Home Lifestyle RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce

RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce

RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce

The air is warmer, the sky is bluer, and the sun is brighter and out longer. Indeed, summer is upon us.

The season means more outdoor activities and gatherings with family and friends, more barbecues or cookouts and more opportunities to soak in some vitamin D directly from the sun.

It also means an array of fruit and vegetables in the produce aisle of our local grocery store, farmers’ market or perhaps in your own backyard.

Consuming fruit and vegetables is great for our health, as they provide our bodies with essential vitamins and nutrients.

Eating with the seasons comes with a host of benefits. Not only does seasonal produce taste better, it’s more nutritionally dense.

It also reduces your carbon footprint, leaves a little extra money in your wallet, and helps you form a connection with your local community. That said, these hearty recipes are guaranteed to turn a full fridge into a full dinner table.

RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce
Corn. Picture: Pexels/Kayode Balogun

Spicy grilled corn


6 sweet corn on the cob, halved

Spice mix

2 tbsp smoked Maldon salt

½ tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp dried mixed-herbs

2 tbsp smoked paprika

To serve



Chop the corn in half.

Soak the corn in a bowl of cold water until it is ready to cook – this will prevent it burning on the grill.

Mix together the spice-mix ingredients and set to one side.

Put the corn on the braai for 10 minutes or so until cooked, making sure you turn it every few minutes.

Once cooked and nicely charred, remove from the grill.

Brush with butter and sprinkle generously with the spice mix.

Recipe by Siba Mtongana.

RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce
Hayden Quinn’s slow-roasted tomato tart. Picture: Supplied

Hayden Quinn’s slow-roasted tomato tart


800g punnet of baby tomatoes, halved

60ml extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp roughly chopped lemon thyme

2 tbsp roughly chopped tarragon

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 sheet of pre-made frozen puff pastry

1 free-range egg, lightly beaten for wash

12 white anchovy fillets, drained

100g feta cheese, crumbled

Rocket salad to serve

To make the buttered leeks

1 tbsp olive oil

50g unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced

2 tbsp roughly chopped lemon thyme

2 tbsp roughly chopped basil

Extra basil leaves to serve

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Place the tomatoes in a large bowl with the olive oil, thyme, tarragon, and vinegar, season to taste, and toss to combine. Place tomatoes, cut side up on two oven trays, and drizzle over any juices. Roast for 40-45 minutes until semi-dehydrated and caramelised.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli, leek, thyme, and basil and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Reduce the heat to low and cook stirring frequently for 12-15 minutes or until leeks crush easily with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a large oven tray and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When the tomatoes come out of the oven, increase the temperature to 200°C, then place a heavy-based oven tray in the oven to heat up. Roll the puff pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 30cm x 45cm. Remove the top sheet of baking paper and brush a 4cm border with egg wash. Fold all four edges in 3cm, pressing firmly with fingertips to seal.

Brush the edges with egg wash. Using a fork, prick the base of the tart. Spread the buttered leeks evenly over the pastry base then pick up the paper and place it on the pre-heated oven tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed.

Scatter the tomatoes over the leeks followed by anchovies, feta, and extra basil leaves. Slice the tart and serve with rocket salad on the side.

Recipe by Hayden Quinn.

RECIPES: Here’s how to get the most of early summer produce
Zucchini oat muffins. Picture: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Zucchini (baby marrow) oat muffins

Serves: 12

Make ahead: The date paste can be refrigerated up to two weeks in advance.


1 cup packed pitted dates

Boiling water

1¼ cups coarsely grated zucchini (1 medium zucchini)

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp salt

2 large eggs

⅓ cup neutral-tasting oil, such as light olive oil or canola oil

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts


Place the dates in a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover them and let them soak for one hour. Reserve two tablespoons of the soaking liquid, then drain the dates well.

Combine the dates and the reserved liquid in a food processor (mini, preferably) and purée to form a smooth paste, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, as needed.

Place the grated zucchini in a colander in the sink; let drain for 20 minutes, then gather it up in your hands to extract as much moisture as possible.

Preheat the oven to 350°C. Have a standard-size, 12-well muffin pan at hand. Lightly grease the wells with cooking oil spray or line them with baking paper cups.

Stir together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir together all the date paste, eggs, and oil in a mixing bowl until incorporated, then stir in the grated, drained zucchini. Add the flour mixture and stir until no trace of it remains, then stir in the walnuts.

Divide the batter evenly among the wells. Bake (middle rack) for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe by Ellie Krieger.

Have you checked out the latest IOL Food & Drinks digital magazine? Read it here.

Original Article