9 Easy Recipes for an Al Fresco Gathering

 

Photography done by Lindy Kriek

1. Avocado Ranch Dip

This is such an easy recipe to make. You throw everything in a food processor and blitz. It is a fresh dip that you will love with your crudité platter. It can last for up to two days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe avocado pitted
  • Hand full of fresh parsley
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

2. Butternut Hummus

Ok this might sound a bit strange to some people, but I fell in love with this easy recipe. It is full of warm comforting flavours, I am crazy about the contrast of the warm spices with the fresh cool veggies on the crudité platter. It also is delicious on a chicken wrap.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup steamed butternut
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of Oh Mega’s tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Blitz all the ingredients while adding the olive oil in a thin stream, until everything is smooth and combined.

3. Sweet Potato Crostinis with Cheese, Pear and Thyme

This is a no carb snack that you can impress your guest with this summer, it is easy to make and so yummy. I got this idea from Tuulia and I just change the choice of cheese. Blue cheese is also a very nice combination with the pear.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • Olive oil
  • Cream cheese
  • 1 pear, rinsed
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • Walnuts

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Wash and dry the sweet potato and cut into one centimetre thick slices. Sprinkle some olive oil over and season with salt.
Bake for 15 min on each side.
Let it cool completely before you spread the cream cheese on top.
Assemble the pears, walnuts and thyme on top of the sweet potato slices.

4. Grilled Peach and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Caramelised Onions

Pork and any sweet fruit goes so well together, weather it is apples, peaches, pears or grapes, you can make so many different versions of this salad. I go the easy way and make sure these ingredients are always in my pantry, for those unforeseen get together’s. You can whip this delicious salad together in minutes. Grab your ingredients in your pantry and a fruit out of your fruit bowl and voila!! Alfresco galore.

Ingredients:

  • Jar of caramelized onions
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 4 peaches, sliced in half and pits removed
  • Olive oil
  • 1 packet of rocket and watercress
  • 6 balls buffalo mozzarella
  • Almonds (optional)

Method:

To grill the peaches, heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the cut halves lightly with olive oil, then place cut side down and let sizzle until browned or charred to your liking.
Assemble the salad. First start with your rocket and watercress, peaches, caramelized onions, mozzarella and end it off with the balsamic glaze and almonds.
Serve with a tender, crispy pork belly.

5. Crispy Pork Belly

I have tried many different pork belly recipes, but this one is the best for me. It is easy only two ingredients and shines every time on the table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg pork belly, trimmed and scored
  • 1 handful of coarse salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the coarse salt on top of the belly, and bake for 70 minutes. Scrape the access salt off and sprinkle water on the skin and place the pork under the grill to let the cracking blister.

6. Fig Almond Teacake

This recipe was developed one Sunday evening before a big shoot, I love nut butters and had to use it in a cake or a dessert. So this is what come out, my interpretation of a fig almond tea cake. It is so moist and full of flavor. You can use any fruit, I once made it with apples and it was delicious.

Ingredients:

Fruit suryp:

  • 1 cup of dried figs or apples chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 ½ cup of water

Cake:

  • 225g butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup of Oh Mega Almond Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • ½ cup almond butter or peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of almond shavings

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 400g white chocolate
  • 60ml fresh cream

Method:

Bring the figs or apples, sugar and water to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the fruit are soft. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes, before you add it to your batter.

Beat the soft butter and sugar until fluffy, add the eggs one by one and beat until combined.
Add the vanilla and almond butter and milk mix well.
Add the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and almond shavings and mix, but don’t over mix the batter.
Pour the batter into a prepared pan. Bake the cake at 180C for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack, and cool completely.

To make the ganache: Chop the chocolate finely, heat the cream in the microwave for about 40 seconds now add the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. Sometimes it takes a few turs back into the microwave to melt it a bit more. Let the ganache cool and thickens. Spread the ganache over your cake and garnish with your choice of fruit and nuts.

7. Cheesecake Ice Cream

If you know me, you will find out for me it is about making difficult food easy. Here is my cheat ice cream recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 liter good vanilla ice cream
  • 2 tubs of creamed cheese
  • ½ cup of frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

Method:

Place the berries and sugar into a sauce pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Liquidize the berries. Let them cool completely.
In your electric mixer beat the ice cream and cream cheese together until well mixed.
Add the berries a tablespoon at a time until you get the right color that you want, add the lemon juice, mix well.
Put the ice cream into your ice cream maker and let it run for 15 min or put the ice cream after being in the electric mixer back into the freezer and freeze for about 4 hours before serving

8. Plum Cocktail with Apricot Syrup and MCC

Cocktails shout out summer! There are so many different options, I must say this one is one of my favourites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • Slices of fresh plums
  • Rosemary
  • MCC

Method:

Place the apricots, water and sugar into a sauce pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the apricots are soft and the syrup sticky. Let it cool in a glass pour 2 teaspoons of the apricot syrup and top with the MCC.  Garnish with fresh slices of plum and rosemary.

9. Fig and Thyme Gin Cocktail Infused with Rooibos

Figs are so luscious and delicious. Fig and thyme are a great combination, you can use frozen figs if you can’t find fresh ones it works just as good. To put a truly South African spin on things I infused the gin with Rooibos.

Ingredients:

  • Blaawklippen Citrus infused Gin
  • 1 bag of Rooibos tea
  • Figs
  • Thyme

Method:

Infuse the ½ cup of Gin with one bag of Rooibos tea and let it stand for 10 – 15 minutes until you are happy with the colour. Take out the tea bag.
Pour a tot of the citrus infused Gin into a glass with lots of ice and top it of with tonic water.
Add 2 tablespoons of the Rooibos infused Gin, figs and fresh Thyme.

Photography done by Lindy Kriek

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