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Roasted summer vegetables

Roasted vegetables are great as a light lunch or dinner. Try roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto, baby artichokes with feta dip and round courgettes with cherry tomato sauce.

Surely, they would be even greater, if grilled and consumed in a garden, by the lake or in a park. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. For instance, one might not have a garden, a lake or a grill. Unexpected rain can also disrupt an al fresco dinner. Another reason could be a group of wasps.

It was during my sailing holidays in Croatia. I have spend the entire day gutting fish, squid and octopus that I'd bought on a market, geatting ready for a BBQ evening. When we'd finally managed to find a picturesque little bay and tie up the boat, we realised there were countless wasps coming to our yacht and we had to run away. We ended up staying in a marina where barbecueing was not permitted and I had to make the squid and octopus in the oven.

What lesson can be learned from this story? Probably the fact that anything that you might want to barbecue, you can also make in the oven. It doesn't always work the other way around, but in this case it does - I have prepare these recipes for the oven, but you can make the vegetables on the grill too.

Recipe: Roasted asparagus with basil and sea salt pesto

Serves: 4
  • a bunch asparagus
  • one tsp. olive oil

Recipe: Basil and sea salt pesto

  • one cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Blend basil with olive oil.
  • Add salt, combine.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Trim asparagus' ends. Coat asparagus with olive oil.
  • Roast at 180C for about 20 minutes.
  • Serve with pesto.

Recipe: Roasted artichokes with sizzling feta dip

Serves: 4
  • 4-6 baby artichokes
  • one tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • one tsp lemon zest

Recipe: Sizzling feta dip

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Prepare a bowl with cold water with lemon juice. To prevent artichokes from discoloration, keep the cut ones in the bow before you're ready to roast them.
  • Cut the stalks off the artichoke. Pull off the tough leaves. Cut the artichoke in half. Spoon out the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. Very young artichokes might not have the choke.
  • Combine oil and lemon juice, coast artichokes with the mixture. Place them in a baking dish and top with lemon zest.
  • Roast at 200C for aboit 25 mintes.
  • Combine feta with oil and lemon juice.
  • Place in a ramekin and bake with the artichokes for 20 minutes.

Recipe: Roasted round courgettes with roasted tomatoes sauce

Serves: 4
  • 4 round courgettes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • tsp olive oil

Recipe: Roasted tomatoes sauce

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • tsp brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • Cut the tomatoes in halves and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and sugar.
  • Roast at 150C for about 45 minutes.
  • Cool down and blend.
  • Cut the courgettes in halves and coat with oil. Place them in a baking dish and top with chili flakes.
  • Roast at 200C for about 35 minut.
  • Serve with tomato sauce.

Roasted artichokes with lemon and feta dip

Artichokes might be funny-looking, but they're delicious and you shouldn't feel intimidated in their presence. If you've never tried to make them at home, it's time to give them a chance. The first bite of artichoke heart will make up for any moments of fear and uncertainty.

How to prepare an artichoke?

Cut the stalks off the artichoke. Pull off the tough leaves. Cut off the thorned tips of the remaining leaves. Cut the artichoke in half. Spoon out the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. To prevent artichokes from discoloration, keep the ready ones in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice.

How to cook an artichoke?

The easiest way is to cook artichokes in slightly salted water with lemon (it should take about 40 minutes). The healthiest way is to steam them. You can also fry, grill, roast and stuff artichokes.

How to eat an artichoke?

Use your hands to pull off petals, one at a time. Dip the broken end in olive oil or dip and scrape the soft, meaty part off with your teeth. When all petals are gone, it's time for the best part - delicate, delicious artichoke heart.

Recipe: Roasted artichokes with lemon and feta dip

Serves: 2
  • 2 artichokes
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Start with preparing a bowl with water and lemon juice.
  • You will keep the prepped artichokes in the this water until you’re ready to proceed. It prevents them from turning brown.
  • Cut an artichoke in half. Carefully spoon out the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke.
  • Place the prepared half in the water bowl. Repeat the process with remaining artichokes.
  • Combine olive oil with lemon juice and zest and salt.
  • Sprinkle each artichoke with the mixture.
  • Roast at 180C for about 40 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve with crunchy baguette and lemon and feta dip.

Recipe: Lemon and feta dip

  • 200 g of feta cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • one tsp. of olive oil
  • one tsp. of za'atar

summer bbq

A barbecue doesn't have to be limited to burgers and beers. Not that I have anything against burgers, let alone beer.

This is a menu for a simple, yet creative BBQ dinner. All the recipes are easy and quick, which gives you plenty of time to chat with your guests. You can substitute flounder with other fish. Add some grilled summer squash, thick slices of raspberry tomato with freshly chopped chives, a crispy baguette and a bottle of crisp white wine. Unless you really cannot imagine a barbie without beer.

Recipe: Grilled flounder

Serves: 2
  • 2 flounders, washed and cleaned
  • juice of one lemon
  • one tsp. of sea salt
  • one tsp. of freshly ground pepper
  • Sprinkle flounders with lemon juice and rub with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  • Grill for about 7-8 each side.

Recipe: Purple turnip fries

Serves: 2
  • one purple turnip
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
  • a pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground pepper
  • Peel the turnip and cut it into wedges
  • Transfer them to a baking dish, sprinkle with oil, season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Turnip greens dip

Serves: 2
  • greens of one turnip
  • 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chop the turnip greens.
  • Combine with yoghurt and garlic, season with salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Recipe: Grilled asparagus

Serves: 2
  • 1/2 bunch of white asparagus
  • a few slices of Parma ham
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
  • Remove tough ends of asparagus. Peel them.
  • Grease the asparagus with olive oil. Wrap 1/2 slice of ham around each asparagus.
  • Grill for about 15 minutes, turning every now and then. The ham must be browned and the asparagus crispy.

guacamole and homemade nachos

Recipe: Guacamole and homemade nachos

Recipe: Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • Cut avocados in half, remove seeds. Scoop out avocado from the peel.
  • Using a fork or mortar and pestle, smash avocado with lime juice.
  • Finely dice red onion and tomatoes, chop cilantro. Combine with avocado paste.
  • Season with salt and chili flakes.

Recipe: Homemade nachos

  • 70 g of cornflour
  • 30 g of wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1 tsp. of sweet paprika powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75 ml of water
  • 2 tsp. of canola oil