The weather remains perfect for picnics and barbecues, so make the most of it with an easy weeknight meal, served outdoors. Meatballs and flatbreads, an unexpected burger, and an easy pizza are all perfect candidates for a midweek al fresco treat.
Spiced lamb meatball and salad flatbreads
Plump, juicy and spice-packed lamb meatballs are piled onto warm flatbreads along with all the extras. This was the dish team's favourite on our photo shoot day.
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons ras el hanout or Moroccan spice mix (don't skimp on this measure)
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
finely grated zest 1 lemon
400 grams lamb mince
400 grams lamb sausages, skins removed
2 spring onions, green and white parts, finely chopped
¼ cup currants, finely chopped
sea salt and ground pepper
4 large flatbreads, warmed
1 cup hummus
1 cup thick plain yoghurt
1 small telegraph cucumber, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced or quick-pickled red onions (see Cook's note)
100 grams feta, crumbled
pomegranate molasses for drizzling
coriander and mint leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.
2. Put the breadcrumbs, milk, egg, spices, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz. Add the mince, sausages, spring onions and currants and season generously with salt and pepper. Pulse to combine but don't overmix or it will be too smooth.
3. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and place on a lightly greased oven tray. You should have about 18. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes, turning once during cooking, or until cooked through.
To serve: Top the flatbreads with hummus and yoghurt, meatballs, cucumber, red onion and crumbled feta. Drizzle with a little pomegranate molasses and top with the herbs.
Cook's note: Toss 1 thinly sliced red onion with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, a pinch of sugar and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Set aside to let the onions soften and turn pink.
Chorizo and garlic prawn burgers
Combining fresh chorizo sausage with a good pork sausage makes for a less dense burger patty that is still packed with fabulous flavours. Add garlicky prawns and a spicy mayo and this epic burger will have you licking your fingers.
400 grams fresh chorizo sausages, skins removed
400 grams good pork sausages, skins removed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
sea salt and ground pepper
12 large raw, peeled prawns
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons American mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
To cook and assemble
oil for cooking
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 burger buns, halved, toasted and buttered
watercress or rocket
Burgers: Mix everything together until well combined. Form into 4 burgers slightly larger than the buns as they will shrink during cooking.
Prawns: Cut the prawns in half to give you two thinner halves or leave them whole if using smaller prawns. Toss with the oil and garlic then cover and chill.
Mayo: Stir everything together in a bowl then set aside.
To cook and assemble: Heat a little oil in a sauté pan over a high heat. Season the prawns, tip into the pan and cook until pink. Take out, cover, and set aside.
Wipe out the pan and heat a little more oil over a medium heat. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes then turn over and top with the mozzarella. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted and the burgers are fully cooked through.
To serve: Spread the buns with the mayo and layer up with the remaining ingredients.
Fresh fennel, salami and chilli pizza
A hit of aniseed from the fennel pairs beautifully with a good salami, a kick of chilli and rich molten cheese.
1 portion pizza dough (see below), rolled out
½ cup thick tomato pasta sauce
80 grams thinly sliced salami
1 small fennel bulb, top trimmed, fronds reserved, sliced
100 grams melting cheese, such as stracchino, mozzarella or fontina
chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli
2 cups high-grade flour
1½ teaspoons instant dried yeast
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar
225ml warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 225°C fan bake. Place a heavy flat baking tray in to preheat.
2. Brush the dough with a little olive oil then spread with the tomato sauce, leaving a border around the edge. Lay the salami over the top. Toss the fennel slices with a little olive oil and arrange on top then dot over the cheese. Slide the pizza, still on the paper, onto the hot baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes, or until puffed and golden, turning for even browning if necessary.
3. Scatter over chilli flakes to taste then the reserved fennel fronds, if desired. Serve immediately.
1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Tip in the combined water and oil and bring together to make a soft shaggy dough. Tip onto a lightly floured bench and bring together with your hands. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
2. Place in a large, oiled bowl and turn the dough to lightly coat in the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a draught-free place for 1½-2 hours to double in size.
3. When the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and divide in half.
4. Dust with flour then place on a sheet of baking paper and roll out or flatten the dough with your fingers to the desired shape.
Cook's note: This dough makes two pizzas and can be made 2 days ahead of using. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate after the initial kneading or divide between 2 large sealable plastic bags. Use straight from the fridge when ready to assemble and cook. If only making 1 pizza, freeze the other half of the dough in a plastic bag for another day.
- Recipes by Claire Aldous
Find more great recipes at dish.co.nz