While there’s always a certain thrill involved in finding a wonderful new restaurant, there are also other fantastic ways to enjoy great food during the summer season. During the summer, with the weather warming up and the sun staying up longer, many people like to attend outdoor events which allow us to enjoy a picnic or barbecue.
Of course, sometimes these events are already established, and you are able to just go and enjoy the food, drink and company. However, sometimes, it’s nice to put your own al fresco fare together too. It’s easy enough to pop into Marks and Spencer for a few nice bottles of summer wine and a few fresh ingredients to organize your own picnic or barbecue – so we’ve collected a few recipe ideas for you to consider.
Here are 5 particularly fitting ideas for outdoor cooking, summer weather, and good company.
1. Portobello Burgers
If you’re going to be hosting an outdoor dinner event and cooking with a barbecue grill, you’ll have plenty of options. But for a nice summery twist a portobello burger is a great option. Hearty meals are always appreciated, but lighter options can go down a treat in warmer weather and a portobello mushroom with a little chopped garlic and a drizzle of olive oil makes a great tasty burger and is easy to manage for a large group.
2. Grilled Tacos
Tacos are some of the easiest food options for large groups, and are absolutely perfect for outdoor summer dining. Simply barbecue your choice of meat or fish and provide enough interesting toppings to allow your guests to make up their own tacos. In particular a few light citrus sauces and toppings such as shredded lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes are likely to be popular.
Another incredibly simple but delicious option for summer dining is a grilled kebab. One of the great things about serving up kebabs is that they work beautifully for both vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Serve up skewers with peppers, mushrooms, courgettes and tomatoes, and/or chunks of meat on them, and you’ll have plenty of easy, delicious food to please your guests. Have a few few sauce options and some warm pitta on hand and the meal is sorted!
4. Lettuce Wraps
If you want to serve up food and leave assembly entirely to your guests, lettuce wraps can be perfect. An array of cooked meats, tofu, chopped vegetables, spices and sauces – and in some cases, even nuts – will provide just about any toppings your guests could want. Lettuce wraps are a bit of work, which many people appreciate during communal, outdoor dining experiences, as it can be great fun and heightens the social atmosphere.
5. Salads With Fruit
Finally, for the simplest option of all, offer up a well-conceived salad with fresh summer fruit and vegetables. There’s scope to make it as exciting as you like by adding a good range of ingredients from meat or fish, to cooked grains such as tabbouleh or quinoa or even a few fresh berries or some chopped citrus to give the salad a unique and summery feel.
The Good Food Guide has today announced the ten regional winners in its prestigious The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year Awards.
The Readers’ Restaurant of the Year Awards call on the public to nominate their favourites and this year there was a vigorous response from the UK’s food lovers, with a record 44,500 people nominating independenty-run restaurants, pubs and cafes from around the UK. The Good Food Guide award judges have sifted through all the nominations to pick the regional winners and celebrate some of the best dining experiences around the country.
This year’s ten regional winners are:
– East of England – Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
– London – Charlotte’s Place, Ealing
– Midlands – The Bluebell, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire
– North East – Van Zeller, Harrogate
– North West – Grenache, Walkden, Manchester
– Northern Ireland – Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast
– Scotland – Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow
– South East – Jeremy’s Restaurant, Haywards Heath, W Sussex
– South West – The Swan, Wedmore, Somerset
– Wales – Y Polyn, Carmarthen
Elizabeth Carter, Consultant Editor of The Good Food Guide, said: ‘This year’s regional winners in The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year awards really are a stellar bunch. Each restaurant is testament to the great dining scene around the UK and we heartily congratulate them all. Of course, what makes these awards so special is that they are based on feedback from The Good Food Guide readers – the people who are out there eating and enjoying food every day – what higher compliment could there be?’
To qualify for these esteemed awards – intended to champion local neighbourhood eateries – restaurants needed to be independently run and offer regional or local produce where possible. One of the regional winners will now go on to be named the overall winner, claiming the esteemed award of The Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year 2013 and and this announcement will be made at an award ceremony in London on 20th June 2012.
All ten regional winners will appear in The Good Food Guide 2013 which publishes on 10th September 2012.