Essence of Summer

Liz Nicholls

Katie Kingsley serves up some quick and easy dishes which you can (hopefully) enjoy al fresco.

Cheat’s paella

This is a really flavoursome, sweet and smoky savoury rice that would perk up anyone’s weekday night and will be ready in under 10 minutes if you are using refrigerated leftover rice. It also makes an excellent choice for a barbecue as it goes
well with meat, fish and salads, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Cook one cup of rice according to packet instructions and refrigerate until required (this works best if the rice is cooled before using). Finely chop an onion and fry in 1 tbsp of olive oil, adding 100g of diced cooking chorizo once the onion has softened. Weigh out 150g of frozen peas in a small bowl (if using fresh peas, add with the peppers), add a chicken stock cube and pour over 150ml of boiling water.

Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chorizo once it has released its oils with 2tsp of smoked paprika, cooking for one minute then adding the rice and stirring to coat. Add your stock and peas with 150g of drained and sliced roasted red and yellow peppers, cooking over a high heat until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Serve with lemon wedges and sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Herby halibut skewers

These work fantastically on a barbecue; use any firm fleshed white fish and be sure to get a generous char. Leftover salsa is delicious with lamb or spread over fish in a tray bake with roast tomatoes, peppers and olives.

To make your salsa verde, either finely chop or blitz everything together depending on your tastes and time frame. You will need a handful of mint and parsley, the juice and zest from one lemon, 100g of roasted salted pistachios, one garlic clove and enough extra virgin olive oil to obtain your desired consistency. Refrigerate until required. In a larger bowl, finely chop a small handful each of fresh chives, oregano and mint then add 3 tbsp of olive oil and season well.

Take two large fish fillets and cut into bite sized chunks then add to your bowl with the herbs and oil before threading onto skewers with alternating ribbons of yellow and green courgettes. Season skewers before cooking on a hot barbecue or ridged grill pan for a few minutes on each side so you get charred edges. Serve with your salsa verde dotted on top and in sauce pots.

Raspberry and pistachio mess

The very essence of summer and worthy of concluding the most champion of barbecues with just a few extra flourishes. It’s an ideal dessert to prepare in advance and throw together as you are ready to serve it.

Whisk 250ml of double cream to soft peaks. Sieve 100g of icing sugar into the cream then add ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and fold to combine. Refrigerate until required. Place 300g of frozen raspberries into a small pan adding a few tbsp of icing powder and squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five to 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

Adjust lemon and sugar to taste then when you are happy with the balance, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and use a spatula or wooden spoon to push the coulis through so only the seeds are left in the sieve then refrigerate the coulis until required. Finely chop a handful of unsalted roasted pistachio nuts and roughly break meringues into chunks. When you are ready to assemble the desserts, first dollop in cream then meringue then fresh raspberries with coulis then repeat. Finish off with chopped pistachios and edible flowers or sugared petals.