Summer dining should be fresh, quick and simple – less time spent slaving over a stove means more time relaxing outside with family and friends. Here we’ve chosen a handful of easy recipes that are perfect for the hot weather.
Tabbouleh is an easy, healthy dish that makes a fantastic summer supper – it’s filling without being heavy, and you can pack it with as many vegetables as you like. This recipe has a real freshness to it thanks to the addition of chopped mint and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Having friends round for a bite to eat? Jazz it up by swapping the feta for some grilled halloumi.
Quiche is the quintessential summer lunch dish, and it’s another recipe where if you’ve got the essentials (eggs, pastry, milk or cream and salt and pepper) you can add pretty much whatever else you fancy. Save time by using shop-bought pastry rather than making your own – no-one’s going to know! Perfect fillings include salmon and broccoli, goat’s cheese and vegetable, and bacon or chorizo and red pepper. Love the traditional quiche Lorraine? Use baking queen Mary Berry’s quiche recipe.
Beetroot, chickpea & spinach salad
We should all try and eat more seasonally where we can, and beetroot is in season between July and October – so now’s the best time to have some! This simple salad is super-healthy with plenty of texture and flavour, and would work perfectly alongside a slice of homemade quiche…
Pavlova is a classic summer pudding – crisp, snowy meringue, softly-whipped cream and sweet juicy fruit work beautifully together. If you’re feeling confident, make the meringue base yourself, but again, we’re not going to tell anyone if you use a ready-made one. The key to the perfect pavlova is the fruit – it needs to be sharp enough to cut through the sugary meringue and rich whipped cream. The best topping in our humble opinion is mixed berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and redcurrants. If you’re using frozen berries, let them defrost before you add them to your pavlova, though – they’ll release a bit of juice as they thaw, and if there’s too much juice on the pavlova, you could end up with soggy meringue – and no-one wants that!
The summer cocktail
There’s nothing nicer than a cool, refreshing cocktail at the end of a long, hot day, and this one tastes wonderful and looks rather pretty too.