Who really feels like slaving over a hot stove in this sweltering weather? Not us! Fresh and light, my menu for June is just the ticket for outdoor dining.
High in essential nutrients, and not to mention delicious, mackerel fillets make a flavoursome and complementary addition to panzanella, a bread salad traditionally made in Tuscany to make the most of bread that has gone past its best. Mackerel is always spectacular with peppery horseradish too.
Use up any stale leftover bread for the panzanella salad, soaked in the olive oil-horseradish dressing it comes back to life with a zing. Make sure to use good-quality bread, such as a country loaf, sourdough or ciabatta, broken into pieces.
A nice mixture of different types of tomato sliced into a variety of shapes will add interest and plenty of flavour, garnished with a generous helping of fresh basil.
The raspberry tart can be made in advance for ease - and if you want to make life even simpler, you could always buy a ready-made base and then it's just a matter of assembling the different elements.
The filling is made with ricotta rather than a classic pastry cream to keep things simple. The flowery elderflower flavour comes from cordial, but a few freshly picked elderflowers used as decoration will look pretty (and pretty impressive).
Smoked mackerel panzanella salad
Panzanella is a summer staple for using up on-the-turn bread. Add some flaked mackerel to make a meal of it.
- 4 thick slices of day-old slightly stale good-quality bread
- 1 small red onion
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 800g mixed heritage tomatoes
- 20 green olives
- 1 cucumber
- 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp horseradish
- 4 smoked British mackerel fillets
- large bunch of basil, torn
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Break the bread into pieces and allow it to harden while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Slice the red onion and place in a bowl with one tablespoon of the red wine vinegar.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, slice the olives and roughly cube the cucumber. Tip it all into a salad bowl.
- Add the sliced onion and bread to the bowl.
- Whisk together the olive oil with the horseradish in a small bowl - it will not completely emulsify, but everything will combine nicely when added to the salad.
- Drizzle the remaining vinegar and the horseradish-olive oil over the salad and mix well.
- Break the mackerel into bite-sized pieces and scatter over it.
- Garnish with torn basil leaves and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Give one more light stir through and serve.
Raspberry ricotta tart with elderflower
A sticky glaze made with raspberry jam and elderflower cordial adds a lovely sheen to the top of this fresh fruit tart.
For the pastry
- 130g plain flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 40g caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 55g unsalted butter, cold, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
For the topping
- 4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam 1 tbsp elderflower cordial1 tbsp water400g fresh raspberries
For the filling
- 450g ricotta
- 1 lemon, zest
- 2 tbsp elderflower cordial
- For the pastry, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Add the pieces of butter and rub in using your hands until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the egg and bring together to make an even dough. Wrap in cling film or reusable food wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Grease a 20cm tart tin with butter.
- On a lightly floured clean surface, roll the dough to a circle larger than the tart tin (allowing space for a little overhang). Trim the edges and leave in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
- Prick the dough all over with a fork and top with parchment paper covering the dough. Top with baking beans to hold down the paper. Transfer to the oven to blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the hot baking beans and the paper. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least ten minutes, before removing the tart shell from the tin. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the topping, heat the raspberry jam, water and cordial in a small pan. Strain the liquid through a sieve to make it smooth and then leave to cool.
- For the filling, mix together the ricotta, lemon zest and elderflower cordial.
- Fill the tart case with the ricotta filling, then stud all over with the raspberries. Brush with the cooled jam glaze, holding the raspberries in place. Serve in slices.
Ramona Andrews is a highly experienced food writer and digital content producer. She worked for the BBC Food website for many years, during which time the site won a BAFTA nomination, World Food Media Award and Guild of Food Writers Award. After studying to be a chef, she went to work for the UKTV Food website (now Good Food Channel) and has also worked as a restaurant reviewer for Time Out and Square Meal. She now lives in Bristol and dedicates much of her time to working on food policy change campaigns, as well as keeping her hand in recipe testing and shooting for bigger food clients and publications in her kitchen studio. The Lazy Susan team are looking forward to giving the delicious recipes she’s creating for our blog a try.