Whether you‘re planning a picnic in the park or an al fresco supper on the terrace, these recipes are delicious, easy to prepare, and perfect for sharing with friends. Bon appétit!
GRANOLA ICE POPS
There are as many ways to make popsicles as there are days in the years—because almost everything sweet tastes great when it’s frozen. The base is usually juice, fruit purée, coconut milk or coconut water, or dairy produce like milk or yoghurt. Berries, fruit slices, chopped herbs or kernels can be added. For a topping, dip your popsicles in molten chocolate (try dark or white) and garnish with seeds, nuts or sprinkles. Our favorite summer creation is a granola popsicle to make breakfast quick, easy and fun:
Mix together ½ cup of milk with 1 cup of greek yoghurt and a tsp honey. Divide between up to 6 popsicle molds and place a few berries in each. Heat another tsp of honey in a pan and add ½ cup of granola. Tip onto the yoghurt berry mix and freeze for at least 4 hours. To remove the popsicles, run the mold under a little hot water until they come loose.
Few foods refresh like a cold watermelon in summer. To make a meal out of it, modify the famous Spanish gazpacho to get this juicy, thirst-quenching version (serves 4-6):
Purée a 1k watermelon together with 1 large peeled and deseeded tomato, 1 large peeled and chopped cucumber, ½ sweet onion, ½ chopped red pepperand 1 fresh red chili with 4 tbsp olive oil and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add some salt and black pepper, some grounded cumin, sugar or honey(optional). Serve al fresco with sliced mint leaves, feta cheese and white bread, roasted with rosemary, if you like.
PRAWNS WITH ZUCCHINI
The best summer recipes have only a few ingredients and are very easy to prepare so that you can get back to the serious business of lounging in the sun. Try this simple recipe (2 servings):
Slice 2 zucchini in half lengthways, cut each half into thin slices and cook them in a pan with hot olive oil for a few minutes until soft and translucent, then toss with torn basil. While they are cooking, melt butter in another pan, add 2 cloves thinly sliced garlic and about 200g shell-on prawns till they turn pink. Serve the zucchini alongside the hot prawns. Squeeze some lemonover, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Variation: add cherry tomatoes to the pan and replace the zucchini with green asparagus.
CITRUS LENTIL SALAD
Lentils are high in nutritional value and readily absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings, but they don‘t need more than a few fresh ingredients to impress. Here’s a great way to cook them (serves 4):
Wash 200g dried lentils thoroughly until the water runs clear. Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for up to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and add cold water again to remove any lentil shells that rise to the top, and drain again. Add 4 scallions, thinly sliced, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp white vinegar, and the juice of 1 lemon (including grated zest, if you like). Season with 1 tbsp sugar, freshly groundblack pepper, sea salt, and 1 spring of fresh thyme, and let the salad rest in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to combine. Add beetroot or feta cheese if you like.
LILLET BASIL SPRITZ
French wine-based Lillet Blanc is super-popular at the moment and poised to replace the famous Aperol when it comes to aperitif cocktails. Its signature orange-honey flavor goes perfectly with gin, cava, tonic, cucumber, citrus fruits, or cinnamon, for example. Our favorite summer version contains basil for an even crisper taste (1 glass):
Put crushed ice or ice cubes into a cocktail shaker, add ½ cup of Lillet Blanc, 2 tbsp gin and a splash of tonic water or sparkling wine (depending on your preference), ½ quartered orange and a handful of carefully chopped basil leaves. Shake well and garnish the glass with a cinnamon stick or cucumber spear.
CALIFORNIA CLUB SANDWICH
The famous Club Sandwich has its origin in a Gentlemen‘s Club in New York City, but today has virtually become intercontinental. A fresh take on it comes from California and contains their sun-kissed avocados (1 serving):
Prepare 2 slices of toasted white breadand spread one slice with smashed avocado, seasoned with freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper. Layer on a hard-boiled, sliced or scrambled egg. Heat the grill to high and cook a thin cut of turkey breast and 2 rashers of streaky bacon, turning halfway through, until crisp. Layer it all on, then top with tomato slices, lettuce, Gruyère cheese, and the other slice of bread. Cut into quarters, secure with cocktail sticks and serve with crisps, if you like.
GREEN STRAWBERRY ICE TEA
For homemade ice tea or lemonade, there are nearly no exclusions. You can use almost any fruit—especially berries and citrus—soda water, green or black tea, sugar, honey or agave syrup, mint and Thai basil leaves, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger.
Our favorite summer version contains half a pitcher of chopped strawberries, mint and Thai basil leaves, matcha powder and soda water or chilled green tea, and is sweetened with coconut syrup. Be experimental!
CAPONATA DI MELANZANE
This Sicilian recipe is of Persian origin and became one of Italy’s signature recipes. The sweet and sour taste of caponata, made with eggplants with tomatoes, nuts and raisins, accompanied by a glass of red wine, tastes of summer (2 servings):
Wash 2 eggplants and cut them into 2cm cubes, salt them, and put aside. Chop 1 small onion and 2 celery stems in small pieces and fry in extra-virgin olive oil. Add 20g grape raisins and 20g pine nuts and 400g fresh peeled tomatoes, and let it cook lowly for 30 minutes. Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 tspbalsamic vinegar and turn off the heat. Now heat vegetable oil to fry the eggplants a few at a time. Put them in a flat bowl and add the tomato sauce. Roast a handful of almonds with a pinch of salt in the oven, chop them, and use them, plus sea salt and black pepper, to season the caponata. Serve lukewarm, preferably.
This fresh and zingy lemon cheesecake recipe is an all-time summer favorite at urban cafés, but it couldn’t be easier to make it yourself:
Thoroughly crush around 15 of your favorite plain digestive biscuits and melt 50g butter in a saucepan. Take it off the heat and stir in 25g brown sugarand the biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into a 20cm cake tin and let it rest in the fridge while you make the topping. Beat together 400g cream cheese, 80g castor sugar, and the juice of up to 3 lemons until it’s smooth and creamy. Spread over the base, sprinkle with lemon or lime zest, and let the cake chill for a couple of hours.
THE BEST HUMMUS
We all love hummus, especially since just about everyone has the Jerusalemcookbook by famous Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, which has the recipe. This one is a bit different and a little easier (serves 4):
Put 300-350g tinned chickpeas in a large bowl with cold water and rub them gently to remove the skins—this is essential! Cook for about 15–20 minutes until they are tender. Drain the chickpeas and put them into a food processor. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon, 4–5 tbsp tahini (try the dark roasted sesame version, too) and 4 tbsp olive oil, and process until a stiff paste forms. Then add 2 tbsp ice-cold water and whizz until it becomes very smooth. Season with sea salt and black pepper, transfer to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sweet paprika powder, if you like.
Enjoy your meal!