When the sun finally shines, don’t waste a second of it. Try these delicious, ready-in-no-time ideas from deputy food editor Heather Taylor and soak up those precious rays while you can
Picnics aren’t just for weekends – nothing beats an impromptu feast with friends in the nearest green space after a day in the office. New in store now, our Street Market range of on-the-go snacks is perfect to pick up on the way. It’s inspired by street food from around the world – think Vietnamese-inspired bang bang prawn noodle salad with a spicy coconut dressing; fiery chicken tikka samosas; vegan gyozas and falafel with houmous. Our chicken katsu sando is an on-trend interpretation of the Japanese snack that’s been all over Instagram of late, while our Indian-style spiced chicken salad, with herby rice and a creamy cashew dressing, is packed with flavour. Just add a few premixed cocktail cans (hello, blackberry gin bramble) and a pack of our blush-pink tutti frutti grapes (they really do taste like the retro sweets) and you’ve got a wow-worthy summer feast in an instant.
Sunny weekends are all about getting out in the garden with the family and firing up the barbecue. Cue this year’s amazing summer grill range: a selection of lip-smacking dishes that mean you won’t have to spend ages in the kitchen. Serve our new chilli cheese posh puppies in soft white rolls (add caramelised onions) and our spicy barbecue beef meatballs, which come with a fiery chilli seasoning. Everyone will love our new pineapple bacon streakies – thick-cut bacon with a sticky-and-sweet glaze. They’re great with a few wedges of fresh pineapple charred on the grill. Add freshness with short-cut sides, such as our ready-prepped roasting vegetables (finish with a few fresh basil leaves) and Plant Kitchen grain pouches – delicious with a spoonful of harissa stirred through. Just add your favourite condiments and a few ice-cold beers.
The golden rule of entertaining in summer? Relax. Nobody wants to be sweating over the stove when the weather heats up, and a help-yourself spread of beautifully presented, in-season food is what your guests will love best. Make a charcuterie board of Parma ham, olives, Speybay oak-smoked salmon and salami, and pick up some of our new Middle Eastern-inspired salads (I love the turmeric-spiced cauliflower, charred courgette and roasted aubergine versions). Our sweet and tender Wye Valley asparagus needs little more than to be steamed with olive oil and salt, but it tastes even better dunked into our bake-at-home, melty Cornish cruncher cheddar dip. For a laid-back vibe, dress the table with sun-coloured linens and flowers in mismatched jugs or jam jars.
Words: Heather Taylor / Images: Carolyn Barber / Art direction: Helen Richardson / Food styling: Lizzie Harris / Prop styling: Marisa Daly