SIMPLE SUMMER MEALS

Especially in summer, I like to prepare a number of small courses and always made with in season ingredients.

These were recent meals:

Feature Photo fried zucchini with roasted garlic.

Roasted baby tomatoes – very fragrant.

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Whole figs stuffed with walnuts and feta and topped with a sprig of mint – then the figs are cut in half.

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This was  followed by roasted summer vegetables (zucchini, eggplants, peppers, onion, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary) and topped with a layer of fresh breadcrumbs and a little grated Parmigiano added in the last 5-7 minutes of baking).  This dish is eaten cold.

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The roasted vegetable course was followed by a salad of lightly poached green prawns mixed with watercress, fresh peaches and a light dressing of homemade egg mayonnaise, a dash of fresh cream,  pepper and fresh, French tarragon.

Dessert is always simple in summer. I have an ice cream machine and this comes in handy.  Another constant old favourite is Zuppa Inglese; it is always appreciated especially if in summer it is topped with berries lightly marinaded with some Alchermes.

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Another simple dessert that I enjoy making is a Cour a la creme (cream cheese, crème fraîche). I bought two of these heart shaped, ceramic moulds in San Francisco. I top the heart (s) with fresh berries or fresh figs . Unfortunately I have not snapped a photo of this dessert.

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The last Cour  a la creme I made was with drained yogurt (Labneh) mixed with a little honey and topped with slices of mango.

Labna
500 ml full-fat Greek-style yoghurt

Line a colander with one layer of muslin and place the colander on top of a bowl so that the whey of the yogurt can drain off naturally. Leave the yoghurt to drain about 8 hours or longer. I usually place mine (covered) to drain in the fridge.
See  Watermelon, Labneh and Dukkah salad
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Poaching liquid for green prawns:

There must be sufficient liquid to cover the shelled green prawns.

Combine these ingredients to make a poaching liquid: a mixture of water, wine (more water 2/3 than wine 1/3), a few peppercorns, a little salt, fresh bay leaves, soft fresh celery leaves and fresh herbs  – usually thyme.

Bring the poaching liquid to below boiling and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the ingredients infuse for at least 20 minutes.

Bring  the poaching liquid to the boil, add the green prawns and make sure that they are covered by the liquid. Wait for a few minutes until the temperature of the poaching liquid is just below boiling. Turn off the the heat and leave the prawns to steep until they will change colour (to coral- orange) and are no longer translucent – this happens within minutes.

Drain the prawns and cool the quickly – I spread them out on a cold surface. Use the poaching liquid (stock) for another fish based dish (for example a risotto) or to poach your next batch of prawns or fish. Keep this stock in the freezer till you are ready to use it again.

Dress with one of your favourite dressings. How about ZOGGHIU (Sicilian pesto/dressing made with garlic, parsley and mint)..also good with grilled fish or squid.

 

Recipes:

Long Live Zuppa Inglese

Zuppa Inglese, A Famous, Italian Dessert

Alchermes/Alkermes (the Liqueur Used to Make Zuppa Inglese)

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