Fill up on a colourful bounty of summer foods with juicy flavours and hydrating ingredients.
5 steps to better summer meals
1. Make it easy
When decide what to prepare over summer, think about what’s quick to make, foolproof and tasty, and that incorporates the bounty of the season. Don’t get caught in a kitchen with blazing ovens and grillers firing – that’s a recipe for cranky cooks and food that’s too hot to enjoy.
2. Visit your local growers
Nothing says summer like hand-written road signs signalling fresh peaches, farms brimming with cherries, and sticky blackberries ready to be plucked. Celebrate the season by venturing off road to fill your haul, and then let the fruit be the star of the show. Grilled, sliced, frozen or baked, these multipurpose gems are the flavour of summer.
3. Say hello to the bowl
With simple being the name of the game in summer, it’s all about the humble bowl. Creating meals around a bowl is nothing new, but boy is it addictive. Throw in anything you’ve got on hand – a tin of beans, sliced ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs, a soft-boiled egg, stir-fried greens, crumbled feta… There’s nothing to them but knockout flavours and the bliss of a one-bowl clean up.
4. Enjoy grains of goodness
Kaniwa, sorghum, millet, amaranth and freekah – just a few of the grains, cereals and seeds spicing up menus around town. Don’t let your summer dishes miss out on all the fun – these beauties add texture, toasty aromas and flavour puffs, as well as helping dishes go a lot further in filling you up and lasting longer.
5. Take it on the road
When cooking in summer, keep in mind how you can take your culinary creations on the road. Prepping this way will keep your dishes light, simple and ready to be consumed on a sandy beach, in the backyard or under a shady tree in the local park.
5 summery flavour combinations
1. Sweet potato and cinnamon
If haven’t tried it, baked sweet potatoes tossed with a little sea salt and cinnamon is a flavour match sent from the gods. A must try for summer BBQs.
2. Feta and watermelon
While delicious on their own, when paired in a salad with a little mint and perhaps a squeeze of lime, the feta/watermelon combo works wonders.
3. Peach and blueberry
From crumbles to cobblers, stirred through Greek yoghurt or tossed into salads, perfectly ripe peaches and plump blueberries equal summer in a mouthful.
4. Apricot and basil
Dried or fresh, golden apricots embody the warmth of summer. This interesting combo offers sweet, tangy and peppery flavours, and works beautifully in salads and tarts – nicely matched with a little goat’s cheese.
5. Vegemite and avocado. Don’t screw your nose up! It’s creamy, salty and downright yummy – delicious on a slice of good sourdough toast.
Many of us have plenty of room to improve when it comes to the first meal of the day. Instead of grabbing something on the run, think about making your breakfast a mindful, meaningful experience to help start the day off in the right frame of mind. Here are some ideas:
1. Use your Sunday nights to create unique grain mixes that you can top with fresh fruit, nuts and yoghurt each day for a quick, nourishing meal.
2. Get a head start on the Australian Dietary Guidelines’ recommended two pieces of fruit each day with a home-made smoothie blend.
3. Experiment with eggs. Whether it’s baked in a slice of ham to create a mini egg muffin, soft boiled with kale and hummus or as part of a brekkie salad with spinach, feta and mint, you can’t go wrong with nutritious, tasty whole eggs.
Foods for hydration
Keep these hydrating summer foods on your shopping list:
- Iceberg lettuce