There’s a variety of bagged salads in store, from spinach and rocket to little gem and lamb’s leaf – meaning it’s so easy to make a quick salad. Team rocket with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and Parmesan for an Italian side salad, or match little gem with spicy chicken to make a revamped Caesar salad for dinner. Any salad can be jazzed up with a tangy dressing – all you need is olive oil, a vinegar of your choice (balsamic, cider or red wine vinegar are all good) and some freshly ground black pepper. To make it even easier, you could just pick up a bottle of ready-made salad dressing from the Co-op.
If you’re stuck for ideas, visit this site throughout August for our favourite summer salad recipes!
This salad is a real centrepiece – it looks amazing, but because of the cooked prawns and bagged salad, it’s really easy to put together. Most of the ingredients are just store cupboard essentials, so you could whip this up in no time. The chilli and lime make it especially vibrant, and it’s perfect for a lazy dinner on those hotter days. Mix it up to please everyone, swapping the prawns for cooked chicken, or cubes of feta to make it vegetarian. Either way, this salad is a tasty, summery meal.
Enjoy tasty summery flavours the next morning too, with our summer berry smoothie – here’s our how-to video…
To serve, 2 limes, cut into wedges, and lots of fresh crusty bread
Scatter the salad leaves over a large platter or tray. Peel and slice the avocados then place in a bowl and squeeze the lime juice over them.
Cut thin strips of cucumber using a peeler then scatter the avocado and cucumber over the top of the leaves.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan or wok, add the chopped garlic and chilli flakes and gently soften for a few minutes. Turn up the heat, add the cooked prawns and cook for just a couple of minutes.
Scatter the prawns over the salad and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle with the chopped coriander leaves, if using. Serve with lime wedges and lots of fresh crusty bread.
Ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to help you cool down on hot summer days, and what better way to enjoy it than in retro sandwich form?! If you’ve been put off making your own ice cream before because you thought it was difficult and takes hours of churning – you’ll be surprised how easy this recipe is. In fact, it’s so easy you can let the kids take over, and with our video helping you along the way, you’ll soon see why. With only five ingredients (yes, seriously: raspberries, raspberry jam, double cream, condensed milk and biscuits), you could even stop by the Co-op after work to pick up anything you don’t already have. When you’ve made this ice cream once, you’ll be hooked, I can guarantee it!
Line a loaf tin (about 23x13 cm) or other container with clingfilm. This will make it easy to turn out the ice cream and cut it into slices when making your sandwiches. Then, put the raspberries into a big bowl and mash them with a potato masher.
Spoon the raspberry jam into the bowl with your mashed raspberries. Then mash them together with the potato masher and keep mashing for a couple of minutes until the jam and raspberries are mixed together really well.
Pour the cream into another big bowl. Whisk the cream until you have stiff peaks. You can tell by lifting the whisk out – the cream will form a mountain shape.
Pour the condensed milk over the thick cream and carefully mix them together with a spoon. Pour in half of the mashed raspberries and stir them in gently – you want the ice cream to be white with pink ripples, not all pink.
Spoon half of the mixture into the loaf tin or container, then spoon the remaining mashed raspberries over the top. Spoon the rest of the cream mixture on top of the raspberries and then freeze for at least 5 hours, or until frozen.
To make your sandwiches, turn the ice cream out of the tin and peel off the clingfilm. Cut a thick slice of the ice cream and then cut this slice into 3 little pieces. Sandwich each piece of the ice cream between 2 of the malted milk biscuits.
We love recipes that can be changed to suit you – whether it’s according to what you happen to have in the fridge or the amount of time you have available – and this one definitely fits the bill. If you’re entertaining and want to impress your friends you can make the pastry from scratch, or if you’re in a hurry you could nip to the Co-op and buy a ready-made pastry case (shh, we won’t tell!). Perfect for lunch or dinner, it’s great served with a simple salad on the side. The pea and bacon combo is so tasty, especially if you use fresh seasonal peas!
Speaking of fresh veg, here’s our how-to video on preparing broad beans.
For the pastry
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan 170˚C/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm round tart tin. Put the flour into a bowl and rub the margarine into it to make fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and bring together into a dough.
Roll out the pastry and use to line the tin. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 15 minutes. Cover with baking paper and baking beans or rice and bake blind for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile put the bacon on a tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 5 more minutes.
Cook the shallot in the butter for 5 minutes or until soft, add the stock and two-thirds of the peas and simmer for a few minutes.
Purée in a food blender or processor or mash with a potato masher.
Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions for a few minutes. Put the pea purée into a bowl, add the onions, eggs and milk, and mix together.
Spoon into the tin, scatter over the bacon, peas and mint or basil, if using, and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
I’d make this loaf as the star of any picnic, slicing it up into smaller pieces for everyone to help themselves. The best thing about this recipe is that you can fill it with whatever you like. Mix it up with different layers of meat, cheese and seasonal grilled veg - there’s bound to be something that everyone likes. Swap the courgette for grilled aubergine, or the mozzarella for goat’s cheese or cheddar - the flavour combos are endless! It’s also so easy to make – just grab the fillings and a crusty loaf from in store, and watch our video to see how it’s done.
Preheat the grill to very hot, halve and deseed the peppers. Place on a baking tray and grill until the skins turn black. Meanwhile, put the courgette onto another baking tray and grill alongside, until just cooked. Put the peppers into a plastic bag and peel away the skins.
Cut the lid off the loaf and pull out the middle – leave a good crust so that it will stay crisp once the loaf is filled. Start layering all the ingredients inside with basil leaves dotted through the layers. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Replace lid, wrap in greaseproof and baking paper and tie with string to keep it together or wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for about an hour.