4 easy recipes to give the family chef a break!

If there’s one go-to cook in your family, maybe they deserve a little holiday from the kitchen. Give them a few days off and get everyone else trying out these simple, summery dishes.

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Little effort yet big on flavour, these straightforward meals are easy to master – even for total recipe rookies. Plus, they create a taste of summer to really give your regular head chef a refreshing break.

1. Pasta salad with parsley pesto, tomato and olives

Fresh ingredients prepared simply – this is a true taste of Italy.

350g penne pasta
1 large bunch of fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
12 cherry tomatoes
150g green olives
Extra virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan cheese


  1. Boil a large saucepan of water with salt and add the pasta.
  2. While the pasta cooks, wash the parsley, dry it and remove the stalks. Place the leaves in the food processor with the parmesan, garlic, a tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper and blitz it.
  3. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and drain the olives, slicing them into rounds.
  4. Put the cooked and drained pasta in a bowl and toss with the pesto, olives and tomatoes. Add extra parmesan to taste.

2. Asian-style prawn salad

Crunchy salad, sweet prawns and an intense, spicy dressing make this a memorably simple dish.

250g Chinese cabbage
175g white cabbage
2 celery sticks
2 carrots
Handful fresh mint
Handful fresh coriander
4 tbsp roasted peanuts
200g cooked large peeled prawns
1 small red chilli
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce


  1. Shred the cabbages, celery and carrots finely with a mandolin slicer or food processor into a large bowl, and add the prawns.
  2. Chop the mint and coriander and toss with the vegetables and prawns.
  3. In a separate bowl, chop the chilli finely and crush the garlic clove, mixing them together with the sugar, vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly, sprinkling the peanuts over the top before serving.

3. Swordfish carpaccio with mustard green sauce

Fresh and light with the taste of the sea, this dish will stir happy summer memories.

400g fresh sashimi-grade swordfish – sliced as thinly as possible
Salad leaves, washed and drained
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp coarse-grained mustard
20g pine nuts


  1. Place the parsley, pine nuts and a tablespoon each of olive oil and vinegar in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and add the mustard, plus salt to taste.
  3. Layer the slices of swordfish over the salad leaves, sprinkle with oil and cover with the sauce.
  4. Leave for 20 minutes for the flavours to develop, and serve at room temperature.

4. Spiced fruit salad

Zingy mint and a hint of spice liven up this simple, refreshing treat.

1 watermelon
1 cantaloupe melon
1 honeydew melon
500g each raspberries, blueberries and strawberries
4 limes
3 oranges
Pinch of white peppercorns
Pinch of cloves


  1. Cut the watermelon in half lengthways, remove all the seeds and hollow out one half – this will make a serving bowl.
  2. Cut the watermelon flesh and the other melons into cubes.
  3. Husk the strawberries and cut them in halves, then place them with the other berries and melon in the empty half watermelon, then put in the fridge.
  4. Juice the limes in another bowl and add the peppercorns, and do the same with the oranges and cloves in a separate dish.
  5. Let the flavours infuse for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Serve alongside the fruit salad as sauces for dipping or pouring over the fruit.