In this post, I share four summer dinner ideas, meals that help me to soak up the beauty of the warmer months. Here’s a snapshot of what summer looks like in my kitchen…
Summer Dinner Idea #1: Pizza
The summer months are my favourite time of year to make pizza. On warm summer mornings, I like to wake up early, mix a batch of no-knead pizza dough, then leave it to ferment all day. The warm weather assists with the fermentation process, and I’m always amazed by how this hands-off approach produces a chewy, flavourful crust.
At dinner time, it only takes a few minutes to shape the dough and add toppings. To make my pizza extra summery, I like to top it with summer produce, such as capsicum, courgette, or eggplant.
My secret for delicious homemade pizza is to use a very hot oven. I bake my pizzas at 250°C, and they are ready in just 10 minutes.
Summer Dinner Idea #2: Winter Melon Soup
In my kitchen, cosy soups are not confined to the cooler months. During the warmer months, I often have a pot of winter melon soup simmering on the stove.
Winter melons are a type of enormous fruit with a waxy skin. Due to their size, they are often sold as pre-portioned slices. Winter melons are said to have cooling properties, so despite their wintery name, they are often consumed in summer in Hong Kong.
My favourite way to use winter melon is to use it in soup. Winter melon has a mild flavour, so when I make winter melon soup I like to add carrots for sweetness and pork ribs for richness.
Summer Dinner Idea #3: Warm Rice Salad
Rice salads are a good choice on days when you want a hearty yet refreshing summer dinner. When served warm, they taste like a lighter version of fried rice.
To make rice salad, I start by cooking rice in my rice cooker. While I wait for the rice to cook, I chop the vegetables, cook some chicken or salmon, and make a simple vinaigrette. Once the rice is ready, I mix it all together and garnish with fresh coriander.
Rice salads are versatile; you can use whatever you have on hand. However, there are two ingredients that I always include in my rice salads: tomatoes and onions. These ingredients add savoury and tangy depth to any rice salad.
Summer Dinner Idea #4: Rice Dumplings
Rice dumplings are synonymous with early summer in Hong Kong. In late May or early June each year, these tetrahedral parcels of sticky rice appear in shops all over the city, heralding the Dragon Boat Festival and reminding us that summer is just around the corner.
Store-bought rice dumplings are delicious, but homemade ones taste even better. To read about how I prepare this traditional festival food, here’s my homemaking diary on making rice dumplings at home.
A Menu for Each Season
One of the easiest ways to practise seasonal homemaking is to match the food you eat with the time of the year. Eating seasonally helps us to eat a more varied diet, and perhaps more importantly, it deepens our enjoyment of each season.