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Easy Summer Entertaining with Chef Dominique Rizzo

It’s summer time and Chef Dominique Rizzo is sharing some of her favourite summer recipes with you.  These are fabulous drinks and recipes to prepare for your guests without spending hours in the kitchen.  Easy summer entertaining in a busy schedule makes sense.

Easy Summer Entertaining – Lime and Lychee Wine Spritzer

Easy summer entertaining - Lime and lychee wine spritzer

This fresh wine spritzer is ideal for those summer days or warm nights when the zesty flavours of lime, lemon grass and a bite of chili will liven up the taste buds and with the soft sweet flavours of lychee its ideal to accompany any dish or dessert.

Ingredients:

1  bottle Lindeman’s Crispy Dry White

1 tbsp. Gourmet garden lemon grass 

½ cup lime cordial

2 Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

10 lychees – muddled

1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced into threads

Juice of 2 limes

1lt soda water

Method: 

  • Combine the wine with the rest of the ingredients leaving the wine to sit in the fridge for at least an hour to infuse with flavours.
  • Serve the wine half-filled in glasses and top with the soda water.

Easy Summer Entertaining – Baked Eggplant, Goats Cheese and Tomato Olive Salad

Easy summer entertaining - Baked eggplant, goats cheese, tomato olive salad

This is a light lunch or entree option full of wonderful colours and textures and a great dish to make ahead of time as all the components can be put together at the last minute.

Ingredients: 
2 medium eggplants sliced into 2cm wide slices

2 tbsp. chopped basil

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

60g goat’s cheese

60g cream cheese

3 roma tomatoes

40g green olives, pitted and chopped

40g black olives, pitted and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

5 leaves of basil, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

40g baby spinach

12 thin slices focaccia or Turkish bread

Method:

  • Pre heat the oven to 200c.

  • Combine the olive oil with the basil and parsley and season with salt and pepper, using a pastry brush cover both sides of the eggplant slices with the herb oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • Place the slices of eggplant onto a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, turn the eggplant over and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

  • Blend the goat’s cheese with the cream cheese until smooth. Deseed the tomatoes and dice into 1cm pieces, finely dice the olives and mix in with the tomatoes, add in the garlic, basil and lemon zest, blend with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • To serve place a round of eggplant onto a plate and spread with a dessert spoon of the cheese mixture, top with some of the spinach leaves and then another eggplant round. Spoon over some of the olive salsa and serve with focaccia or Turkish bread.

Easy Summer Entertaining – Italian Crispelle with Sweet Fresh Pear and Honey Relish

Easy summer entertaining - Italian crispelle, sweet fresh pear, honey relish

This is such a fresh, fast and easy dessert or breakfast recipe and is delicious with ice cream, pouring cream or thickened yoghurt.

Ingredients: 

1 cup plain flour

Salt

2 whole eggs

280ml milk

50g butter

1 tbsp. honey

½ tsp. Gourmet Garden ginger

½ tsp. orange zest

2 tbsp. Lindeman’s Sweet Seasons Blancello

Couple of drops of vanilla or 1/8 tsp. vanilla bean paste

3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced into 1cm pieces

10 leaves of mint, sliced

Method: 

  • For the crispelle, pour the flour into a bowl and add in the salt. Make a well in the centre and in a separate bowl whisk the eggs and the milk together. Gradually whisk the eggs and milk into the flour and continue to whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free.

  • Melt 20gms butter and pour this into the batter mixing to combine.

  • Heat a non-stick frypan over low-medium heat, add a little butter to coat the base then ladle in enough crepe mixture to coat the base completely, turning gently to ensure an even thickness. Cook 1-2 minutes until light and golden.

  • Turnover and cook for 10-15 seconds. Remove to plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat using the remaining crepe batter. To serve, place the folded crepes onto a plate and top with the fresh pear relish. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

  • To make the fresh pear relish, combine the honey, ginger, zest and the Blancello and whisk until the honey dissolves, add in the diced pears and the chopped mint and toss together, serve this over the crepes.

These recipes by Dominique Rizzo were originally featured at https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/.

Getting the Know How on Perfect Lettuce Pesto and Broccoli and Cauliflower Fritters

Broccoli and Cauliflower fritters rsz 

Listen to the interview on 612 ABC Brisbane here:  Lettuce pesto and Broccoli and Cauliflower fritters

 

And follow the recipes here:

Broccoli and Cauliflower Fritters

Makes 20 -25 fritters depending on the size

These are a fantastic vegetarian fritter in which you can use just about any vegetable, I have also made these with sautéed chopped mushrooms and they taste delicious. They make a great addition to a light dinner, as a starter to have with drinks and ideal for kids for the school lunches as you can mask the vegetables that they may not like. Adapt the ingredients to suit your taste buds and make your own fantastic combinations. You could also spray these with olive oil and bake them in an oven of 180c for about 15 minutes until golden.

 

  • 250g broccoli, cut into florets (about 1 small head)
  • 230g cauliflower, cut into florets (about ½ a cauliflower)
  • 2 tbsp. Gourmet Garden Parsley or ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. Gourmet Garden garlic
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 80g cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra bread crumbs
  • About ½ cup Light olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

 

  1. Cook the broccoli and the cauliflower in boiling water until tender and almost breaking apart. Drain and rinse with cold water allowing the vegetables to drain completely before using. In a food processor pulse the vegetables until just combined but not puree; you can also do this with a potato masher, mash the cauliflower and the broccoli until just broken up.
  2. Place the combined vegetables into a bowl and add in the chopped parsley, minced garlic, grated cheese, eggs, breadcrumbs and cream cheese. Season well with salt and pepper and with your hands combine the mix until it sticks together. Taste the mix and adjust the seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and sit the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour, you will find that the mixture will harden slightly and the fritters will be easier to manage and fry if they are a little firm.  Place the extra bread crumbs into a bowl and take a spoonful of the mixture, roll it in the breadcrumbs and then into a small ball, flattening it slightly with your fingers.
  3. When you are ready to cook them, heat a large fry pan with oil and fry the fritters on all sides until golden about 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve hot or room temperature with a squeeze of lemon and with salad if you are making a meal out of these.

Lettuce pesto
Lettuce pesto with crackers rsz
Makes 2 cups

 

I love this pesto, it’s so easy to throw together especially if you are growing your own lettuce and have abundance and can’t keep up with the harvest. You can use any type of mixed leaves and even the softer outer leaves that are not great for a salad. You can add in some of your favorite ingredients such as olives, anchovies, chopped salami, and substitute the parmesan for feta, ricotta and even cream cheese or blue cheese… whatever you have in the fridge.  Use this as a dip, stirred through pasta, tossed through a salad… yes that’s right lettuce pesto with lettuce, you may want to add a splash of vinegar to loosen it up for a dressing. This is also great to spoon through a medley of steamed vegetables. So I will leave it up to your imagination on how many ways you can make use of this tasty pesto… it will also make a great picnic spread for bread or crackers.

 

  • 2 big handful of mixed lettuce leaves ( about 4-5 cups, try and use a mixture of leaves, Cos, ice berg, red coral, butter head, red coral, green coral)
  • 1 tbsp. capers, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Handful of lemon basil leaves or basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil, if you want a looser pesto add a little more oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

 

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined and chopped together. Adjust the seasoning and store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for about 3 weeks. If the top is covered with oil the pesto will stay fresher for longer.