Three of our brood are recharging in the nest while the fourth is due back from his distant travels in three weeks time – hoorah, hoorah! Long lazy days are stretching out in front of us, days spent with friends and family, days when we reconnect, days filled with laughter and, of course, days filled with fabulous food!
Meal times in the summer are very mobile – some sleep until noon while others of us are up at the crack of dawn – so breakfast wanders into lunch, wafts into afternoon tea and drifts into dinner. Luckily the holidays coincide with peak fruit and vegetable season and my weekly veg box arrives stuffed with wonderful seasonal offerings all crying out to be quickly and simply cooked. This weekend I grabbed the juiciest, freshest tomatoes, the plumpest olives, the crispest french beans and the butteriest potatoes and pulled together five simple tapas dishes, filled with seasonal flavour. Thatchers Katy Cider was the perfect accompaniment to my summer tapas – a medium dry cider with a delicate touch, it complements rather than overwhelms these deliciously savoury dishes and is excellent alongside the fresh flavours of citrus and chilli which I favour in the summer months!
My vegan tapas doesn’t take too long to put together and can sit for a bit if people are don’t appear when you expect them to.
- Homemade Hummus: If you’ve got chickpeas, tahini, lemons and garlic to hand you are moments away from homemade hummus which beats shop bought hands down. This version is spiked with cumin, topped with really good olive oil and sprinkled with paprika – I whizzed up a can of chickpeas, the juice of a lemon, two garlic cloves, 4 tablespoons of tahini, salt, pepper, paprika and cumin in my blender – it took 5 minutes.
- Paprika Potatoes: I scrubbed and cubed some lovely new potatoes and parboiled them for 5 minutes before roasting them in sunflower oil for about 45 minutes in a hot oven. Halfway though the cooking time I threw in thin slices of red onion and sprinkled in some salt and some smoked paprika – et voila, crispy, smoky paprika potatoes!
- Roasted Corn: While the potatoes were roasting I chopped up some of the gloriously sweet new season’s sweetcorn which arrived on my doorstep this week, rolled them in chilli oil and roasted them in the oven with the potatoes – they take about 30 minutes.
- Simple Tomato Bruschetta: Fresh, juicy, sun ripened tomatoes don’t need very much doing to them – in fact I really don’t like fiddling with them at all so I just chopped them up and popped them on top of toasted sourdough which I had rubbed with a cut garlic clove and drizzled with an excellent virgin olive oil. This is probably the easiest tomato bruschetta you can make – top it with some shredded basil leaves and you have the best summer snack around, no contest! If your lunch guests are late arriving (or still snoozing) don’t add your tomatoes until they appear or your bruschetta will be soggy, just toast your sourdough and then put it all together when they finally appear!
- French Beans and Sun Dried Tomatoes: Crunchy French beans just need their tails snipping off, parboiling for 4 minutes and plunging into cold water. I fried some chopped red onion, a little garlic, a couple of spoonfuls of passata and some chopped sun dried tomatoes before tossing the beans in the hot dressing to warm them through a little bit.
- Finishing Touches: A bowl or two of plump olives and some fresh salad leaves finished the table off and all I had to do was pop open the cider and put out a glass for each of the adults.
I love that Thatchers are based here in the West Country and that the apples which go into each bottle are grown on 500 acres of apple orchards not far from where we live in the gorgeous county of Somerset in the UK! Thatchers Katy is perfect to share with friends and is ideal for summer celebrations. Pair it with vegan tapas as I have here, with your vegetarian barbecue or with this celeriac and apple soup,
If you’re looking for more inspirations and ideas for pairing cider with food do have a look at Thatchers website.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Thatchers Cider and Thinly Spread support the Drinkaware Campaign and promote responsible drinking.