Invite your friends over for some simple and tasty summer fare

You and a group of friends all have a day off work. Perhaps you usually meet at a local cafe every so often to celebrate life in the fast lane, a birthday, or maybe you don't even need an excuse - it's just what you do. While the sun is still shining, let us not forget to entertain our friends at home, in the garden, under the umbrella. Let's make it easy to prepare and deliciously tasty with not too much fuss.

Bruschetta can come with myriad toppings, from tomato, pesto and mozzarella, to blue cheese, lamb and salad leaves, or simple hummus. Here, I've gone for smoked salmon, with gherkin for a bit of sharpness, on top of sour cream and with dill chopped through. It's a splendid combination that is quick to prepare, looks colourful and can be eaten with your fingers with the first glass of bubbles. Alternatively, you could serve this on baby cos leaves.

I couldn't wait to share with you my roast vegetable terrine recipe. A friend recently complained he couldn't keep up with eating the basil growing in his garden. Other than suggesting pesto served in every way, this is another way to use those fragrant leaves. Don't be put off by the preparation; it is a little fiddly but worth the effort.

Today I have roasted the vegetables on the barbecue for extra flavour, but this can also be done in the oven.


Prepare the terrine a day or two in advance, and then on the day all you need to do is unveil it and slice.

This, too, is a colourful offering of summer's finest. As you eat through the layers every vegetable has its own flavour, combined with a hint of basil.

With lemons in the fruit bowl, dessert is never far away. Hot lemon souffle can wait until winter, but now it is lemon tart which I churn out in my kitchen - perfect for so many occasions.

They are simple yet feel special, and are a wonderful finish to a meal. You could make one large tart but, for easy plating, and when your lunch is in full swing, individual tarts are quick to serve and very impressive.

A few berries or some poached fruit on the side and you will be competing with the cafe up the road.

The key here is not to overcook the tart. Be sure to remove from the oven when just set.

Chef's Tip

Always zest your lemons before squeezing, to make the process easier.


Gherkin and salmon bruschetta with rocket
Roast vegetable terrine
Individual lemon tarts
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