When entertaining this summer, we all appreciate being able to take to the outdoors and make the most of great company, good food and delicious drinks. Nothing's worse than being stuck in the kitchen cooking! The key to not missing out is simple: prep dishes and drinks in advance. I've picked a few recipes that are easily made before your guests arrive - all are fresh, healthy and sure to impress. I hope you enjoy trying them.  

Summer dishes to share

Summer dishes to share: salads

Sweet Roasted Tomato Salad with Ricotta & Mint

Ingredients 24 plum tomatoes 5 tbsps olive oil 2 tsps harissa 11 tbsps caster sugar 200g ricotta Leaves from about 10 sprigs of mint 4 tsps extra-virgin olive oil Juice of ½ a lemon Fine sea salt Freshly ground pepper Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160° Half the tomatoes and lay them on a roasting tin. Mix the olive oil and harissa together and pour over the tomatoes. Season, sprinkle with sugar and roast for about 45 mins or until tomatoes have caramelised. Remove from the oven and allow to cool – a little or completely, depending on how far in advance you’re making this dish.
  2. Break the ricotta up into walnut-sized pieces, gently move the tomatoes to a serving platter, dot with ricotta and a little of the juice from the roasting tin.
  3. Season, scatter with mint and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Serve on a long platter or large bowl.
Adapted from this original recipe.  

Homemade Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4 as a side dish Ingredients 200g quinoa Vegetable stock ½ cucumber, diced 3 medium tomatoes, diced 10g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped 10g fresh coriander, chopped 10g fresh mint, chopped Seeds of 1 pomegranate Method
  1. Cook the quinoa in vegetable stock according to the packet’s instructions. Leave to cool.
  2. Add the quinoa to a large bowl and add the cucumber, tomato, herbs and pomegranate seeds and serve. This one’s super simple!
Adapted from this original recipe.  

Warm Green Bean, Halloumi & Potato Salad

Serves approximately 4 Ingredients 200g new potatoes, sliced 200g green beans, trimmed 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp red wine vinegar 50g small capers, washed Small bunch of mint, torn Small bunch of dill, chopped 12 black stoned olives 150g cherry tomatoes, halved Salt and pepper 200g halloumi, sliced Method
  1. Lightly salt and boil the potatoes and when ready, drain and set aside.
  2. Steam the green beans for 2 minutes or until they are ready, but still have crunch. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, capers, mint and dill.
  4. Add the potatoes, beans and olives to the bowl. Mix well and season.
  5. In a griddle or frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the halloumi on both sides until golden or grilled.
  6. Add the halloumi to the salad, mix gently and serve in a large help-yourself bowl.
TOP TIP: If you can, save grilling the halloumi until just before serving for a deliciously warm dish. Adapted from this original recipe.  

Summer Pitchers & Drinks

Summer dishes to share: gin cocktail

Lime, Elderflower & Gin Cocktail

To serve 6 Ingredients 6 limes, 4 peeled and chopped, 2 sliced 100ml elderflower cordial 2 tbsp caster sugar 250ml gin 750ml soda water Couple sprigs of mint, leaves only Ice, to serve Method
  1. Blend the limes, elderflower cordial and caster sugar in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Pour into a large jug with the gin and soda water, leave to rest in the fridge.
  3. When ready to serve, add ice and sliced lime to the jug.
Adapted from this original recipe.  

Saffron Summer (Alcohol Free)

Makes enough for 2 Ingredients 600ml water ¼ tsp saffron Juice of one lime 2 tbsps honey Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped Method
  1. In a medium pan, add the water, saffron and lime and bring to the boil.
  2. Switch off the heat and add the honey. Allow to cool, and then decant into a pitcher and place in the fridge.
  3. Serve with ice and a garnish of chopped mint.
Adapted from an original recipe by Mira Manek.  

Rose Geranium Lemonade (Healthy Low on Sugar)

Makes just under 1.5 litres Ingredients 5 tbsp unflavoured honey, more if preferred 1 litre water Handful of rose-scented geranium leaves 30g citric (or tartaric) acid, optional Juice of 6-8 lemons; amount depends on whether citric acid is used Finely grated zest of 3 lemons Method
  1. In a large pan, gently heat the honey, water and geranium leaves for 5 minutes or until the floral aroma releases. Leave to cool.
  2. Remove the geranium leaves and add the citric acid (if using), add the lemon juice and zest to taste. Serve with ice and enjoy.
Adapted from this original recipe.   If you're entertaining soon and plan on trying these recipes out, let us know how you get on. We'd love to hear what you and your guests think of them! Clare x  

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