When the sun is shining and the last thing you want is to fire up the hob - try these almost no-cook dinners with a Mediterranean flair.
Serves: 4, Time: 15 mins
This cold soup is an Andalusian classic. A worthy starter that is quick to rustle up.
7 good quality, medium-sized tomatoes
1 green Italian pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 small white onion
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Additional toppings as desired: diced pepper, diced onion, croutons, diced cucumber, diced green apple
Thoroughly wash and dry all of the vegetables, then peel the skin from your tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes around the core to minimise bitterness.
Halve, core and deseed the pepper, further chopping it into a few slices. Peel, halve and core the garlic, then chop the onion into a few slices.
Peel and cut the cucumber in two, adding half of it to a blender along with the tomatoes, pepper, garlic and onion - the other half can be saved for a topping.
Blend the vegetables on a high speed until you have a puree. Add a pinch of salt and splash of sherry vinegar to taste, then pour in the olive oil as the mixture is blending on a slow speed.
Add further salt and vinegar according to taste, and add a little cold water if your mixture is too thick for your liking.
Refrigerate and serve cold in a bowl or glass, adding any further toppings as desired.
Warm shaved fennel with pink grapefruit
Serves: 4,Time: Prep 25 mins, Cook 2 mins
A fresh and elegant dish that combines intriguing flavours.
1 fennel bulb
1 pink grapefruit
Extra virgin olive oil
40g slivered Cerignola or other large green olives
60ml freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
20g fennel fronds
Use a mandoline to thinly slice your fennel.
Take your grapefruit and cut off the top and bottom, then use a knife to remove all of the peel and bitter pith from the sides. Hold the fruit over a bowl then cut the flesh away from the membrane so that a segment is released, repeating until all of the grapefruit is cut.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat, coating it with extra virgin olive oil and then adding the shaved fennel. Season to taste with salt and briefly cook for 1-2 minutes until the fennel is coated with oil and warm.
Arrange the fennel in a shallow bowl along with the grapefruit segments, olive slivers, grapefruit juice and garnish with the fennel fronds before serving immediately.
Red pepper hummus
Serves: 6, Time: Prep 30 mins, Cook 45 mins
This delicious dip is an ideal accompaniment to any starter, just be sure to let your guests know it’s homemade!
3 large red peppers, deseeded and halved lengthways
1 red chilli, deseeded and halved lengthways
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 unwaxed lemon, juice and zest finely grated
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, according to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Carrot sticks, cucumber and flatbread for serving
Get your grill heated to its maximum setting and lay aluminium foil over a baking tray or grill pan. Place your peppers and chilli onto the tray skin up.
Pop the tray under the grill for 10-15 minutes until the skins are black all over, then transfer the peppers and chilli into a bowl and completely cover straight away with cling film, allowing the steam to complete the cooking for about 10 minutes, helping to loosen the skins in the process.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat, throwing in the onion for about 5 minutes until it is softened. Add the ground coriander and cumin, and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Once your peppers and chilli have cooled, remove their skins and add the flesh to a food processor along any juice they gave off, followed by your chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and the pomegranate molasses if you are using it. Blend until the mixture is smooth, adding a touch of water if the consistency is too thick.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve with a sprinkle of paprika on top in a bowl on a platter along with the carrot sticks, cucumber and warm flatbread.