Easy Recipes to Sip and Savour this Summer

Wow. That was one heat wave. I hope everyone and their bonsai tree(s) stayed hydrated. I made sure to water mine daily and kept an eye on all of my other plants. I’m also not a fan of air conditioning but this time around, I had to turn it on. So, I thought why not share some recipes that are perfect for the summer heat and which are easy and great additions to any barbecue dinner party or picnic. Let me know if you tried any of these recipes or send in your photos for the next newsletter. If you like the recipes I’ll keep them coming!

Peach-Basil Sangria
My daughter-in-law made this one up and I had to share it. It’s absolutely delicious and dangerous – don’t drink them too fast. It’s also easy to adjust if you’re missing any ingredients.
2 peaches per bottle of wine
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
Orange juice
Soda water (or just water depending on how bubbly you like it)
Fresh Basil
White wine (pinot grigio or chardonnays are perfect)
Put the wine in the fridge.
Clean and slice up the peaches into wedges.
Put a pot on medium to medium-high heat with one cup of water and the sugar.
Place the peaches into the pot and let them boil! Get them hot and melty but don’t let them burn or disintegrate. I don’t actually have a time for this, you’ll have to keep an eye on it until the peaches soften and there is a nice peach syrup. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes depending.
Chop up the fresh basil.
In a pitcher or a container or a bowl, pour the white wine in and add a half cup of orange juice. (Orange juice isn’t 100% required but adds a nice little kick)
Then add in the peach syrup and peaches.
Add in the chopped basil and stir.
Serve it up and enjoy!
* you can also add Cointreau if you’d like to up the booze factor
* thyme is also a nice herb if you’re basil-averse

Oven Dried Tomato Bites
A great salad requires a lot of things. Dressing. Salt. Pepper. Fresh Veggies. That’s no particular order. I also love mixing up the texture. There’s nothing like nuts or cheese in a salad – but there has to be some praise for the wonderfully chewy texture of things like raisins (but who really likes raisins?) or dried cranberries. My alternative? These oven dried tomato bites! I love these things and I eat them like candy.

You’ll need cherry tomatoes for these beauties.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Wash and pat the tomatoes dry, then slice them in half at the equator.
Place as many as you can onto a large cookie sheet and pop them in. Check on them every 30 minutes!
Ideally before they burn, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet.
Drop them into a pint-sized mason jar and top them with olive oil. Refrigerate them and add to salads (or eat a lá carte if you prefer).

Watermelon Salad
The first time I had this was at a Mexican restaurant and I was surprised by how the savoury flavours of the balsamic and feta complimented the sweet watermelon. The texture was lovely as well.
1 baby watermelon or half of a big watermelon
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
A small cucumber or half of a regular cucumber chopped up
Fresh mint to taste
Fresh basil to taste
Pine nuts/cashews for an optional topping
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. pure honey or sugar/sweetener/agave nectar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Crumbled feta

For the dressing:
You can throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor or you can throw them into a container and give it a really good shake. Whatever works, right? Save the dressing until just before serving the salad as it will get soggy.
For the salad:
Cube the watermelon, or cut it up in an aesthetically pleasing manner – triangles, wedges, circles, you can be really creative with this salad! Add the cut-up cucumbers and the red onion. The red onion can be finely chopped or sliced, it depends on what you or your guests enjoy. I find people like them thinly sliced because the dressing and watermelon soaks in and they give a nice bite!
Add half of the dressing to this.
Crumble the feta on top.
Add the rest of the dressing (or if you want to do light dressing you can add it on to taste)
Serve and enjoy!