Alfresco Dining Made Easy

With summer in full bloom, this week we bring you alfresco dining made easy tips and recipes for effortless entertaining. Including a Mediterranean vegetable and feta quiche, zesty rainbow coleslaw, easy mustard scotch eggs, simple caesar salad, easy Italian pasta salad, chicken, chorizo and vegetable skewers. You will find lots more ideas here in FoodieFriends Recipes.

Mediterranian Vegetable and Feta Quiche
With crumbly pastry and a two cheese and pine nut filling
Serves: Up to 8 people
Time: 1hr 20 minutes

1 bag of mixed bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 large tomatoes deseeded, sliced thinly
2 courgettes, grated into ribbons with a large potato peeler
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
tsp fresh rosemary sprigs
375g sheet of puff pastry
1 free-range egg, plus 3 egg yolks
227ml double cream
40g fresh parmesan cheese
100g greek feta
25g pine nuts

Set the oven to 190. Once to temperature put the peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, garlic, olive oil and herbs into a dish and roast for 35 mins, stirring half way through.

Meanwhile, roll the puff pastry sheet and line a lightly greased 20cm round quiche tin to cover the edges. Prick pastry with a fork and, cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans or dried pasta and make for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Spoon the roasted vegetables into the tart. Mix the eggs, cream, grated cheese and freshly ground pepper, then pour over the roasted vegetables.  Scatter the feta cheese and pine nuts and bake for 30-35 minutes, covering with foil after 15 minutes to prevent over browning.

Zesty Rainbow Coleslaw
Try this zingy refreshing take on the traditional summer coleslaw
ServesFeeds: Up to 6
Time: 25 minutes

Half a small red cabbage
Half a white cabbage
3 carrots
100g raisins
Juice of 2 lemons

3 tbsp low-fat mayo
4 tbsp greek-style yoghurt
1 tbsp horseradish cause
Fresh mint, finely chopped

Cut the red and white cabbage into quarters, remove the stalks, then shred and add to a bowl. Grate in the carrots and stir in raisins and lemon juice and leave for 10-15 minutes.

Mix all the dressing ingredients pour over the cabbage mixture and stir. Tear over fresh mint leaves to serve.

Easy Mustard Scotch Eggs
Scotch eggs with a distinctive difference
Serves: 4
Time: 45 minutes

5 free range eggs
8 butchers pork sausages
15g fresh herbs, finely chopped
2tp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp flour
7 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
Baby leaf salad to serve

Heat the oven to 200C and boil the eggs for 5 minutes. Then plunge the eggs into cold water and peel the shells.

Squeeze the sausages our of their skins into a bowl and mix in the herbs and mustard, then divide then mixture into 4 equal balls.

Put the flour, breadcrumbs and remaining egg into separate bowls and beat the egg with a fork.

Roll the boiled eggs in the flour. Roll the sausage meat slightly so it’s thin enough to fully cover the egg, then wrap each one. Dip them in the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs to coat.

Heat the olive oil on a baking tray for 4 minutes then add the scotch eggs and cook for 10 minutes. Tuen them over and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sausage meat is fully cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden. Serve with baby leaf salad if desired. 

Simple Ceasar Salad

1 romaine lettuce, sliced
1 cucumber, skin removed and sliced thinly
Ready cooked flame grilled chicken slices
Small packet of bacon lardons
Shop bought ground pepper and sea salt croutons
Shop bought fresh caesar dressing
Fresh parmesan
1 small tin of quality anchovies, drained and roughly chopped

Wash and slice the lettuce and cucumber and add to a large salad bowl. Fry the bacon lardons quickly in a small frying pan, drain the excess oil and then add to the salad bowl. Add the cooked chicken slices, croutons, anchovies and then drizzle over the fresh caesar dressing. Gently toss the salad with serving tongs and grate some parmesan shavings over the salad to serve.

Easy Italian Pasta

Time: 15 minutes

150g fusilli pasta
10 large olives, chopped
6 piccolo tomatoes, chopped
60g buffalo mozzarella
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Cook the pasta as per packet instructions, drain and cool.

Mix the ingredients with the pasta, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, grind in the black pepper, then tear in the mozzarella and add fresh basil leaves to finish.

Chorio, Chicken and Veg Skewers

225g smoky chorizo
2 chicken breasts
2 courgettes
Nutty brown long grain rice to serve

Heat the oven to 180C, but the chorizo, sweet red pepper, chicken and courgettes into bite-sized pieces.

Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 5 minutes, then thread the ingredients onto the skewers, distributing evenly.  Brush with olive oil and place on a lined baking tray for 20 minutes, Serve with nutty long grain rice.

Want to add more meat? There are lots of ready prepared joints and marinated meats in the supermarket, such as succulent pulled pork, oak smoked steaks, jumbo bbq wings, chicken and chorizo burger, chilli burgers and red pepper pork sausages.

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Hope you have enjoyed our Alfresco Dining Made Easy blog.