Summer is here! It’s finally even reached Lancashire, as you’ll see above Chaz and I have been soaking up some rays strolling down Blackburn Road of an evening. So without further ado we’ve gathered a handful of simple, tasty recipes perfect for warmer days and al fresco dinners.
Asian tuna with spicy cashews and broccoli (gluten-free)
Our friend Amy made this for us last week on a really cool hot plate/grill contraption but it would work just as well on a normal grill.
She simply marinaded some fresh tuna steaks in soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger and sesame seeds (she’s one of those annoyingly cool cooks who never measures anything and it turns out amazing so use your own judgement on quantities) then we grilled our own and eagerly tucked in with broccoli and cashews stir fried with sesame oil, a dash of soy and fresh chillies (flakes would also work). Simple, quick and so good.
Raw blueberry cheesecake (vegan, gluten-free)
This is a favourite of mine and I’ve made it so many times but as it’s frozen (you take it out of the freezer for 10 minutes to eat) it’s great for warmer months. It was one of the first Deliciously Ella recipes I ever made and I still love it; I made it again last month after half forgetting about it and it was great to have something healthy in for midweek desserts to stop me contemplating a chocolate run.
It’s easy to make as long as your food processor is up to the job; I’ve broken a few blenders making it as you do need something stronger. Once you’ve got a decent processor on the go it’s simply a case of chucking in the required ingredients for each of the three layers then freezing for a few hours.
For the base:
- 1.5 cups of almonds
- 2.5 of medjool dates
For the middle:
- 2 cups of soaked cashew nuts
- 2 frozen over-ripe bananas
- 0.5 cup of maple syrup, agave syrup or honey (less if you don’t have as much of a sweet tooth)
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
For the top:
- 1 cup of freshly frozen blueberries (freeze for a couple of hours before making)
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1 frozen banana
- 4 medjool dates
- 1 tablespoon of chosen syrup/honey
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1. Slice three bananas and freeze for at least three hours with the blueberries. Soak the cashews in a bowl of cold water for a few hours too.
2. Base layer – put almonds into food processor and blend until crushed. Add pitted dates and blend again until a sticky mix forms. I can’t always find/afford medjool so if you use normal dates you might need to add a drop of water to get it sticky. Press into the base of a cake tin and put in the freezer.
3. Middle layer – simply add all ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Take the base layer out of the freezer and pour this mix over it before putting back into the freezer.
4. Wait twenty minutes for the middle layer to set in the freezer before making the third layer.
5. Top layer – add ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth and then pour over the middle layer.
6. Freeze for two hours before serving – remove for a few minutes before serving.
THE spinach and mushroom lasagne (veggie, can be gluten-free)
An old favourite that we’ve recently revived, this is a great veggie option for summer dining and goes perfectly with a seasonal salad. It features cheese so it’s not vegan friendly, but you can use gluten-free or wholewheat lasagne sheets depending on your preferences/dietary needs.
Chaz was the first to discover this simple BBC Good Food recipe and as I watched her make it for the first time I couldn’t believe it would be tasty with so few ingredients but it really works. It’s actually making me hungry just typing this. We’ve shared it with loads of friends since who all love it too (it’s been dubbed THE lasagne in fact), most recent convert was Marie who made it this week after asking for ideas on how to use up a bag of spinach. Turned out she had all the ingredients already in, it’s one of those kind of recipes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 250g pack mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped (dried will do)
- 200g bag spinach
- 300g tub soft cheese (I use full fat)
- 4 tbsp grated cheese (the original recipe calls for parmesan; I use cheddar as I tend to have it in)
- 6-8 fresh lasagne sheets
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add mushrooms and thyme, then cook for 3 mins until they start to soften.
- Throw in the spinach and stir until the heat of the pan wilts the leaves. Remove from the heat and stir in the soft cheese, 1 tbsp cheese and some seasoning.
- Put a quarter of the spinach mix on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish, lay pasta sheets on top, then repeat until you have used all the pasta/covered the mix.
- Finish with the final layer of the mix, sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and bake for 35 mins until golden and the pasta is tender.
Jo’s summer bircher (can be vegan and gluten-free)
Our friend Jo invented this last week after becoming bored of porridge and fancying something different for summer.
- 30g oats
- Handful of frozen raspberries
- Tbsp of desiccated coconut
- About 70g Greek yogurt (or non-dairy if vegan)
Mix all ingredients together, the yogurt quantity is up to you; just enough to make it moist then refrigerate overnight. Like all birchers, this is easy to make ahead of time so get prepping on Sunday night for a week of quick, easy and tasty summer brekkies.
Feta salad (veggie)
I made this after ogling a lunchtime snapchat from Jo and a big batch in the fridge has made for happy lunches and sides all week. It’s not so much of a recipe as an assembly job/idea; there are so many different things you can throw in so use it more as a guide than anything. You could omit the feta and swap it for tofu to make it vegan.
Serves 6 as a side or makes four lunches with extras thrown in.
- 1 pack of feta, cubed
- 1 sweet pepper, chopped into small pieces
- 1 pack of cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
- 2 tbsps of silverskin onions, chopped in half or smaller if you can
- 2 tbsps green olives, halved or quartered
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (mint would work too)
- Salt and pepper
- 2tbsps apple cider vinegar
Just chop and throw into a big bowl then stir everything together.