Simple summer eating
17 simple ways to make summer cooking a breeze.
1. Fresh soft herbs add an instant boost of flavour and visual appeal, and they shout summer. Keep herbs fresh by treating them like flowers – store them in jars of water, in the fridge. Roughly chop and toss through salads and sauces, scatter over pasta and barbecued meats and layer into sandwiches.
2. When in doubt, get the grater out. Does your barbecue marinade recipe call for crushed garlic and ginger? Grate them – it's quicker. Zest for a dressing? Fine grater. We even use it to grate stashed frozen red chillies (no need to defrost) straight into the pan.
3. Entertaining in the summer should be all about relaxing, so keep the food simple. Mezze-style spreads are a smart idea, as you can prep any dishes served cold ahead, incorporating some ready-made products at the end.
4. Fresh produce hits peak deliciousness (and nutrient content) when it's in season – which means it needs very little doing to it. Head here to find simple seasonal recipes on Waitrose.ae.
Entertaining in the summer should be all about relaxing, so keep the food simple.”
5. Keep a really good dressing to hand in the fridge at all times. A versatile vinaigrette, for instance, can be used as a salad dressing or – if you add a little crushed garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice – as a marinade for chicken, steak or fish. If you're cooking with Mexican or Asian flavours, replace the lemon juice with lime and add some chopped coriander.
7. Lots of cherries to destone but no pitter? Put them in a plastic food bag, then use a rolling pin to gently crush them open; the stones should pop out easily.
Too hot to cook? Then don't! Have no-cook recipes up your sleeve.”
10. Stock up on dairy (or alternatives). Yogurt, cream and milk form the basis of so many speedy recipes. Elevate pan-fried fish with a sauce of yogurt, lemon zest and fresh herbs, or blend milk with berries for a delicious smoothie.
12 Just because it's summer doesn't mean the freezer should only be used for ice cream! Bake a cake and freeze slices for that next craving or roast big trays of seasonal Mediterranean veg to freeze, ready for tossing through pasta, mixing into grain salads or blending into sauces.
Just because it's summer doesn't mean the freezer should only be used for ice cream!”
13. Homemade ice cream is the ultimate summer pud. No-churn ice cream doesn't need a machine and is endlessly versatile. Make it into classic raspberry ripple (click here for the recipe) or try swirling throughlemon curd or ready-made salted caramel.
15. If you want to avoid hours in the kitchen cutting up vegetables, stock your freezer with bags of ready-chopped frozen onion, garlic and herbs, or ready-made soffritto (all available in-store). They’re ideal used as a base for quick sauces and stir-fries – just add your favourite summer produce and you’re good to go.
16. Cutting up a pineapple? Save the juice that comes out – it makes for an excellent marinade as the enzymes tenderise meat. Mix with soy sauce, chilli and garlic, then use to marinate chicken or beef an hour before frying, roasting or barbecuing.
17. Stock your cupboards with ingredients that add lots of flavour with little effort. Anchovies pack a punch and are wonderful combined with capers in salads, or finely chopped and mixed with fresh herbs, vinegar, olive oil and mustard to make a salsa verde: just spoon over grilled meat and fish. Jars of roasted red peppers and preserved lemons are also great to have on hand. Slice the peppers and add to salads and frittatas, or blend into sauces. The skin of preserved lemons adds a hit of salty sourness to summery soups and stews. For quick but tasty barbecues, we always reach for rose harissa– it makes a great rub for lamb or fish or can be stirred into mayonnaise to make a dip for potato wedges
Cutting up a pineapple? Save the juice that comes out – it makes for an excellent marinade as the enzymes tenderise meat.”