summer food ideas

Grilled Pizza

Grilling is one of summer’s true pleasures but there are only so many burgers one can eat.

Grilled Pizzas

Pizza is a great appetiser for outdoor summer parties or as a lunch served with salad. You can mix some of your favourite flavours like chopped tomatoes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.

You will need:

A batch of pizza dough – most supermarkets sell this ready to go. It’s also very easy to make, check out this recipe from Jamie Oliver.

A hot grill (gas or charcoal).

Oil for the grill grate or baking tray suitable for grilling, tongs and a paper towel.

All of your toppings.

It is suggested you roll the dough in the kitchen and make stacks of dough rounds alternated with sheets of oiled foil. Don’t be overly concerned with the shape or thickness; it’s supposed to be rustic. Smaller pizza (6″-8″) tend to be easier to manage than a large one.

When your grill is hot, put some oil on the paper towel and coat your grate or tray. The secret is to grill the crust first, then add the toppings. Add your dough with some last minute stretching if needed, try and put as many on as you can. Let it cook for two minutes.

Using the tongs, check to see how the bottom is doing; you’re looking for a nice golden brown colour but allow for a bit of char here and there. The top will puff and bubble up, which is what you’re looking for.

Once golden brown, take off the grill and place them on a suitable area brown side face up. Apply your toppings of choice – classic Margherita, mushroom and pesto, peppers and onions, bacon and red onion, it’s really up to you. With the toppings less is more to avoid sogginess.

Return to the cooler part of the grill, and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is browned and the toppings are hot and bubbly.

Once cooked rest a few minutes and then they are ready to serve and devour.

Grilled Watermelon Salad with Cherry Tomatoes & Charred Beets

Summer days call for special salads. Why not try something a little different?

Watermelon Salad

Wrap whole beetroot individually in foil. Set on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 1 hour. Unwrap beetroot and cool to room temperature. Peel and quarter.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds, then quickly drain and rinse with cold water. Slip the skins off the tomatoes, leaving tomatoes whole.

Brush watermelon pieces with Clippys Apple, Redcurrant & Chilli Jelly. Set pieces jelly-side down on hot griddle pan or grill for 2 minutes, or until lightly charred. At the same time, set beet quarters on griddle or grill for 2 minutes.

To serve the salad, place two slices of watermelon on each plate. Top with grilled beets and tomatoes. Scatter goat cheese and pea shoots over the salad, then drizzle with sherry vinaigrette. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of :

If you go to Down the Woods Today…

We’ve all been enjoying the glorious weather recently. Heading to the local park on a sunny day is a must. Why not enjoy a lazy summer’s afternoon with a picnic?


The classic choice for a picnic is a selection of sandwiches and snacks. Today, we take a look at some other suggestions for a lunchtime picnic.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche is the perfect partner to a picnic. You can fill it with your favourite ingredients, it can be eaten hot or cold, with or without cutlery. It’s easily transportable in a lunchbox and won’t easily crumble. A firm favourite is quiche Lorraine, check out this recipe from the BBC Food website.

Peach and Roasted Vegetable Salad

A salad is a great tasting, light on the waistline picnic treat. It allows for a combination of flavours that seem to taste even better in the sunshine. Be experimental with ingredients and you’ll be surprised at the results. How delicious does the Peach and Roasted Vegetable Salad look?

Picnic Pie

Nothing beats a homemade pie. They may take some time making but you can store them in the freezer until you decide to go on a picnic. With a wide range of fillings, including bacon and egg, chicken and stuffing and the traditional pork pie, there is no better way to indulge.

Chocolate and Cherry Slice

And for afters? This decadent chocolate slice brimming with glacé cherries is an ideal snack for a picnic: serve with clotted cream and fresh rasberries.

Homemade Lemonade

Why not wash it all down with a refreshing, summery drink? Homemade lemonade is easy to prepare and quenches your thirst on a hot day. Just for adults – why not create your favourite cocktail to enjoy on your afternoon day off? Or if you’re really wanting to treat yourself a bottle of bubbly is just as enjoyable.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic rug. There is nothing worse than grass stains on your bottom. There’s a great range of picnic ware available at John Lewis. As well as this, be considerate of the environment by taking along a rubbish bag so you don’t leave a mess behind.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your family or friends and head out to your local park to enjoy the sunshine.

Cucumber Sandwich Anyone?

According to the Telegraph today, that bastion of British dining, the humble cucumber sandwich, is the ultimate cooling food to eat in the heat.

Although today’s temperatures may not be exactly scorching, we do love a classic cucumber sandwich!

These elegant open sandwiches would be perfect for a stylish afternoon tea at a wedding or event –

Cucumber sandwiches also make a delicious, healthy lunch. Try adding cream cheese or feta cheese, avocado, roasted nuts or egg to make them more filling.

Cucumber works beautifully with dill, parsley, black pepper, poppy seeds and even fresh chilli.

Watermelon Mojitos

Phew! warm sunny day’s have been few this summer. This weekend looks set to be rather nice. Why not enjoy a balmy evening with some friends and some alfresco dining?

The rum in these fantastic iced lollies means that they are strictly for grown ups only, they will certainly get people in the party mood!

Watermelon Mojito Lollies

Makes 12 2.5 oz Lollies

· 8oz. watermelon juice (2 ½ cups chopped watermelon)
· 2 oz fresh lime juice
· 1 oz. simple mint syrup (recipe follows)
· 8 oz. light rum
· 14 oz. club soda

First make your Mint Syrup
(You will have more syrup than you need. Save for other cocktail uses)
· 1/2 cup water
· 1/2 cups sugar
· 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed

Place sugar and water in a pot over heat until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature and place mint leaves in mixture and muddle. Allow mint leaves to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and discard leaves. (Depending on the fine-ness of the sieve tiny pieces may remain).


1. Place chopped watermelon in a food processor or blender and process until watermelon is juiced (will be slightly pulpy).

2. Combine watermelon juice, lime juice, mint syrup and rum in a shaker and shake well. Fill Lolly mold 3/4 of the way up with mixture. Fill remaining lolly mold with club soda and stir to combine.

3. Freeze for about 2 hours or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a lolly stick upright. Insert lolly sticks and finish freezing lollies overnight. To release lollies run hot water on the outside of the molds for a 2-3 seconds.

Example Menus