Is it me or are we having the best August in years? When I think back it seems like the kids finish school and we are hit by six weeks of gloomy weather! Not this year… let’s make the most of it I say!
So this post isn’t at all marketing related, but all work and no play makes everyone… well, dull! So I thought I would share a few of my favourite things about summer.
Favourite Thing #1 The Sunscreen Song
If you don’t know Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) listen to it now. If you do know it, still listen to it now (especially if the sun is shining). It offers advice on how to live a happier life and is one of the most inspiring songs I have ever heard. Brings a tear to my eye and a lump in my throat every time I hear it!
Favourite Thing #2 Al Fresco Entertaining
The sun is shining, who can’t resist cooking, eating and entertaining outside?
Firstly, you need to make sure the garden is up to the job if you are inviting friends over. Get your weeding gloves on and the mower out with a Poachers Choice to hand, it is a refreshingly fruity beer, perfect for a summer afternoon – yummy.
Now turn your attention to the food, here are some of my favourites below. Fire up the BBQ, gas of course (too impatient for charcoal) and be sure to do your preparation before your guests come.
- Mackerel Pate – Serve this up to keep people going while you BBQ, it takes minutes to make. Chuck a packet of peppered mackerel fillets (skin removed), 150G fat free quark soft cheese (replace with a pot of Philadelphia Garlic & Herb if you are feeling naughty), 1Tbsp horseradish sauce, 1Tsp chilli flakes, juice from 1 lime into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.
- Chinese Five Spice Corn on the Cob – Get down to your local pick your own (not now, either this morning or yesterday) and grab some sweetcorn fresh from the farm. Remove or peel back the husks and cover with the following mixture: 2Tbsp dark soy sauce, ½Tbsp olive oil, 2Tsp Chinese five spice. Put aside until you are ready and baste the corn while you cook it on the BBQ, turning frequently it should take about 10 minutes for your delicious corn to be ready.
- Chicken and Pineapple Kebabs – Marinate mini chicken fillets in 1Tbsp soy sauce, ½Tbsp honey and 1Tsp chilli flakes for a minimum of an hour. Chop up a pineapple into 4cm squares and thread onto a skewer: Pineapple – Chicken – Pineapple – Chicken – Pineapple. BBQ on a medium heat turning frequently until the chicken is cooked, be careful not to overdo it!
- Homemade Burgers – I can’t take full credit for this recipe as Slimming World offers a pretty good base for a burger, the only thing I would say is that the recipe doesn’t make as any burgers as it says, you’ll probably get 6 decent size burgers. You can spice them up with some freshly chopped chilli and / or jalapenos or put a chunk of Stilton in the middle or add some chopped pepperoni to the mix or whatever you fancy.
Serve with standard Cheddar cheese and bacon with garlic mayo or try Mexican cheese and pineapple with mango chutney or blue cheese and bacon with spicy burger relish… The possibilities are endless.
- Potato Salad – Half and boil a bag of small new potatoes until just cooked, strain and leave to cool. Chop a bunch of spring onions, crush 3 cloves of garlic (preferably Isle of Wight), mix with a massive dollop of mayonnaise and season. Chuck in your potatoes and stir, making sure the potatoes are well coated.
Favourite Thing #3 Friends, Liquid Refreshment and a Sunny Soundtrack
Get your friends over!
Ready for a drink yet? Start with this, it’s amazing: 50ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (or Bombay Safire), Fever Tree Tonic, orange peel with a little zest and a splash of orange blossom water. You probably won’t be able to leave it at one… I challenge you (let me know how you get on)!
Or try this summer’s hottest drink, the Frosé (Frozen Rosé).
Tuck into the feast with a glass (bottles) of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and your favourite Summer Soundtrack / Playlist! I am a fan of Pete Tong’s Radio 1 Ibiza Proms which was first shown on my birthday last year:
Also loving this song this summer:
Fancy something sweet… Mix heaps of local strawberries with Ron Miel Honey Rum (we love this one) and serve with a nice vanilla ice cream, try Mackie’s of Scotland Traditional Luxury Dairy Ice Cream.
Up for a laugh, finish the evening with a game of this (unless you are easily offended)!!!
So in summary… when the sun is shining you can’t beat good music, tasty food, great company and a refreshing drink! Our summers are too short and the light evenings are drawing in so make the most of it!!
I’d love to hear your recipes and summer entertaining tips!