As soon as the sun comes out the last thing you want to do is to spend lots of time in the kitchen. There is nothing worse that cooking on a hot day, the heat of the oven makes you toast. When it is sunny you find that your appetite decreases and you are looking for food you can make quickly that you can nibble on when you want. You want to be outside enjoying the sunshine and eating Al Fresco. There is nothing nicer than sitting relaxing, listening to the birds sing and the bees hum whilst enjoying a cold drink and watching the dog play. I have come up with three easy summer side dishes that you can serve as part of a buffet or a picnic lunch. These are quick to prepare and full of taste. There is nothing worse that a summer dish that is bland, summer picnics are a chance to play with the flavour and let it burst on your taste buds.
To make the side dishes quicker and easier to prepare I used Primula cheese. Primula is cheese that comes in a tube and is really easy to spread. It keeps well in the fridge as well. The range has a number of flavours which allow you to vary the side dishes according to your taste. As well as Primula Original Cheese and Lite Cheese (the same flavour but with 40% less fat) you can also get Primula Cheese with chives, cheese with ham and cheese with prawns. Primula cheese is great for all sorts of dishes and tastes great in a sandwich as well.
Three Easy Summer Side Dishes
Stuffed Celery Sticks
Whenever I think of summer side dishes I think of cheese stuffed celery sticks. It is a classic recipe, found on buffet tables everywhere. No wonder as it is so tasty, the crunch of the celery goes so well with the creaminess of the cheese. It is also so easy to make, just add the cream cheese to the celery and serve.
For this version I used Primula light cheese and for a bit of sneaky extra bite mixed in a couple of teaspoons of horseradish. Sprinkle a little black pepper on the top and you have a lovely summery side dish. The horseradish adds a bit of extra omph that will have your guests wondering.
Cheese and tomato bruschetta
I love bruschetta, it reminds me of summer holidays in Italy. Tomato bruschetta is delicious, especially when made with ripe home grown tomatoes. Home grown tomatoes have so much more taste and are perfect for mixing with herbs like basil for a burst of summer flavour. For a twist on the classic tomato brushetta I made cheese and tomato brushetta.
The cheese and tomato bruscetta is so simple to make, toast some french bread and rub the slices with a garlic clove. Leave the toast to cool then top with Primula cheese, sliced onions, chopped cherry tomatoes and some fresh basil. If you want to add a little more bite you could drizzle some balsamic dressing over the tomato. It is a quick and easy summer side dish with plenty of flavour.
- 1 french loaf
- clove garlic
- Primula cheese
- 250 g box cherry plum tomatoes
- ½ onion
- Fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 4
- Cut the baguette into around 16 slices
- Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake until toasted on both sides
- Rub the slices with the clove of garlic and leave to cool.
- Top each slice with the primula cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes and slices of onion
- Top with some shredded basil
Pinwheel sandwiches are so easy to make but it looks like you have made lots of effort. The round shape with layers looks amazing on a plate and the sandwich itself is a lovely mix of flavours. I used Primula cheese with chives for these as it added a burst of flavour that worked really well with the ham.
To make the sandwiches spread the primula onto a tortilla wrap and then add some basil leaves. I then used some slices of red pepper from a jar of roasted red pepper and topped this with ham and a small spread of mayonnaise. Once everything is on the sandwich roll it up very carefully, wrap in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge. When you want to serve the sandwiches cut long the length of the wrap to create circle shaped sandwiches. Place these on a plate and wait for the admiring remarks.
If you are looking for other ideas for summer picnics why not try John Waite’s spiced lamb pasties which have a lovely Eastern taste. If you want something really special then jam jar cheesecakes would be a great hit with adults and kids alike.
Do you have any side dishes you like to prepare for picnics or barbecue parties? Let me know below.
I was sent some shopping vouchers and some primula to enable me to create the recipes, all opinions are my own.