‘Tis the season for Al Fresco dining in France!

10 Aug

The weather is gorgeous all over France now, so it’s possible to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner outside. And with all the divine fresh produce available in August along with a barbecue and gas hob there’s an almost limitless selection of meals you can create from your campervan kitchen.

Perfectly ripe avocado for summer dining

Here is one of my favourite summer starter recipes to enjoy al fresco on a sunny day that’s super-easy to prepare:

Avocado and Bacon Salsa – serves 6

For the Salsa:

  • 3 ripe (but not mushy) avocados
  • 4 medium tomatoes (de-seeded)
  • 1/3 of a cucumber (peel removed and de-seeded)
  • Half a cup of toasted pine nuts (you can dry fry them in a frying pan on
    your campervan hob)
  • *8 rashers smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled (fry or cook on the barbecue up
    to a day earlier)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley plus some for garnishing the plates
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

(*You can leave out the bacon and crumble in some Feta cheese for a vegetarian version.)

Chop all the ingredients into small pieces and gently combine in a big bowl, adding avocado last (chop and prepare not more than an hour prior to serving if possible). Cover and set aside while you make the dressing.

For the dressing (will make more than you need for this recipe, but will keep in fridge for days):

  • 6 fl. oz. (12 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar then shake vigorously until fully blended.

Spoon enough dressing on to the avocado mixture to lightly coat then season to taste.

To make the starter look posh, use a 6-7cm pastry cutter (or any other cylinder that is open at both ends e.g. small tin with both ends removed or a sawn off Pringles tube) to make towers of salsa on each plate. Just put cutter/tube on a plate, spoon in salsa and lift cutter/tube off. Should stay put, looks great!

Drizzle the dressing and sprinkle the chopped parsley around the outside of the plate if you are feeling arty!

Homemade burgers for al fresco dining

Great with a bottle of chilled Sancerre (or any other unoaked Sauvignon Blanc) and around our outdoor table it’s usually followed by homemade burgers and vegetable kebabs then cooked bananas, all cooked on the barbecue.

Here’s some great al fresco dining advice from one of North American clients: “Disposable grills are available in “Supermarchés” and are ideal for outdoor cooking, but do check you are not in a fire risk area before you light one. Some campsites in the south ban them and some provide communal grills where you can bring your own charcoal and cook your own food.” Read all kinds of advice from our clients from all around the world here.

Sunshine, fresh produce to die for, a stunning view from your overnight campervan halt – where would you head to and what would you cook? Plan an autumn campervan trip (and menu) in France now and bask in the twin pleasures of sunshine and good dining whilst the weather allows it!

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