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Foodie Friday: Simple Summer Recipes

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Foodie Friday: Simple Summer Recipes


Summer is a season of simple pleasures. Toes in the sand, the sun on your face, garden fresh fruit and vegetables, and a good book in a shady spot.

In keeping with the season, we’ve pulled together an easy but elegant menu perfect for a summer dinner party or an easy lunch with friends.

To quote the author of Grow What You Love —and creator of our first recipe — Emily Murphy: “The simplest recipes are often the most jaw-dropping, especially when made with the freshest ingredients.”

These recipes may be simple, but they will have jaws dropping and mouths watering all summer.

Bon appétit!


STARTER: Summer Salad with Meyer Lemon & Chive Vinaigrette (from Grow What You Love)

What you need:
Fresh-squeeze Meyer lemon juice
Olive oil
Fresh herbs, such as chives, mint, basil, cilantro, finely chopped (2 tbsp. for every cup of dressing)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, finely minced (optional)
Summer salad greens, soaked in cold water

Author’s note: “The ratio of my most basic, everyday dressing is 1/3 vinegar or citrus juice to 2/3 extra-virgin olive oil (the better the olive oil, the better the dressing) combined with freshly ground salt and pepper. Stir or shake and you’re done! Adding fresh herbs takes this basic dressing up a level and is the perfect excuse to pick and eat from the garden.”

How to make it:
1. Squeeze the lemon(s) into a bowl or jar. Size up how much juice you have, and this is your 1/3.
2. Now add 2/3 olive oil and stir in your fresh herbs and freshly ground salt and pepper; if you’re adding garlic, add it now. I find chives and Meyer lemon pair nicely, but so too do lemon and basil. For a tangier twist, lime and cilantro are also fabulous. If you don’t have citrus on hand, use vinegar instead.
3. If you’re making dressing in a jar, give it a good shake so the salt dissolves and it’s ready to serve over summer salad greens.

Serving size depends on proportions.


MAIN: Gemista (from Mazi: Modern Greek Food)

What you need:
3 eggplants
5 small green peppers
2 small red peppers or Romano peppers
2 beef tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered

For the filling:
4–5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
600g (1lb 5oz) minced beef
200ml (7fl oz) red wine
2 x 400g (14oz) cans good-quality chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tomato purée
Pinch of sugar
50g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
5 tbsp short-grain rice
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
2 x 400g (14oz) cans good-quality chopped tomatoes
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

How to make it:
1. Arrange the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes standing upright in a roasting tray so that they fit together. Add the potatoes to fill the gaps in between the other vegetables.
2. For the filling, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat, add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the minced beef and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until well browned and it starts sticking to the base of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, then add the red wine and continue cooking until the wine has evaporated. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar and finally the parsley. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 20–30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the rice and mix well.
3. While the filling is cooking, cut the top off each of the aubergines, peppers and tomatoes, reserving the lids, and scoop out the insides. Discard the core and seeds of the peppers, but reserve the aubergine flesh for another dish (sauté with garlic and parsley, add some tomato sauce and serve with pasta, or use in a risotto). Place the tomato flesh in a large bowl.
4. Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200°C).
5. Using a tablespoon, fill the vegetable cavities with the minced beef mixture. Return each vegetable to its original position in the roasting tray and then replace their lids.
6. For the sauce, add the canned chopped tomatoes to the fresh tomato flesh in the bowl along with the olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well and then pour in between the stuffed vegetables, covering any gaps, but not on top of the vegetables.
7. Bake for 1½–2 hours until the vegetables are soft, turning them around every 20 minutes so that they cook evenly without burning on one side. Depending on the strength of your oven, they may be ready a little sooner – the key is to keep an eye on how the vegetables are doing and turn them regularly. Serve once the vegetables are done.

Serves 6.


DESSERT: Elderflower & Summer Berry Gelatin (from The Seaweed Cookbook)

What you need:
Sunflower oil, for greasing
2 cups water
1 tbsp agar agar flakes
2–4 tbsp elderflower cordial
⅓ cup superfine sugar
10–16 blueberries
4 strawberries, hulled and cut in half
8–12 edible flowers (such as violas, nasturtiums and elderflowers)
Furikake, to serve (get the recipe here)

How to make it:
1. Lightly grease 8 holes of a muffin pan with sunflower oil.
2. Put the water in a small saucepan and pour the agar flakes on top, whisking gently. Slowly bring the water to a boil; once it reaches a boil, whisk continuously for 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off and add the sugar and cordial, stirring until dissolved. Remove from the heat.
3. Pour a small amount of this liquid into each muffin hole to a depth of about ¼ inch. Keep the pan on a warm stovetop while the base starts to set; this should take about 3–5 minutes at room temperature.
4. Arrange the berries and edible flowers on the first layer as desired. Pour the rest of the liquid into each hole, filling it to near the top.
5. The desserts will fully set at room temperature in about 10–15 minutes or in less time in the fridge. Once they are set they can easily be twisted out of the molds and kept in an airtight container for a week. These have a much higher melting point than normal gelatin desserts and so can be left out at room temperature for longer. To serve, sprinkle with some Furikake.

Serves 8.



Get the books:

 Grow What You Love

 Mazi: Modern Greek Food

 The Seaweed Cookbook

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