover the swirls and lightly brush the tops and the exposed sides with the egg wash.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Finally, I decided to end with a bang. Like me, I’m sure you will have all seen the tabletop nacho video recipes with families tucking into what seems like a never-ending pile of mouth-watering nachos, enjoying themselves as they realise the lack of washing up that comes with eating off the table. Prior to writing this article, I had researched the art of the tabletop nacho to no avail, most recipes seeming to simply outline the process of tin foil wrapping your table, which I personally didn’t think needed explaining. Following this disappointing lack of information on the web, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own recipe, combining knowledge from Good Food and Cutefetti to bring you the perfect communal evening meal.

Tabletop Nachos


  • 3 bags of tortilla chips
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 410g can of red kidney beans
  • 500g minced beef
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 sliced red onion
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Lime wedges
  • Variety of salsas
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • 200g of grated cheddar cheese


  1. Put your pan on the hob over medium heat and add the oil.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, chilli powder, paprika and cumin and leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn the heat up slightly and add the beef. Continue stirring until the mince is entirely brown and there are no visible pink areas.
  5. To make the sauce, crumble 1 beef stock cube in 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.
  6. Add your 400g can of chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp sugar and a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato puree and stir the sauce well.
  7. Bring the whole pan to a boil and put the lid on. Then turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes.
  8. Check on the pan occasionally, and if the sauce is drying out, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
  9. Drain and rinse the kidney beans in a sieve and stir them into the pan. Bring the chilli to the boil again and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes.
  10. To plate up, carefully layer tin foil on the tabletop, ensuring there are no gaps.
  11. Empty your bags of tortilla chips onto the table in whatever arrangement fits your table; I would suggest either going with a circular display in the middle of the table if your party is smaller or going for an almost doughnut-shaped hollow ring for a larger crowd.
  12. Once you have decided on the general layout of your display, it’s time to add the chilli. Use a large spoon to layer the chilli mixture all over the tortilla chips, ensuring every chip makes contact.
  13. Next up, it’s the exciting part, the accompaniments. Go to town, layering guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, lime wedges, lettuce, and cheese all over the chilli.
  14. Once this is arranged, simply invite your guests in for a fun evening of table nachos!

Featured Image: Riazza Videna on Pexels with Licence

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