It’s Summer, we should be embracing it by eating healthy and broadening our food palette. When I received the challenge of Summer Cuisine I wanted to choose something that portrayed sunny days, picnics and simple pub lunches – a menu which just screams traditional summer treats! Me and Lucy, the best friend, toyed with ideas until we came up with an exciting menu which would get people to try and cook themselves.
So our first masterpiece: homemade crisps. We came up with some unique flavours and 2 hours later in asda we had our ingredients!
- 4 potatoes chopped very thinly
- Olive oil
- Flavours of choice – think spices, salt & pepper, onion etc
- Greaseproof baking paper
- Pastry brush
Wash and peel potatoes. Chop the potatoes into very thin slices so they become nice and crispy in the oven. Paint olive oil onto the potato slices. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Choose flavourings, in our case we chose four different taste infusions: mint and lime, sea salt and balsamic vinegar, paprika and chilli powder, onion and balsamic vinegar. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Make sure they’re nice and crispy and you’re done! Ready to eat.
the end result
To go with our crisps, Lucy thought Ploughman’s Lunch – the epitome of summer pub lunches:
A ploughman’s lunch is a cold snack or meal originating in the United Kingdom, composed of cheese (usually a thick piece of Cheddar; Stilton or other local cheese); pickle (called “relish” outside the UK), bread (especially crusty bread, which may be a chunk from a loaf or a bap); and butter. It is often accompanied by a green salad; other common additions are half an apple, celery, pickled onions, pâté, crisps, diced hard boiled eggbeetroot.
I have to admit I wasn’t too clued up on it, but once Lucy informed me of the ingredients I thought what a refreshing and simple meal we could make, and something we could contrast with our crisps. We wanted to create our own take on it and this is when we thought burgers. A rustic looking plate full of Ploughmans regulars but slightly unique.
Ploughman’s Twist – Rustic Burger Ingredients:
- Pork/beef mince enough to make 2-4 meat patties
- 1 small egg
- Handful of chopped onion
And to put with the burger:
- Crusty bread
- Coleslaw/raita dip
Pre-heat grill to 220 degrees. Chop up the mince so its easier to mould into shapes. Crack an egg and add it to the mince to bind it. Add seasoning such as pepper, onions and salt to add flavour to the meat. Divide the meat into portions and make into round shapes to serve 2-4 people. Pop in the grill for 20 minutes turning them over half way through. Done!
So to combine with our crisps and the Ploughman’s Lunch idea we wanted to create an interesting looking plate which looked healthy and simple. To keep with our rustic theme we placed the food onto a wooden chopping board to keep it very minimalist. We added the crisps, salad, homemade raita dip (onions, cucumber, mayonaise, mint seasoning) to our board and thought it looked amazing – I could eat it again now!
From watching Masterchef/Come Dine With Me I’ve noticed its not all about the taste but about the presentation too, its key!
Okay so main meal done. Something to wash it down with? A gorgeous summer smoothie with rich exotic fruits. Perfect!
Our Summer Smoothies, #1:
- 3 Peeled lychees
- 2 handfuls of Blueberries
- 1 Banana
- A blender
Very simple this one! Add the fruits into your blender and blend until you have a puree. Serve in a glass and voila – smoothie done.
Forest Fruits Smoothie #2
- 6 Blackberries
- Handful of blueberries
- 2 handfuls of raspberries
- 8 strawberries (basically all the berries!)
- 1 chopped Banana
For dessert we chose an ice cream sundae. We reminisced over pub knickerbocker glorys and mountains of ice cream we could never finish.We used leftover smoothie to create a coulis for our ice cream sauce. Coulis’ are easy to make – just blend some fruits together (I recommend Blackberries and Raspberries for a forest fruit taste!).
- Scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream
- Fruit Coulis
- Half a dozen Raspberries/Strawberries
- Mini Marshmallows
- 1 Glacier Cherry
Drizzle the coulis in the bottom of a nice glass. Add one scoop of the vanilla ice cream. Push the ice cream down to create twirling raspberry ripple effect. Chop some strawberries/raspberries in half and place round the edge of the glass. Add some raspberries and more ice cream on top. Drizzle more coulis then create a small mound of ice cream on top. Add glacier cherry and sprinkle marshmallows. Your very own Superdrug Sundae!
Lucy’s Summer Tips:
- Don’t be afraid to try new things, get creative in the kitchen!
- Smoothies are a great way introduce new flavours - they can be all or part of your 5 a day. They’re also great as a breakfast alternative.
- Once you’ve got to grips with smoothies why not try soups!
- For the crisps, make sure they’re thin enough and make sure you soak them in the marinade long enough.
- Wash your hands after preparing every stage and be careful when using raw egg and meat – keep a clean work surface!
- Fruits are brilliant for skin and your hair will thrive from it. Shiny summer hair is a winner!
That concludes our summer menu! This was my favourite task to date, me and Lucy had such a hilarious but stressful time cooking our dishes, lots of laughs but a lot of hard work put into it! Thanks Superdrug for making our boring Sunday more exciting!