4 Bites: School-night dinners
Three quick, light and fresh meals and a grilled stonefruit dessert for hot summer nights.
Fish and vegetable parcels
- Finely slice 1-2 courgettes, 2 spring onions and a smoked sausage (or a large chunk of mild pork salami). Add the kernels sliced from 1 corn cob, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 finely chopped green chilli (optional), a small knob of finely grated ginger, the zest and juice of a lemon, a handful of chopped dill (or parsley) and toss together well with a glug of olive oil.
- Tear 4 individual sheets of foil and line with same sized sheets of baking paper. Evenly distribute the vegetables on to the paper, top with serving sized fillets of fish, then wrap up in the paper and then the foil.
- Bake or barbecue parcels for 15-20 minutes until fish is just cooked. Unwrap, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and fresh dill, and serve with warm crusty (or garlic) bread.
Rataccine (grilled vegetables and pasta)
- Chop ½ eggplant, 1 red onion, 2 courgettes and 2 coloured capsicums into even sized chunks. Add 5-10 cloves of smashed garlic and toss all in a roasting dish with a big splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil, then roast under a hot grill, turning often, to colour. Add 1-2 punnets of halved cherry tomatoes and cook until everything is tender.
- Toss vegetables with cooked fettuccine (pappardelle or spaghetti), a big handful of torn basil, lemon zest and chunks of soft goat’s cheese. Add a little of the pasta water or olive oil if it needs it. Season with salt and cracked pepper.
Chicken and salad
- Whisk 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 Tbsp chopped thyme, the zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp cayenne, ½ tsp sea salt flakes and ¼ tsp cracked black pepper with a big pour of olive oil. Rub into 2 large skin-on chicken breasts and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Make a salad of thinly sliced peaches, cucumber, cooked yellow beetroot (or potato or kumara), radishes and spring onions, tossed with a little cider vinegar, olive oil and fresh thyme. Portion on to plates.
- On a hot grill pan or barbecue, cook chicken skin-side down until well browned. Turn over, cover tightly with foil and continue to cook until done. Remove and rest, then slice and portion chicken on to salad plates. Add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Grilled fresh fruit and cream (deconstructed cheesecake)
- Cut a medley of peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots in half, remove stones and toss in a bowl with the zest and juice of an orange, a small knob of finely grated ginger and 2-3 Tbsp honey.
- Whip 200g each cream cheese and mascarpone, ½ cup fresh cream, 1-2 Tbsp caster sugar and the zest and juice of a lemon until smooth. Chill.
- Cook the fruit and juices under a hot grill or in a grill pan until caramelised and tender. Portion and serve fruit with a large dollop of the cream cheese and a generous sprinkle of crushed gingernuts.