End the long weekend in style with a summer feast that’s made to share.

Family feasting is the perfect way to finish off a long weekend. Start in the afternoon and continue well into the evening - hopefully basking in the sun. These meals are designed to be part of a shared meal, with everyone helping themselves from big dishes.

Spaghetti with chorizo and clams

Fresh clams are readily available and super-easy to cook - they basically just need to be steamed open. It's traditional to have them with spaghetti, and the chorizo adds that extra kick.

Serves 4-6

400g dried spaghetti
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 good quality Spanish chorizo (about 50-60g), chopped in small chunks
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
About 1kg fresh clams (I used Cloudy Bay clams), rinsed
Generous splash white wine
Zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges, to serve
Fresh parsley, to garnish


1 Cook spaghetti in plenty of salted, boiling water until al dente.

2 In a large frying pan or wok (one that has a lid), heat the butter and olive oil on a medium-high heat. Add the chorizo, garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes until the chorizo is fragrant and the cherry tomatoes start to blister.

3 Add the clams and the wine. Stir them around, and then cover with the lid. Cook for about five-six minutes until the clams have been steamed open.

4 Add the spaghetti to the pan and garnish with lemon zest and parsley. Serve with additional lemon wedges and crusty bread on the side. Put the pan straight on the table or serve in a large dish.

Harissa chicken drumsticks with green couscous salad

This is another easy one - chuck the chicken in the oven, prepare the salad, and you have a meal in half an hour. Some great haarissa pastes are available from supermarkets and specialty food stores.

Harissa chicken drumsticks with green couscous salad. Photo / Dean Purcell
Harissa chicken drumsticks with green couscous salad. Photo / Dean Purcell

Serves 4-6

1kg free-range chicken drumsticks
1 lemon
2 Tbsp harissa paste
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

For the couscous salad
1 cup couscous
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 courgettes, sliced
Pinch chilli flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Small bunch each fresh parsley, basil, mint, roughly chopped
100g feta

1 Heat oven to 180C.

2 Add the chicken drumsticks to a roasting tray. Thinly slice the lemon, skin on, and toss around the tray. Add the harissa and the olive oil and season well with sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper. Toss to combine, then cook for about 25-30 minutes.

3 To make the salad, cook the couscous according to packet instructions. Season with a little sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Cut the courgettes into rounds and stir-fry on a very high heat with the chilli flakes and lemon juice. Add to the couscous with the herbs, lemon zest, and feta. Serve with the chicken.

Simple steak salad with herby dressing

This recipe makes a smaller amount of steak go a long way - at barbecues it's so often unnecessary to have an entire steak with everything else - this recipe takes two decent pieces and slices them to go further.

Serves 4-5

1 cob sweetcorn

½ head iceberg lettuce, finely sliced

1 decent handful mixed salad greens

1 large ripe avocado, chopped in chunks

1 small-medium red onion, thinly sliced

400-500g scotch, rump, or flank steak

(I used Silver Fern Farms flank steak)

1 Cook the sweetcorn in a frying pan or barbecue, allowing it to get slightly charred. Carefully slice the kernels off the cob.

2 Toss the lettuce together with the salad greens. Add the avocado and onion. Gently combine with your hands.

3 Cook the steak until medium rare - either on the barbecue or in a frying pan. Allow to rest before slicing into ½ cm strips.

4 Serve the steak on top of the salad and dress with the dressing belo.

¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
2 Tbsp capers, chopped
Small bunch fresh tarragon, mint, parsley, basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Whisk all ingredients together with a fork and pour over the salad.