A few of our favourite summer meals

Summer eating is just the best, is it not?! Especially this summer – I know I go on about how good the food available to us in Mangawhai is, but it just blows my mind how well we get to eat!

In summer, we (like most people, I imagine!) like to eat quick, easy meals that are heavy on the vegetables and can preferably be cooked on the barbecue. It seems like every summer we have something that we make over and over again, varying the ingredients slightly every time just to keep it interesting, and this year that meal is…bowls. Or salads, if you like, but they usually feel a bit more involved than your average salad.

I took photos of a couple of variations – a Mexican(ish) chicken bowl, with diced, spiced barbecued chicken breast, lettuce, cucumber, kumara, carrot, avocado, tortilla chips, and coconut-lime dressing, and a lamb kofta bowl with (surprise!) barbecued lamb kofta, bulgur wheat, shredded carrot and courgette, a tahini-lemon-yoghurt sauce and dukkah – but there are so many more that we’ve made that I just haven’t photographed! We make something like the Mexican chicken bowl, but with fresh fish, whenever we can get our hands on it. We also make bowls with similar flavours but with vegetarian substitutes for the meat a lot – halloumi, a mix of black beans and grilled sweetcorn kernels, or crispy chickpeas are all delicious, and we use them regularly. If we have bacon, I’ll mix it with lettuce, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs for a kinda sorta Caesar salad – I leave out the croutons and anchovies so I feel it would be more accurate to call it a breakfast-for-dinner salad, if we’re being honest. Oh, and how could I forget ripe tomatoes with peach and fresh mozzarella or ricotta, drizzled with avocado oil and balsamic vinegar – so simple and so amazing!

When we’re not eating something like this for dinner, we often have tacos or wraps – and look, if I’m being honest, those are usually similar sort of ingredients just in taco or wrap form. What can I say, we like what we like.

On the other extreme, we hark back to our former home of the States fairly regularly in summer and have burgers or hot dogs! That’s balance for you, haha. We don’t often use actual frankfurters in our hot dogs (I don’t like most of them) but we’re quite happy to sub those with brisket sausages from the local butcher, with mustard, tomato sauce, McClure’s Pickles, and grilled Mexican street corn. For burgers, we’re pretty classic – beef patty, melted cheddar, tomato sauce, mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Perfect. Oh, and sometimes we do homemade pizza. I’ve always cooked it in the oven but recently tried doing it on the stovetop in a frying pan and yeah, that’s better. I want to try it on the barbecue next; I feel like it’ll combine the best of both methods and be kind of incredible?! Let me know if you’ve tried it!

Obviously we’re coming towards the end of summer here in New Zealand, but we can expect at least another month of summer produce. I expect I’ll keep making all these same meals over and over, because why fix what’s not broken, but I’m also looking forward to starting to experiment a bit more in the kitchen (or on the barbecue – let’s all hope the weather holds out for a while yet!) now that it really, finally feels as though holiday time is almost over (boo).

I hope this provides you with some inspiration if you need or want it, and I’d love to know – what are your favourite summer meals?

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