How to cook great summer meals at home and everything you’ll need to get started.
“There’s no better way to welcome the warm weather than a garden party with family and friends,” says Tina Barkway, of Aldiss Department Store in Norfolk. “This season is the perfect time to put your cooking skills to the test, try new recipes and make the most of outdoor dining.”
Below, Tina shares her favorite summer BBQ chicken and asparagus salad recipe, along with the kitchen staples you’ll need to make it.
1. Herb scissors
“The secret to good summer cooking is to make the dishes fragrant and refreshing,” says Tina. “The easiest way to do this is to use fresh herbs like basil, chives, and lemongrass.”
“One of my favorite gadgets is a pair of scissors. You can finely chop herbs to sprinkle over pasta dishes, salads and chicken.
“The scissors are light, thin and easy to use,” adds Tina. “The included brush makes cleaning effortless, which comes in handy when preparing a variety of herbs.”
2. Salter Electronic Scale
Useful for both baking and cooking, an electronic scale can ensure pinpoint accuracy, allowing you to tackle more complicated recipes with ease.
“You can save on dishes by considering multiple ingredients in the same bowl,” says Tina. “The scale is simple to use and takes up little space on your counter. This is ideal for efficient food preparation.
3. Kilner Storage Jars
Summer is the best time to keep busy in the garden. If you grow fruits and vegetables, you can use them to create delicious jams, chutneys and marinades, adding flavor to your breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes.
“You can store your marinades in a kiln pot to ensure they last longer and retain their bold flavor,” suggests Tina.
4. Judge the stainless steel three-tier steamer
“Fresh vegetables make the best side dishes for summer dinners,” adds Tina.
Using a three-level steamer makes it possible to prepare multiple vegetable side dishes at once, healthily, and without taking up the entire stovetop.
“The steamer works on all hobs and is dishwasher safe,” reveals Tina. “The double-sided handles make it easy to move each pile and the bottom of the bowl has a thermal bottom that can be used as a bain-marie to perfectly steam the asparagus.”
5. Utensils from the KitchenAid range
One of the most important steps for any budding home cook is to have a well-equipped kitchen.
“Check out the new KitchenAid Range to find all the essential utensils, including spatulas, gourmet knife blocks and colanders, you need to try new dishes,” says Tina. “Additions like a mini digital timer and prep bowls you spill out to bring recipes to life.”
6. Soft sheets from the Sophie Allport Hare set
It is also important to stay safe in the kitchen.
“You can find matching oven mitts, pot handles, hob covers and aprons in the Sophie Allport Range,” says Tina. “The quaint hare and bee designs will add a touch of elegance to your kitchen decor.
For a gorgeous outdoor dining table, you can find napkins and table runners in the same print.
“Each piece is machine washable at 30 degrees, so it’s easy to keep your laundry fresh,” adds Tina.
7. Pieces from the Mary Berry Signature Collection
Food should not only taste good, but also be appetizing.
“We eat with our eyes, so finding a beautiful place to serve your food on can only make your meal better,” says Tina. “The delicate and sophisticated Mary Berry Signature Dinnerware Set is perfect for everyday use and special occasions.
“The elegant flower and bird design accessories add natural charm to your home and will provide you with all the pieces you need to throw a stunning summer feast.”
8. Mason Cash Heirloom Cake Pans
“A silky sponge cake is a great way to round out your outdoor menu and is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser,” says Tina. “Two of my favorite dishes to cook in the summer are Strawberry Sponge or Lemon Elderflower Cake.”
To ensure your baking stays fresh and moist, store it in a Mason Cash Heirloom Cake Pan. The heavy-duty set includes a six-liter and four-liter box, to fit small and large desserts.
To outfit your kitchen in time for summer, visit aldiss.com or stop into one of Aldiss’ Norwich or Fakenham stores.