Easy Summer Entertaining

Summers almost here, which means it’s time to start planning for beach trips, BBQ parties and social get-togethers. This month we bring you top tips on easy summer entertaining, including how to impress your guests with very little time and effort, so you can make the most of your free time, enjoying good food and company with friends.

Get BBQ ready with these seven simple summer staples you can prepare ahead of time and just chuck on the BBQ when your friends turn up. So you all you need to do is just sit back and relax with friends whilst you enjoy your delicious homemade BBQ food.

Seven Simple Summer Staples for Easy Summer Entertaining

Moroccan Lamb Kebabs

750g boneless lamb cubed
1tbsp harissa
6 tbsp olive oil
8 apricots quartered
4 spring onions, chopped
Make the kebabs by mixed the lamb with the harissa and 1tbsp oil, stir in the quartered apricots, season and the thread the lamb and apricots alternately onto 8 skewers.

Cajun Chicken Burgers


8 Chicken Breasts
A few Springs of Thyme (leaves only)
4 tbsp Olive Oil
8 shacks of Cajon seasoning
Juice of 1 lime

To Serve

8 Bread Rolls
1 small mango, sliced
4 tomatoes’, sliced
2 little gem lettuces, shredded
Mayonnaise or ketchup to serve

  1. Marinade the chicken in the fridge for 1hr
  2. Cook the chicken until cooked through
  3. Toast the buns each side for 1-2 mins and serve with rest of the ingredients.

Lean Mexican Burgers


2tsp coconut oil
1 onion, very finely chopped
3 crushed garlic gloves
1kg lean steak mince
1tsp Dejon mustard
1 egg yolk
1sp group cumin
1 tsp paprika

To Serve

4 wholemeal burger buns, halved and toasted
4 thin cheese slices (optional)
1 beef tomato, thickly sliced
Half red onion, sliced into rings (optional)
Rocket leaves

  1. Soften the onion and garlic
  2. Make the burgers with the softened onion, garlic and rest of the burger mixture in a bowl, by mixing ingredients together and dividing into 8 burgers, cover and put them on a plate and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Cook burgers until cooked through and serve with rest of the ingredients

Jamaican Jerk BBQ Chicken Wings

1kg pack of chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks

Jerk Marinade

4 spring onions, green part only, chopped
1 mild red chilli chopped
3cm piece of root ginger, chopped
2tbp fresh thyme leaves
100ml cider vinegar
3tbsp clear honey
2 tsp group allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

  1. Blend the jerk marinade ingredients in a food processor into a smooth paste.
  2. Place the chicken into an ovenproof dish and pour over the jerk marinade and turn then chicken to coat them in the marinade. Cover the dish and cool in the fridge for 4+ hours.
  3. Take out half an hour prior to cooking and cook on the BBQ until cooked through and the skin has crisp, golden and caramelised texture.


Simple Salmon & Ginger Fish Cakes


8 salmon fish cakes
2cm cubed sized pieces of ginger
Rind of 2 limes/ 8 lime wedges from the same limes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of spring onions finely chopped

  1. Make the fishcakes by chopping the salmon finely and mixing with the other ingredients except the spring onion, along with seasoning in a large bowl. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and soften the spring onions for 2 mins, stir in the salmon, mix well and shape into 8 patties.
  2. Cook the fishcakes with the remaining oil in a large shallow non-stick frying pan for 3-4 mins on each side until golden and cooked through, leave to rest, once cool leave covered in the fridge ready to reheat when ready.
  3. Serve with lime wedges and sweet potation chips. Heat oven and large roasting tin to fan 180C/ gas 200C. Toss in 4 large sweet potatoes’, cut into chips with 1tbsp olive oil, seasoning and bake for 20-25 mins.


Mediterranean Vegetable Couscous

1 Red, 1 yellow, 1 green pepper, deseeded, chopped in chunks
Half a butternut squash chopped into chunks
Half an aubergine, deseeded and chopped into chunks
2 courgettes, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped into chunks
4 garlic cloves with skin on
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tbsp harissa paste
50g whole almonds
250g couscous
300ml hot veg stock
Zest and juice 1 lemon
1 handful fresh mint, chopped

Roast the bite-sized chunks of vegetables on 200C/180C with the garlic cloves, 2 tbsp olive oil and seasoning, then mix and roast for 20 mins, then add onion, cumin, harissa and almonds. Roast for another 20 mins, then cool.

Put the couscous into a large bowl, pour over the stock, set aside for 10 mins then fluff up with a fork. Then mix the lemon zest, juice and remaining olive oil, squeeze in the garlic pulp from the skins, mash well and fold in the mint. Add the veg and toss with the couscous.


Simple Summer Tomato & Mozzarella Salad with Basil Dressing

8 large vine tomatoes, sliced (red or mixed)
2 large buffalo mozzarella balls, sliced
4 handfuls of mixed spinach and rocket leaves
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
1 red onion, sliced
1.5 tsp caster sugar
Sherry vinegar
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Flaked almonds

  1. Arrange to tomatoes on a serving platter with the onion, then sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and half tsp of the sugar, leave for 10 mins.
  2. Put the fresh parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil, 1tsp sugar, garlic, and 1 pink salt and pepper into a food processor, mix to a pesto consistency adding a little water if required.
  3. Place the buffalo mozzarella between the tomato and onion slices, drizzle over the dressing and then scatter the leaves and almonds, then drizzle with the dressing and a little extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Why not take away to hard work and offer your friends a simple starter of tapas nibbles while the BBQ food is cooking for easy Summer entertaining. Serve mixed herby focaccia bread bites from the local bakery, olives, feta and serrano ham on sticks and chunky hummus from the local deli with pitta bread on a rustic Italian style wooden serving platter. Finish with a tropical pavlova, summer berry cheesecake, salted chocolate mouse or melon melody fruit salad, all of which feature in our July Summer Special issue and can be found on the FoodieFriends website at www.foodiefriends.co.uk.

In our July Summer Special issue, we bring you the best of summer alfresco dining including how to make your own outside oven and the best stone baked pizza and rustic paella recipes to cook in it. We follow this with some super show-stopper summer desserts to delight your guests with during those warm summer evenings.

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