Make the most of the weather and relax outside with some tasty morsels to sustain you.

Welcome back and a happy New Year. Hopefully everyone has enjoyed a relaxing moment or two under the glorious blue skies and had plenty of cooling swims in the sea or a pool. Personally, I'm feeling inspired by all the wonderful flavours of summer which abound at the moment, and it's the perfect time to invite friends around for an alfresco soiree. A few plates of tasty food matched with long thirst-quenching drinks make for the ideal way to spend an afternoon.

The first recipe takes its inspiration from sweet tomatoes which are in abundance at the moment. Slow cook them with spicy chorizo and sweet currants before adding a dash of sherry and fresh oregano with a glug of good extra virgin olive oil to make a delicious salad. Serve with crusty bread and a tall glass of sangria - the chilled refreshing fruity red wine infusion loved in Spain and perfect in hot weather.

Buffalo milk makes the creamiest, most delicious yoghurt, especially when flavoured with zesty lemon or vanilla bean. Spoon on to small shortbread biscuits then top with raspberries for a sweet mouthful, and serve with iced tea.

Summer isn't summer without a seafood fritter of some description. We dug for tuatuas with our toes at Cooks Beach. Chopped and quickly mixed with a little onion, some parsley, a yolk plus beaten egg white, salt and pepper, and then cooked in a frypan on the barbie with a little butter all in full view of the beautiful sea - this could have been the best fritter experience ever.

I love the flavour of pipis and if you are able to find some, chop them up and make fritters, just small enough to pop into your mouth while socialising. You can use mussels instead or as well if you prefer. Separate the eggs, lightly mix and don't add too much flour or they become heavy. A small pickled lebanese cucumber is a good piquant addition. Serve with chilled glasses of vodka, cucumber, mint and soda.

Chef's tips

Buffalo yoghurt is available at Clevedon Market and gourmet food stores.

Soak pipis in a bowl of water with a handful of rolled oats thrown in - this will encourage the pipis to spit out the sand so there is no grit in the fritters.