Tag Archives: summer

Sunny Daze Cocktail

Saw this on last week’s Saturday Kitchen when Michel Roux and his team introduced it as ‘Alcoholic Pink Lemonade’. A rather uninspired name for what is the best cocktail I’ve had in a very long time: it tastes like summer in a glass and slips down very nicely – not too sweet and with a definite hint of naughtiness (it has a delightful little kick to it!) Make up a jugful and gently sip with friends beneath glorious sunshine (like today) – it really doesn’t get any better than this but I am rebranding it – Sunny Daze Cocktail it is!

Serves 4

What you need…

80ml gin

80ml Martini Rosso

80ml Grand Marnier

40ml Campari

80ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

400ml cloudy lemonade

to serve

Ice

Strawberries, quartered

Mint sprigs

Grapefruit peel (peeled in long ribbons)

What to do…

Take one large jug and tip in all the cocktail ingredients. Give them a quick stir.

Fill 4 large round glasses with ice and arrange the ribbons of grapefruit peel. Pour in the cocktail mix and then pop in the strawberries and mint! Ta Dah! All done. Take outside to a garden bathed in sunshine. Sip, smile, sip again. Repeat! Cheers!

Inspired by….

Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Just a roll of the ice!

Strawberry and Limoncello-Infused Mascarpone Tartlets

Oooooh so naughty and so easy and quick to rustle up. Crispy, crunchy, buttery filo pastry encasing Limoncello-infused mascarpone cream and topped with the season’s ripest, juiciest and sweetest English strawberries – just gorgeous!!! A word of warning though: it is impossible to eat them elegantly…but that’s part of the fun!

Makes 8

What you need…

1 x muffin tin

50g butter, melted

4 x rectangular sheets of filo pastry, each cut into 8 squares

30g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for decoration

A large pinch ground cinnamon

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon caster sugar

150g mascarpone

Grated zest of ½ lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Limoncello liqueur

300g strawberries, hulled and sliced

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚ / gas 4.

Brush 8 holes of the muffin tin with a little of the melted butter (not too much as the bottom of your tarts would be soggy and we can’t have that!)

Take 1 filo pastry square, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with icing sugar and then a little cinnamon. Do the same to another 3 squares, laying them on top of one another at a slightly different angle to create a rough star shape. Gently press the pastry into a muffin hole to create a cup. Repeat the whole process another 7 times to end up with 8 filo ‘cups’.

Pop them in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove and cool for 10 minutes in their mould and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool down completely. If the bottoms are a bit too buttery, sit them on a double piece of kitchen paper on top of the cooling rack to absorb some of the butter (speaking from experience here!)

Whilst your little filo cups are in the oven, you can whip up the mascarpone cream. In a bowl, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together the egg yolk and caster sugar until pale. Add the mascarpone, lemon zest, vanilla extract and Limoncello and whisk until quite stiff. Have a little taste and adjust the sugar and Limoncello to taste!

Choose a pretty plate on which to serve this naughty little filo cups and divide the mascarpone cream evenly between them. Top with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with icing sugar. Devour immediately! Have serviettes on hand – you will need them! Enjoy this fabulous take on our traditional strawberries and cream. Hello summer!

Tip…

If you have one, use an icing sugar shaker for sweetening the filo pastry squares and decorating at the end.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Rather too easy – I can see these being rustled up on a regular basis!

 

 

 

 

Peach, Pancetta and Mozzarella Salad

An unusual, eclectic selection of flavours thrown together to create a simply fabulous salad that shouts ‘summer’ and ‘sunshine’! Perfect for an al fresco lunch with a crisp bottle of white – utterly delightful!

Serves 2

What you need…

A large handful of rocket

3 red chicory, leaves pulled apart

20g butter

3 ripe peaches, quartered

3 rosemary sprigs

90g pancetta slices

150g mozzarella, roughly torn

Handful of green olives (optional – I didn’t like them and left them on the side)

for the dressing

½ shallot, finely sliced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Small handful fresh dill, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, make the dressing (which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days). Into a jug, tip the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill and use a balloon whisk to beat together. Slowly whisk in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Check the flavour and adjust the seasoning if need be and then tip the whole lot into a screw-topped jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

To the salad: in a mixing bowl, chuck the rocket and chicory. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a moderate heat. When it starts to foam, add the peaches and rosemary and sauté for about 6 minutes or until the peaches start to colour and soften. Season with salt and transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the pancetta to the frying pan and cook for around 7 minutes until crisp. Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl with the mozzarella. Tip in the dressing and toss the whole lot together before decanting onto a pretty serving plate.

Serve this quite fabulous, unusual salad with warm, fresh bread – delicious!

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

A little sautéing and that’s about it!

Marsala-Baked Summer Peaches with Mascarpone Cream

Utterly delicious is my description. John’s is a little more vibrant: peaches with dogs’ bollox cream! Why? I have no idea but it’s stuck in this house, so when the British Summertime rolls around, there is an inevitable request for this dish – using John’s language – and we all know what he’s talking about! Anyway, the point is that this lovely pudding is delicious and easy: the light and fresh ‘cream’ contrasts perfectly with the rich Marsala sauce in which the peaches sit so prettily; and the whole things simply exudes ‘summer’. Like I said, utterly delicious! (It also keeps in the fridge very well, so can be indulged in over a number of days if there are only two of you enjoying it!)

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x shallow baking dish

6 firm ripe peaches

40g caster sugar

275ml Marsala wine

2 x cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways

1 rounded teaspoon arrowroot

for the cream

4 rounded tablespoons mascarpone

4 rounded tablespoons fromage frais

A few drops of vanilla extract

1 dessertspoon caster sugar

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

First of all, you need to relieve the peaches of their skins and there’s a really easy way to do it. Halve the peaches and remove their stones. Pop two halves into a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water. Don your marigolds and after 30 seconds, remove one of the halves from the water and just slip off it’s skin – it will come straight off – dead easy. Do the same to the second half. Then, repeat the process with the remaining peach halves, two at a time, using freshly boiled water for each set of two halves (it won’t work so well if the water has cooled slightly). That done, the rest is a delight to do!

Place the peach halves into your baking dish, rounded side down. In a jug, mix together the Marsala and sugar and then pour over the peaches. Wodge in the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod halves and pop in the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and, using a ladle, transfer the Marsala ‘sauce’ to a small saucepan, discarding the vanilla pod halves and cinnamon sticks. Mix the arrowroot with a little cold water and then add it to the saucepan, whisking it in over a gentle heat until the sauce has slightly thickened.

Pour the sauce back over the peaches and set aside to cool. Cover with cling film and pop in the fridge over night to allow the flavours to fully develop.

To make the ‘cream’, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together all of the ingredients and serve in a pretty bowl or jug.

Ideally, enjoy this lovely little dessert on a balmy summer’s evening with friends.

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

Very easy: a simply delicious dish, all round. And, you prepare it the day before you want it which is always a bonus in my book!

 

 

Chilled Lemon Grass and Coriander Vichyssoise

 

This is an absolutely delightful chilled soup: perfect for a starter at a summer lunch or supper party when the weather is hot. It’s light and refreshing, fragrant and elegant; and the combination of the coriander with lemon grass produce a really lovely but delicate Thai flavour. There’s no coconut milk in it, which I was surprised about, but the inclusion of new potatoes provide the necessary substance without the cloyiness that you sometimes experience with coconut milk. Really delicious – give it a go!

Serves 4

What you need…

2 handfuls fresh coriander

4 lemon grass stems

4 spring onions

50g butter

2 medium onions, chopped

275g new potatoes, chunked

150ml milk

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First of all, you need to make a stock. In a large saucepan, pour 850ml water. Pick the leaves from the coriander and chuck the stalks into the water, saving the leaves for later. Likewise, with the spring onions and lemon grass: trim the ends, remove the outer skin, chucking those bits that you would normally discard into the water as well. Pop a lid on the pan, and bring the water to boil before reducing the heat to gently simmer the ‘stock’ for 30 minutes – it is this process that provides the soup with real depth of flavour.

Meanwhile, chop up your lemon grass and spring onions.

Strain the stock into a jug, discarding the trimmings. Wipe out your saucepan and then add the butter, melting it over a low heat. Add the lemon grass, onions and potatoes, pop the lid back on the pan and gently ‘sweat’ the vegetables over a low heat for 10 minutes. Then, add the stock, milk and three quarters of the coriander leaves (retaining the rest for the garnish). Season with sea salt and black pepper, pop the lid back on, turn the heat up so that the soup just starts to boil and then reduce the heat again and let the soup simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Leave the soup to cool and then chuck the lot into your food processor/blender and whizz until smooth. If you want a really smooth, silky soup, strain it through a sieve into a jug. If not, just tip it from the processor into the jug. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy this lovely soup.

Pour into bowls and sprinkle over the remaining coriander leaves and chopped spring onions: delightfully delicious!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

An absolute sinch – takes some time but you can walk away to do other things whilst it’s gathering its flavours. Also, you can make it the day before and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to garnish and serve: no hassle!

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Broad Beans and Herbs

 

I spotted this recipe and thought that it looked like a good, easy and quick mid-week family supper dish. Reading through the ingredients though I did have doubts as to whether it would be that interesting. We were all really, genuinely pleasantly surprised. The dish is lovely, light, fresh and very summery. Our plates were quickly cleared and the recipe pronounced as a definite for regular repetition. Give it a go – really great!

 Serves 4

 What you need…

 4 large, plump chicken breasts

500g new potatoes

200g skinned broad beans (I use frozen)

Splash rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

300ml chicken stock

Juice of ½ lemon

Handful of basil

Handful of rocket

Large dollop of mascarpone

 What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Lightly oil a baking tin, chuck in the chicken breasts and season. Pop them in the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until cooked but still juicy.

Meanwhile, in salted water boil the potatoes (halve any large ones so that they are all roughly the same size) for 15 minutes or until tender, adding the broad beans 3 minutes before the end (longer if cooking from frozen – maybe 7-8 minutes).

In a frying pan over a moderate heat, warm the oil and then sauté the garlic for 2 minutes. Add in the chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes before adding in the potatoes and beans. Stir in the lemon juice, herbs and mascarpone.

Slice the chicken and serve on top of the beautifully saucy vegetables! Nothing else required – just perfect as it is!

 Tips…

If you want to improve on the presentation, use skin-on chicken breasts so that you have the lovely golden cooked crispy skin (my chicken breasts were retrieved from the freezer and just happened to be skinned).

I used basil and rocket in this recipe because that’s what I had, but the addition of parsley and more particularly, tarragon would be lovely.

 Inspired by…

Delicious (online)

 How easy…

Very, very easy.

Prawn, Strawberry and Mint Salad

 

Most unlikely bedfellows, prawns and strawberries snuggle up together happily in this vibrant salad that truly celebrates British summer time. A joy to eat on it’s own or as a side to barbecued fish: light, refreshing and simply yummy! Give it a go with beautifully ripe strawberries – you’ll be converted, I promise!

Serves 4 as a side salad

What you need…

350g jumbo king prawns, cooked

200g British strawberries, hulled and halved

A handful fresh mint leaves, torn

Handfuls of your favourite salad leaves. I use rocket, little gem and basil

for the dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon runny honey

A squeeze of lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

In a screw top jar, chuck in the dressing ingredients, pop on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside.

Clean the salad leaves and tear if necessary.

Tip the salad leaves, strawberries, mint and prawns into a pretty salad bowl.

When you are ready to serve, shake the dressing again, pour over the salad and toss so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed together. Serve on it’s own or with barbecued fish and a lovely cold glass of white wine: totally delicious! Summer on a plate, right there!

Inspired by…

Don’t know – I think I made this one up.

How easy…

It’s salad so it’s not hard!

Chilled out Salmorejo Cordobés

Originating from Cordoba in Andalucia, southern Spain, this is almost more of a purée than a soup, including bread to add substance and richly flavoured with garlic and tomato. Served cold, it is thicker and creamier than gazpacho and is a lovely pink-orange colour. It’s refreshing and tasty, delivers ‘Mediterranean with a kick’ with every spoonful and is somehow luxurious. Garnished with Serrano ham and chopped boiled egg, it also has a bit more about than just a chilled out soup! If we ever have a boiling hot day, this makes for a delicious lunch dish or starter.

Serves 4

What you need…

240ml water

1 dessertspoon salt

75g stale baguette

5 large/plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 small onion, chopped

30ml sherry wine vinegar

1½ dessertspoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, chopped

180ml virgin olive oil

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

4 slices Serrano ham, chopped

What to do…

Tip the water into a bowl with the salt, stir to mix together and then add the bread, soaking for 30 minutes.

Squeeze the excess water from the bread and set the bread aside.

Tip the tomatoes, onion, sherry wine vinegar, lemon juice and garlic into a blender and whizz until smooth. Add the bread and whizz again until smooth. With the machine still running, gradually add the olive oil – the soup will now turn its lovely pink-orange colour. Pop the finished soup into the fridge for at least 2 hours (it will keep for a day). Divide into four small bowls and garnish with the boiled eggs and ham – deliciously refreshing with more than a hint of the Med!

Salmorejo Cordobes Close up wInspired by…

bonappetit.com

How easy…

Just a bit of blending – one very chilled out soup!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

A really lovely summer salad that combines garlic-roasted summer vegetables with garden-fresh salad leaves to create a barbecue accompaniment that has a definite Mediterranean feel to it, bringing sunshine into your meal even if the British weather isn’t delivering!

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

1 each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, cored and sliced

2 courgettes, sliced

3 cloves garlic chopped

Splash of olive oil

250g asparagus, trimmed

4 medium tomatoes, quartered

A selection of your favourite salad leaves (I like basil, rocket, spinach, iceberg and chicory) cleaned and torn to bite-size

for the salad dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200° / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the peppers, courgettes and garlic into a deep ovenproof dish, slosh in the olive oil and stir it through the vegetables. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and give them a quick stir – some of the peppers will be just starting to take on a char-grilled look – perfect. Tip in the asparagus and mix them in before popping the dish back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the tomatoes and set aside until room temperature.

In the bottom of your salad bowl, tip the oil, balsamic and mustard. Mix together with a fork. Just before you are ready to eat, tip in your roasted vegetables mix and then scatter over the salad leaves. Toss the whole lot together and serve alongside barbecued fish and meats, maybe with some piping hot and slightly gooey mozzarella garlic bread (already blogged) or new potatoes as well. A feast indeed!

Inspired by…

A made-up recipe that we’ve been enjoying for years!

How easy…

So easy that it sort of does itself, allowing you to do the other prep for a great barbie.

 

 

Spice-Roasted Fruits with Honey and Orange Sauce

 

A lovely, lovely pud that is unbelievably easy, can be mostly prepared ahead and is very unusual. Given the combination of orange, cinnamon and star anise, there is more than a little nod towards Christmas in the aromas emanating from the oven as these lovely summer fruits bask in their sauce but there’s nothing wrong with that! Once cooked, the soft, warm fruit has a lovely sweet depth of flavour and the gentle spices give this dish a very welcome extra dimension. Something different for summer – give it a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

4 fresh bay leaves, torn

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod

1 star anise

½ teaspoon black pepper

Zest and juice of 3 oranges

4 tablespoons clear honey

3 tablespoons light soft dark brown sugar

3 peaches, 3 nectarines, 6 plums all ripe, cut in half and stones removed

25g unsalted butter

Crème Fraîche, to serve

What to do…

The day before, take a large screw-top jar and tip in the bay leaves, cinnamon, vanilla pod seeds, star anise, pepper, orange zest and juice, honey and sugar. Screw on the lid, shake like mad and pop in the fridge.

Half an hour before serving, preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the fruit into a roomy baking dish. Shake your sauce like mad again and then pour over the fruit. Dot over the butter and pop into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Baste the fruits with a large spoon and bake again for a further 10 minutes. One more basting and then a further 5 minutes cooking. That’s it! Serve these rich and wonderful warm summer fruits with a gorgeous dollop of crème fraîche – very yummy indeed!

Spice-Roasted Fruits close w

Inspired by…

My friend, Heather told me she’d had it to conclude a lunch with a friend of hers called Lady Jas (!) It sounded so good that I googled it and printed it off the BBC Good Food website.

How easy…

You just need a jam jar, some fruit and a bit of time in the oven! My kinda pud!