Every thing on this list I have made myself! And I’m recommending them because I think they’re tasty or easy and quick(ish) and fairly inexpensive. Your mileage may vary, obviously.
I confess, when summer rolls around, I nibble. I graze. I pick.
I hope fitfully that my other half will somehow suddenly read my mind, pick up the slack and start making all my favourite foods in the searing heat.
So my main aim is to feed myself as simply, quickly and nutritionally viable as possible without blowing up my food budget.
Some of the recipe below are links to actual full blown recipes.
Some are more ideas for chucking ingredients together till you have a meal.
Some are nebulous, abstract food maths things – this plus this plus this equal dinner.
There’s also a lot of overlap between the categories – drinks you can also take with you to BBQs and picnics etc etc. Plus, you have my running commentary most of the way through too, so ignore as you wish! Although this is being published at the beginning of June, I’ll probably still add more recipes if I try and like them, so it’s an ongoing piece.
V – Vegetarian
VE – Vegan
GF – Gluten-Free
HL – Halal
KR – Kosher.
Feel free to correct me if I’ve made an error (like, is mayonnaise GF? I assumed you can buy GF mayo, so….)
The ‘Oh crap, we’re going to a picnic, what do we take?’ recipes.
Falafel [we have ’em baked instead of fried – less messy and faffy] with fried halloumi in pittas with an excess of grated carrot, quartered cucumber and mint yoghurt spread [a tsp of mint sauce stirred into a tablespoon of plain yoghurt; I like Greek] (V, HL)
Coleslaw (V, HL) I skip the onion and just make it up as I go along now, to my taste.
Meat pies/Patties I don’t really do sandwiches….
Strawberries (or blueberries. Or both), washed and plain or sprinkled with sugar or to dip into
sweetened single cream balsamic vinegar (V, VE, GF, KR, HL). If you use dairy cream, it’s not vegan and may not be kosher. My partner tends to get quite cross if I fuss too much with strawberries: “They’re perfect as they arrrre.” Yeah, so’m I babes but I still get dressed in the mornings…
Cups and cutlery and napkins.
Take some draaaanks with you too. Go all Blyton with some homemade lemonade [see below] and fermented ginger beer if you like.
The ‘Oh crap, we’re going to a BBQ, what do we take?’
Anything from the picnic recipe section above works too!
Beefburgers (KR, HL) I like the addition of stuffing that Nadia Sawalha & Kaye Adams added in their version in the Disaster Chef series. I linked to the google books version but if you’re reading this in a dystopian future where the link doesn’t work, this is equally as simple ingredient wise but talks you through the steps and techniques more thoroughly. I don’t have a meat pounder, so struggled to squash the patties with my spatula. Still tasty though.
Carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers: “Is that all that’s in them?” “Yeah, basically.”
Watermelon, chopped (V, VE, GF, KR, HL) Yes, seriously. And it’s one of your five a day. Thank me later.
Halloumi, sliced (V, GF) Easily cooked slapped on the BBQ, or even just plain pan fried ’till brown on both sides of the slice. My sister and I are both lactose intolerant and still eat this salty, crisp on the outside, chewy yet pillowy on the inside stuffs on the regular. Also great on a stick.
Other Things on sticks a.k.a kebabs:
Special little sub category right here for when you want to eat with your hands but not really. Yep, sitting on the fence really is lavish as heck.
- Peaches + chicken thighs + rosemary + black pepper.
- Jerk seasoning + fish/chicken thighs + red bell pepper + pineapple
- Beef meatballs + garlic + mushrooms + cherry tomatoes/courgettes + oregano/basil/italian seasoning.
- Prawns + lime + coriander + onion + chili/paprika + cherry tomatoes
- Lamb meatballs/koftas + nectarines + mint and yoghurt dressing [see ‘Falafel’]
- Red onion + Paneer + red pepper + garam masala + cumin + ginger + garlic
The ‘It is too damn hot to cook!’ recipes
Also known as recipes for those who hate ‘salad’. The salads I’ve been served previously, in restaurants especially, is tantamount to nothing more than vicious punishment. Limp, bitter, pale leaves sitting miserably on the side, no dressing or love? Uh, no thank you!
West African/Nigerian style salad (V, HL) – I use salad cream as the dressing and skip the cabbage. Also, baby spinach, lamb’s lettuce or watercress are my leafy green go-tos. Sod iceberg outside of burgers.
Tabbouleh (V, VE, KR, HL) Traditionally made with bulgur wheat, which is cheaper and makes me worry less about food gentrification. Easily simplified too!
Radish Fattoush (V, KR, HL) I’m sure the original recipe was by Jack Monroe but I can’t find it anywhere. I like this for using up salady leftovers. Finely chopped radish, cucumber, spring onion of some kind and grated carrot. Stale pitta toasted in a pan or chucked in the oven with some oil and salt til crisp. Then the mint dressing with a squeeze of lemon and some sunflower oil to make it runnier. Chuck together and devour.
Coronation chicken (HL, GF) Mayonnaise + curry powder + roasted/cooked chicken. I add sultanas but have been denounced as a heathen for doing so. Brilliant stuffed into a carb of some kind.
Potato salad (V, GF, HL) Cooked or tinned potatoes +
The ‘Ice Lollies’
Yer gonna need ice lolly moulds first: traditional lolly, rocket lolly, star lolly and popsicle shapes – whichever. Knock yourself out! I’ll be waltzing around the kitchen table singing my summer anthem super obnoxiously.
Peach Melba ice lollies/popsicles (V, VE, GF)
The ‘DRAAAAANK’ recipes.
I need to remember to make looooads of ice!
Mint Lemonade (V, VE, GF) However much mint you think you need, double it. Was too lazy to make sugar syrup and just put 6tbsps of straight sugar in an attracted ALLADABEEZ. May now also have diabetes, I drank so much. So good).
Strawberry milkshake (Strawberries with strawberry ice cream, optional ice and some milk. Whizz in a blender. Inhale)
Golden sunshine smoothie (Same amount of frozen mango and frozen (or tinned!) pineapple, a banana and some orange juice till you’re happy with the thickness. Feel free to swap the banana out for some passion fruit if you’re fancy)
Grapefruit Citrus I do this with peach juice instead. And then speak with a drawl till the sun sets.
Tea lemonade Good for using up that fancy pants tea in my cupboard that I have lost all interest in now that it’s summer.
Also, Sparkling water = upgrading most summer drinks. Seriously. I always thought people who drank it straight were weird (still do, if’m honest) but added to squash/cordial it is an instant fancypants boost that I’m here for.
Have you got any recipes you reach for when it gets super hot? Share any links or ideas below!