Take summer al fresco
Time is precious, especially when it comes to summer cooking. At this time of year, there appears to be so much to compete with, be it the weather or the fact that you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Friends seem to take more time to visit on sunny afternoons and, aside from the holidays, it's a season when I always seem to be shopping and preparing food for the family, with less time to enjoy those short-notice al fresco get-togethers.
So, this week, it's all about short recipes that involve all-in-one methods, such as blender-made pastry for tartlets with a great vegetarian filling of Parmesan and watercress. This recipe is ideal for individual tartlets, or you can make one large tart in a round or rectangular dish -- it's good for cutting into wedges when you're catering for several guests.
There's a fabulous mozzarella and sun-dried tomato salad, which has all the flavours and colours of summer. This dish is great served with fish, a tart or simply on its own, accompanied by some good bread toasted on the hot grills of the barbecue.
Fish cooked on kebab sticks is ideal for the barbecue, or you can put it under the grill for five to 10 minutes. This is a versatile dish with a good flavour that can be prepared in a flash. Just take time to buy the freshest, most seasonal fish.
I love my puddings so let them eat cake -- and this easy-peasy, foolproof vanilla sponge pudding with a red-berry salsa is ideal. Serve it with cream, yogurt, fromage frais, ice cream... whatever takes your fancy.