Friday, 31 July 2015

The Sunny Season

Delicious dishes for all the family to enjoy right through the summer

Bright summer days and long evenings call for food that can be enjoyed at leisure with family and friends. From casual grazing plates to impressive al fresco dinner parties, Flavours Of Summer brings together ideas from all around the world.

The section Snacks And Plates To Share has nibbles from sun-drenched countries, taking in classic antipasti, tapas, mezze and other delicious mouthfuls. Summer Salads is packed with fresh, vibrant recipe ideas and Sunshine Lunches includes chilled soups and seasonal sandwiches amid an array of easily transportable food for picnics.

Everyone loves a barbecue, and there are plenty of gourmet ideas too, from a classic beef burger to hotsmoked Creole salmon. More elegant options can be found in the Outdoor Dining section, with recipes such as Moroccan-spiced lamb or Thai Green Curry. Finish with great-looking desserts such as Potted Amaretti Tiramisù or Rosewater Pavlova, and wash it all down with a cooling drink – try Peach Iced Tea, or whip up Mojitos for grown-up guests. 

Flavours Of Summer is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99.

Baked chicken stuffed with asparagus, goats’ cheese and sundried tomatoes (pictured above) 

Serves 2 

4 asparagus stems
2 chicken breasts, skin removed and butterflied (cut in half lengthways but not all the way through; if you’re not sure, ask your butcher to do it)
4 sun-dried tomatoes
100g goats’ cheese 
Salt and pepper
4 slices Parma ham
olive oil, for cooking
10 cherry tomatoes on the vine
Fresh basil leaves, to decorate
Rocket leaves, to serve

For the sauce
4 tbsp pesto sauce
2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/ gas mark 7. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the asparagus and cook for 3 mins. Remove and refresh it under cold running water (or a bowl of iced water if you’re a really dedicated pro). Once cooled, leave to dry.

Stuff each butterflied chicken breast with two asparagus stems placed lengthwise, two sun-dried tomatoes and half the goats’ cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Close it up and wrap it in two slices of Parma ham. Secure with a cocktail stick if necessary.

Warm an ovenproof pan (one with a handle that is made of metal, not plastic) over a high heat. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and add the chicken breasts. Fry them on one side only until they have crisped up a little.

Flip them over and put the pan in the oven for 15-20 mins, or until the juices run clear. Put the cherry tomatoes in a small roasting pan and roast for 10-15 mins, until the skins start to crack.

Meanwhile, mix together the pesto sauce and crème fraîche, loosening it with a dash of hot water if it’s too thick. It should be a thick but pourable sauce.

Once the chicken is cooked, leave it to rest for 5 mins before slicing horizontally, then arrange on a plate. Spoon the sauce over and serve with the cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and rocket.

Ham hock, bean and mint salad with a creamy mustard dressing

Serves 4-6


750g Jersey Royal new potatoes, washed
750g fresh broad beans, shelled
750g fresh peas, shelled
500g mangetouts, trimmed
Bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
180g cooked ham hock meat, shredded
Sea salt and ground black pepper
70g of pea shoots, to garnish (optional)

For the mustard dressing
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Good pinch of sea salt
1 generous tsp wholegrain French mustard
2 tsp crème fraîche
1 banana shallot (or two small shallots) finely diced

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the new potatoes and boil for 15-20 mins until cooked through. Remove from the heat, drain and let cool.

Add more water to the pan, bring to the boil again, then add the broad beans and, after 1 min, add the peas and mangetouts. Boil for a further 1 min before draining, then transfer to a bowl of iced water to refresh. Drain all the peas and beans and put to one side.

For the dressing, put the olive oil and white wine vinegar in a large mixing bowl with the sea salt and beat with a fork to dissolve the salt.

Add the mustard, crème fraîche and shallot and mix well. Pop the mixed peas and beans and the new potatoes in the bowl with the dressing and mix well.

Just before serving, add the parsley, mint and ham hock to the dressed peas and beans, and toss together. Season to taste with the sea salt and ground black pepper. Sprinkle the pea shoots on top, if using.

Lemon curd tartlets with rhubarb and ginger

Makes 10


350g ready-made shortcrust pastry

For the lemon curd
5 eggs
150g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 3 large lemons or 125ml lemon juice
175g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
10 x 5cm tartlet pans, greased and floured
Baking parchment and baking beans

To serve
Rhubarb and ginger (see below)
Edible flowers

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out circles big enough to line the tart pans. Press the pastry circles into the pans, trim the edges and prick the bases with a fork. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 mins.

To make the lemon curd, place the eggs, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice in a heatproof bowl set over a pan one-third filled with water. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk for about 8 mins over the heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened. Add the cubes of butter, one at a time, and whisk until smooth, then remove from the heat. Set the lemon curd aside to cool.

Remove the tartlet shells from the refrigerator, line with baking parchment and top with baking beans. Bake blind for 5 mins, then remove the paper and baking beans. Return to the oven and bake for a further 8-10 mins, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Fill the tartlet shells with lemon curd, then top with a generous tsp of rhubarb and ginger mixture. Sprinkle with edible flowers and serve.

Rhubarb and Ginger

Makes 950ml

150g caster sugar
170g honey
675g fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces
2 tbsp finely chopped crystallised ginger
Non-reactive pan (made from stainless steel, or enamel- or Teflon-coated)
Sterilised glass jars with airtight lids

Over a medium-high heat, dissolve sugar and honey in the pan in 475ml water.

Add the rhubarb and ginger and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 mins.

Pour the rhubarb into warm, sterilised glass jars and tap the jars on the counter top to get rid of air pockets. Wipe the jars clean and screw on the lids. Fill a preserving pan with enough water to cover the height of the jars by 5cm and bring to the boil. Place the jars in the water bath. Cover with a lid and, once the water has come back to the boil, seal for 10 mins. Remove the jars from the water bath and let cool.

Store unopened in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.

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