As the sun graces us with its warmth and the outdoors beckon, it's the perfect time to embrace the joy of summer dining. That’s why we are celebrating the season by offering a curated selection of mouth-watering recipes that highlight the vibrant flavours of summer produce to be enjoyed al fresco style. Join us on this culinary journey as we explore summer salads, mains, and desserts that will elevate any family meals on the patio or dinner parties for friends.
Seasonal Ingredients in the UK Summer
In the UK, summer brings an abundance of fresh produce that bursts with flavour and colour. By incorporating these seasonal ingredients into our recipes, we not only enjoy their exceptional taste but also support local farmers and reduce our carbon footprint. Some delightful ingredients to look out for during the summer months include:
July – Apricots, Beetroot, Blueberries, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherries, Courgettes and summer squash, Cucumbers, Fennel, French beans, Gooseberries, Lettuce and other salad leaves, New potatoes, Peas and mangetout, Radish, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Runner beans, Spinach, Spring onions, Shallots, Strawberries, Tomatoes and Turnips.
August - Aubergines, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Courgettes and summer squash, Cucumbers, Fennel, French beans, Lettuce and other salad leaves, Peas and mangetout, Peppers and chillies, Plums, Potatoes, Raspberries, Runner beans, Spring onions, Sweetcorn, Strawberries and Tomatoes.
September - Beetroot, Blueberries, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherries, Courgettes and summer squash, Cucumbers, Currants, Fennel, French beans, Gooseberries, Leeks, Lettuce and other salad leaves, New potatoes, Peas and mangetout, Radish, Raspberries, Runner beans, Spinach, Spring onions, Shallots and Tomatoes.
Our Favourite Recipes
Summer Salads for Sharing
Salads are the epitome of refreshing summer fare. As the temperatures rise, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a crisp and refreshing summer salad. From garden-fresh greens to juicy tomatoes and an array of colourful vegetables, summer salads offer a burst of flavour and vibrant textures.
When it comes to alfresco dining, a couscous salad reigns supreme as an ideal dish to savour in the great outdoors on a sunny day, as a satisfying main or scrumptious side. With its quick-cooking nature, couscous is a perfect choice for a summer salad allowing you to spend more time enjoying the company of friends and family. In just a matter of minutes, you can have fluffy and tender couscous ready to be transformed into a delightful salad. Serving as a blank canvas, to be enhanced with an array of your favourite vegetables, proteins, and vibrant flavours.
Our summer couscous vegetable salad recipe is simple, light, and perfect for any occasion – whether it's a picnic in the park or a weeknight dinner. Plus, it's incredibly versatile, allowing you to customize it adding in your favourite ingredients so it’s tailored to you (Bonus points if the veg is part of our seasonal ingredients list!).
All you need is:
200ml hot low-salt vegetable stock (from a cube is fine)
2 spring onions
1 red pepper
Any Protein (We’ve gone for 50g of feta cheese, cubed) but you could use halloumi, chicken or chickpeas for example.
100g cherry tomato’s halved
Coriander leaves for garnish
Tip the couscous into a large bowl and pour over the hot vegetable stock. Cover the bowl and leave it for about 10 minutes, allowing the couscous to absorb the stock and become fluffy.
While the couscous is resting, slice the spring onions and red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and dice the cucumber. After 10 minutes, fluff up the couscous using a fork and add the chopped vegetables.
Next add your protein, we are going to crumble feta cheese over the salad distributing it evenly for bursts of delightful saltiness along with extra salt and pepper to taste.
Finally, sprinkle the raisins over the salad and top with some coriander leaves. Add your favourite dressing for some more flavour and you are done! (We love a lemon vinaigrette)
Serve your summer couscous vegetable salad as a starter, main or side. For a satisfying dinner option why not pair with some grilled chicken or salmon.
A Taste of Italy: Classic Caprese Salad Recipe
Indulge in the flavours of Italy with a classic Caprese salad that will transport your taste buds to the sun-soaked Mediterranean. This timeless tricolour salad is incredibly simple, yet its combination of perfectly ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fragrant basil is a true delight. Serve on a large platter, again creating the perfect dish for everyone to dive and share.
All you need is:
8 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced
2 balls of mozzarella, sliced
Handful of basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Begin by arranging the slices of tomato and mozzarella on a platter, alternating between slices of each. Next, sprinkle the fresh basil leaves over the top and season the salad generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the salad, ensuring each slice is lightly coated and lastly add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to complete your Caprese salad. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic vinegar adds depth and balances the flavours of the dish.
The simplicity of a caprese salad means it is quick and easy to prepare with few ingredients and little prep time. Perfect for busy days out in the sunshine when you want a refreshing bite to eat with little effort, or for a complex dinner party where you have to juggle a delicious menu alongside entertaining guests.
Seasonal Salads of the Month
Explore our favourite salads for each summer month using the most suitable seasonal produce!
July’s Beetroot and Feta Salad
Roast or boil beetroot until tender, then slice or cube it. Toss with crumbled feta cheese, toasted walnuts, and a light vinaigrette. Serve over a bed of mixed salad leaves for a vibrant and nutritious salad.
August’s Grilled Vegetable Salad
Grill slices of aubergine, courgette, and peppers until tender and lightly charred. Toss them with cherry tomatoes, mixed salad leaves, crumbled feta cheese, and a lemon-herb dressing. This salad showcases the smoky flavours of grilled vegetables.
September’s Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
Shred cabbage and carrots and toss them with thinly sliced fennel, chopped spring onions, toasted sunflower seeds, and a creamy dressing. This slaw provides a refreshing and crunchy texture, perfect as a side dish or a light lunch.
Mains for the Middle of the Alfresco Dining Table
Summer mains are all about embracing simplicity and the natural flavours of seasonal ingredients. From succulent grilled meats and seafood to vibrant vegetable dishes, there's an array of options to please every palate. It's the season for firing up the barbecue, infusing dishes with herbs, and exploring the versatility of summer produce.
Recipes for the grill:
Having a grilled meat, fish or vegetable main is the centrepiece for any outdoor summer dinner. Served with a big sharing salad and some boiled new potatoes slathered in butter and herbs. The perfect meal for passing plates and laughing around the table. Here are some of our favourite options:
Marinated Pork Chops:
Mix together honey, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add pork chops, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Once the chops have marinated place them on a hot grill and cover and cook until grill marks appear on the bottom, which should be about 4 minutes on each side.
Barbecued Sea Bream:
Season the inside of the sea bream with lemon slices, salt and pepper. Pat dry with a paper towel and grill for 10 mins on a hot barbecue, turning halfway. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon on top.
Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers:
Chop up some peppers, courgette, red onions and halloumi into bitesize chunks. Place in a bowl and toss in some olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Thread each piece on the skewer alternating as you go so you get a bit of everything. Remember to use pre-soaked skewers so they don’t split. Grill until the halloumi browns and the courgette softens.
We have a selection of serving platters in various shapes, sizes and colours to complement any dining table style:
Seasonal Mains of the Month
Take a look at our favourite main dishes for each summer month using the most suitable seasonal produce!
July’s One Pot Tomato and Basil Risotto:
Utilize the flavourful tomatoes of the season by making a creamy tomato and basil risotto. Sauté onions and garlic until soft before adding arborio rice, and gradually incorporate vegetable stock and diced tomatoes. At the end you can always throw in some peas and spinach, to add more substance and flavour to the meal. Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, then serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan on top.
This one pot risotto is perfect when cooking for big groups as it requires minimal effort and fewer pots and pans to wash up, allowing you to spend more time mingling with your guests. It’s an excellent option for sharing with friends and family, you just need one big serving spoon and let them dig in.
August’s Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl
Toss a variety of seasonal vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and courgettes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast them until caramelized and serve over a bed of fluffy quinoa with some grilled chicken. Drizzle with a tahini dressing and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Grill some corns on the cob until charred and enjoy lathered in butter on the side.
September’s Roasted Beetroot and Goat Cheese Tart:
Peel and finely slice beetroot before layering evenly in a foil-lined roasting tin and drizzle with the honey and olive oil. Cover with foil, then roast until tender. Roll out puff pastry and bake for 20 minutes. Once the beetroot and pastry has been removed from the oven carefully top the pastry with the roasted beetroot slices, crumbled goat cheese, chopped hazelnuts and a sprinkle of thyme. Bake until the pastry is golden and serve with a side salad of mixed leaves, French beans and grated carrot.
Tempting Desserts for Sunny Days
September’s Plum and Ginger Upside-Down Cake:
Arrange sliced plums in the bottom of a cake pan, sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger, and pour a moist vanilla cake batter over the top. Bake until golden and serve warm with a drizzle of honey or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We also love delicious magazines ‘Make-ahead summer dessert recipes’ so you can spend more time with guests when entertaining this summer: https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/collections/make-ahead-summer-dessert-recipes/
Some Extra Tips for Summer Dining:
Ditch Disposable Plastics:
When hosting summer gatherings, choose reusable tableware and cutlery made from good quality materials. Say goodbye to single-use plastics and make a positive impact on the environment without compromising on style.
Compost and Reduce Food Waste:
Embrace composting to recycle food scraps, enriching the soil instead of filling up landfills. Additionally, plan your meals carefully to reduce food waste, utiliszing leftovers creatively or preserving them for future use. By adopting these practices, you can make a significant difference in reducing your ecological footprint.