Catering to a busy season

The season provides the best of ingredients but there is no time for mucking around.

The holidays roll on despite the crazy weather. There is plenty to do, though, with friends popping in, lawns to be mowed and jam to be made, so by the time you sneak in the odd road trip, cooking is often the last thing on your mind.

Here are a couple of suggestions to keep the motor running while you are on the go.

Roast beetroot, poached eggs, dukkah and tahini yoghurt is a great way to start any day. Whether it's a late breakfast or early lunch this is really satisfying and will set you up for the rest of the day.

Barbecued fish tortillas with sweetcorn, avocado and chilli yoghurt is another express way to happiness.

I have included the recipe for the tortillas but you can easily speed things up and use bought ones if you are short of time or on the road. Just fire up the barbie and you are good to go.

And if you are at a bit of a loss for a summer dessert or looking for a bit of a cooling flavour hit, homemade peach and vodka sorbet is totally the way forward.

Refreshing and unctuous, this will be your go-to recipe for years to come. Even better, it works well with most other berries and stone fruit so just go with what's on hand.

Enough talking, summer is calling. Happy eating.

Photos by Emma Willetts.
Photos by Emma Willetts.
Roast beetroot, soft poached eggs, dukkah and tahini yoghurt dressing

Serves 2

6 small or 2 medium beetroot, washed
50ml olive oil
salt and pepper
2-3 stalks cavolo nero or kale
4 fresh room temperature free-range eggs
½ cup tahini yoghurt dressing
2-3 Tbsp dukkah
2 Tbsp roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Extra virgin olive oil

Boil beetroot until soft and tender. Preferably allow the beetroot to cool in the cooking liquor before removing the skin and slicing them into rounds.

Place a medium-sized pot of water on high heat and bring to a simmer. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the beetroot to the frying pan, season lightly and colour on both sides.

Meanwhile, strip the cavolo nero from its central stem and briefly blanch in the pot of water before removing, squeezing out excess water, and setting to one side.

Next, poach the eggs in simmering water until set but still satisfyingly soft.

Divide beetroot and greens between two plates. Drain eggs and place on top.

Generously spoon on the tahini yoghurt and finish with the dukkah, roasted seeds and extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

¾ cup roasted hazelnuts, skins removed
⅓ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup coriander seeds
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Coarsely grind all ingredients in a mortar or a food processor before placing on to a baking tray and lightly roasting until the spices become fragrant. Remove from oven, allow to cool and store in an airtight container. Use within 2-3 weeks.

¼ tsp salt
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp tahini paste
½ cup natural yoghurt
1 tsp lemon juice

Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, crush the salt and garlic with a mortar and pestle, add tahini paste and then muddle in the yoghurt and lemon juice. Tahini yoghurt will keep happily in the refrigerator for up to a week.

BBQ fresh flour tortillas with sole, sweetcorn, avocado and chilli yoghurt

Serves 2 as a main

1 large cob sweetcorn
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
300gm sole fillet
2 medium-sized ripe avocadoes
¼ small red onion, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely chopped
2 cups salad greens
1 cup natural yoghurt
2 Tbsp Sriracha chilli sauce
8 fresh flour tortillas
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 lemon, quartered

Preheat barbecue.

Remove the husk from the corncob and cut the corn kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Heat half the olive oil on the hotplate and cook the corn for a couple of minutes with a touch of salt and pepper, until tender and cooked. Remove corn from heat and reserve.

Wipe clean barbecue plate, lightly season the fish and cook on barbecue using the remaining olive oil. Remove fish from heat and reserve.

Wipe clean the barbecue plate again. Halve the avocados and remove the skins and pits, then roughly chop. Set avocado to one side. Toss the salad ingredients together and mix the yoghurt and chilli sauce together.

Place two or three tortillas on the dry hotplate of the barbecue and turn them over once the first side has blistered and coloured nicely. They will cook quickly and take only a few seconds each side, so don't wander off (and have some tongs handy).

Spread out the cooked tortillas on a large serving platter or plates as required. Divide the fish between each tortilla and top with salad, avocado, corn, chilli and chilli yoghurt. Serve with lemon quarters and get stuck in.

2 cups plain flour
1 cup milk
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and lightly knead until a smooth dough is formed. Wrap in plastic cling wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.

Divide dough into eight equal-sized pieces and roll each piece into a ball then flatten with the palm of your hand.

Dust your bench well with flour and proceed to roll out each tortilla. Dust the tortillas well during the process so they don't stick to your rolling pin.

Roll each tortilla out in 3 stages so the dough can relax between each stage as you roll out the other pieces of dough. This will make it easier to get them really thin, rather than trying to roll each piece of dough out fully in one go.

The tortillas need to be about 1-2mm thick and 16-18cm wide.

Stack them up on top of each other on a side plate with a square of baking paper separating each tortilla (so they don't stick to each other). Fresh tortillas are best eaten cooked on the day they were made and as soon as they are cooked.

Peach and vodka sorbet

Makes 700g

5 medium-sized ripe peaches
½ cup caster sugar
¼ lemon, seeds removed
3-4 Tbsp vodka

Halve peaches, remove the stones and roughly chop up the peaches into 1cm pieces. Place peach flesh on to a baking-paper-lined tray and freeze.

Once peaches are frozen, place the sugar and lemon into a food processor and blitz together until the lemon has combined with the sugar.

With the motor still running gradually add the frozen peach pieces. Add the vodka and continue to process until you have a smooth frozen-peach puree.

Spoon into a suitable container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. Best eaten within a couple of weeks.

-By Bevan Smith

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