There's been some incredibly fine weather around of late. And with kitchen doors flung open to let in the air, it could be time to think about some summery recipe ideas that will help you feel the season is really and truly here.
Of course, summer cooking doesn't have to change much from winter cooking unless we want it to. In summer, there's sometimes more of a desire to have light foods, and cold treats are often more desirable at this time of year, too.
What might well change is where you eat, with garden dining a must when the weather's as gorgeous as it has been lately. If you've yet to invest in a garden table, think about treating yourself.
Without further ado, here are five easy-to make treats that are just great for the summer.
Cold soup might not sound great at first, but once you've had the flavoursome kick of some good gazpacho, wonderful for a lunch in the garden, you won't go back! Gazpacho often has a lip-smackingly tomato and garlic rich flavour. Think of it as a savory smoothie, packed with veg and tastiness.
Shivering on your way to work with a smoothie in hand, desperate to get some vitamins before the day starts – it's not the ideal way to enjoy a fine mix of blended fruits. But a long, fruity smoothie to start off a weekend morning when the weather is delightful out in the garden – well, you'll be having both a healthy and heavenly start to the day!
In summer, when cold dishes are all the more appealing, salads can become a whole meal. We're not talking a few lettuce leaves and dressing, but something exciting with things like ripe avocado, cold chicken and fantastic flavours bringing in extra excitement.
The coffee shops are all starting to push their iced coffee treats our way. But there's no reason why you shouldn't bring the same fun into your kitchen coffee routine. Here in Britain it seems we've only relatively recently been converted to the charms of an iced latte. However you make your coffee, it's easy to add a cool twist to it – simply prepare with cold rather than hot milk and serve over ice. Black iced coffee tastes great too.
Remember that iced tea is also a treat – try making up some nice black tea from quality leaves or bags, and serve sweetened with lemon over ice after cooling to room temperature.
Coleslaw might not seem so exciting when you're used to seeing it so often in the supermarket. But while the ready made stuff is often good, home made coleslaw is a whole other level of exciting. If you're not used to munching this classic salad made in your own home with seeds, fresh veg and a dollop of mayonnaise to taste, be sure to add it to the menu at your next barbecue!