Keep your cool with sunny summer menus

As businesses start to emerge out of lockdown, it’s time to mix up your menus and make the most of the bounty of in-season ingredients that are available at this time of year. For those businesses yet
to open their doors to the public, delivery and takeaway options remain vital income streams, but how can they stand out from the crowd to attract custom? With elderly people more at risk of dehydration during the hotter months, care caterers need to be mindful of incorporating vital nutrients into their dishes.

Here, several chefs and industry experts share their thoughts…

Justine Murphy
author, The mymuybueno Cookbook
Rainbow rolls are a stunning dish for the summer, and I serve mine with an almond butter dipping sauce. First, submerge a rice paper sheet in cold water for 30 seconds then place on a damp tea towel. Place a few mint or coriander leaves in a single layer in the centre of the sheet, then add two prawns, a pile of sliced vegetables of your choice, and some mango on the lower half of the sheet. Fold in the sides and roll up to enclose the filling. Cover with a damp tea towel until serving.

Sophie Murray
deputy national chair of NACC
Protein is especially important with exercise to maintain muscle strength and aid recovery from illness. It’s suggested we need 20g in a portion, which is the equivalent to a palm-sized chicken, fish portion or three eggs. Packing nutrition into menus really is important in a care setting, especially as older people may absorb less from their food. Summer brings great berries, rich in antioxidants and many salads that have an array of health benefits. Beetroot, spinach and cold cooked vegetables make great salads, mixed with herbs plus a homemade French dressing can enhance nutrition easily. The oils support weight maintenance too.

Robin Moxon 
founder, Next Door fish restaurant, East Dulwich
For a tasty twist on the classic brunch dish kedgeree use smoked mackerel instead of smoked haddock. The oilier nature of this fish results in a slightly richer and more intensely perfumed dish, and to counterbalance that it is served alongside a hot and sharp-tasting tamarind sauce and a cooling yoghurt. This is a superb dish to present to a table for a summer brunch and allowing people to accessorise the dish by serving extra condiments and garnishes in the middle of the table results in an enjoyable and personal experience for everybody. For the full recipe, visit

Marianne Lumb
TV and private chef
Do not be afraid of game! Life in the wild is exactly what all of our food species evolved for, and the wild cousin of our domesticated species is so often the tastier. As the sport has eclipsed the prey, many species are very easy and cheap to get hold of too. I’d recommend starting with pheasant, from a good game dealer, friend or market. Mix it up and try it as a replacement for chicken. One of my favourites is to take the breast and pound it to even thickness. Then pané it in egg, flour and crumbs and make a schnitzel. This will cook quickly and you can serve it with a buttermilk and herb dressing, or with a hot chicken jus finished with lime and capers.

Barny MacAdam
taste creator, Santa Maria Foodservice, UK and Ireland
For me it is all about flavour and spice! The right flavour pairing can turn everyday vegetables into the tastiest dishes. Take the humble carrot, with a larder full of seasoning you can transform this vegetable into a variety of different dishes on your menu. Pickle carrots and onions for a tangy burger side, grate it up for kimchi, coat it with Chimichurri and BBQ for a sweet, smoky herby flavour or cook it off with spices for a curried carrot soup. Spices, seasonings and blends are a cost-effective way to transform ingredients. They have a long shelf life and, by adopting varied cooking methods, you can create different tastes and textures as well as promote menu rotations, keeping everything fresh and interesting for your consumers.

Sue Cawthray

national chair of NACC
Keeping residents hydrated is vital all year round but especially during the summer months. It’s important to offer a variety of drinks throughout the day, and for those that can help themselves an easily accessible drinks station with a range of options, from water and teas to juices and smoothies, will encourage residents to drink. There are also creative and tasty ways to get fluids into people. You can offer food with a high-water content, such as salads and summer fruits, as well as jellies, sorbets and ice lollies. Why not get your residents involved and making their own ice lollies to enjoy later in the day?

Helen Hyde
business unit manager, Tabasco
Increased focus on delivery and takeaway calls for simple solutions. An easy way to differentiate from your competitors is to develop a signature condiment or dip to offer alongside your takeaway and delivery menu. How about Mississippi Muddy Mayo, Smoky Louisiana BBQ, Spicy Mayo or Smoke ‘n’ Spice Salsa? Lift your houmous with chipotle smokiness and add zing to your guacamole with Tabasco Green sauce.

Annette Coggins
head of foodservice,Tilda UK
The warmer weather means many consumers will be looking for lighter options, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to dial down your dishes. With an abundance of fresh ingredients available, vibrant summer salads really come into their own. Get creative with colours, seasonings and texture and go beyond boring green salads. Speciality rice can really add that extra dimension of flavour and interest, as well as leaving consumers feeling satisfied for longer. We love Tilda Basmati and Wild for summer salads, with its unique, aromatic taste, nutty textures and unusual black grains it’ll bring the wow factor to any dish. Our Basmati & Wild Saffron Cauliflower & Honey Roasted Pear Salad is a perfect example of how Tilda Basmati & Wild complements both the savoury and sweet flavours.

Craig Brayshaw
commercial director of Eurilait
For operators adjusting to a new way of working and seeking innovative takeaway ideas, try offering a range of BBQ foods. Eurilait have experienced growth in demand for hot eating cheese as tasty ‘hero’ ingredients and offer a range of innovative cheese steaks and sausages for cooking on the grill, that are simple to prepare and ready in no time at all – perfect for pre-order menus. Also available are a range of baking camemberts that are ideal cooked on the griddle. You can make them up as meal kits for customers to takeaway, with various toppings added, so they can bake at home on the BBQ for something tasty and completely different. Check out these top topping combos; bacon and pickled chestnuts, bacon-wrapped breadsticks, sundried tomatoes and olives, figs & pistachios or truffle and wild mushroom.

Joe Coulter AND Ben MacAndrews
co-founders, vegan ready meal company PEP Kitchen
Our vegan version of the classic Brazilian dish ‘Feijoada’, which is traditionally cooked with beef or pork, is perfect for the summer months. Quick to prepare, it’s a great dish for feeding a crowd, using inexpensive plant-based ingredients such as black beans, onions, carrots, celery and leeks. Smoked paprika, tomato puree and chipotle paste add some deep, savoury notes to this comforting dish. Brightened up with fresh bursts of zesty orange, it’s a vibrant and welcome addition to any summer table. Serve with sweet potato mash and steamed greens. For the full recipe, visit