It’s time again for relaxing sundowners with friends, family suppers on the deck and coming together for weekend braais.
Summer is on the way, and South Africa is more than ready to get outside to enjoy the warmer days and nights. But recently we have to be more careful when we anticipate in more socialising and frequent outdoor eating. Many of us remain on a tight household budget, so we want to focus on the best value for money when it comes to entertaining. The other thing is that we want to make sure load-shedding doesn’t disrupt our prep and cooking plans.
When it comes to summer fare, dairy plays an essential role in providing nutrients for a healthy body, supporting a fun, active lifestyle and adding value to the menu. Dairy offers incredible versatility as an ingredient, and brings indulgence, taste and texture to a sensational variety of dishes and snacks. Dairy is ideal for summer, pairing perfectly with the season’s produce such as berries and stone fruit, adding flair, flavour and sustenance to salads, and as the base for delicious frozen treats and refreshing drinks. In addition, milk, yoghurt and cheeses offer affordable, high-quality protein, as well as a spectrum of important nutrients such as calcium and B vitamins.
Rediscover Dairy highlights a few of the many ways to enjoy dairy this summer:
Wet your whistle
Staying hydrated is crucial during the hot South African summer months, especially when you and your family are active outdoors. Water remains your drink of choice but all drinks count towards our total fluid intake, and you should increase fluid intake to avoid dehydration in summer. There’s nothing quite like a glass of cold milk on a hot day, and because of their nutritional profile, dairy-based drinks are particularly excellent recovery beverages after exercise. It’s the perfect time to enjoy classic milkshakes, fruit smoothies, iced coffees, lattes, frappes and frozen hot chocolate.
A light, cool start to your day
Give yourself a nutritional boost to get through the day by including dairy at breakfast time. Instead of just cereal and milk, top a fruit salad with double cream yoghurt and toasted granola. Think about smoothie bowls made with plenty of summer fruit blended with yoghurt and sprinkled with nuts, seeds and fresh blueberries.
Embrace salad days
Bursting with crisp textures, vibrant colours and fresh flavours, salads are the essence of summer as we celebrate nature’s abundance. Whether you opt for a Mediterranean-style classic with crumbled feta, a trendy, fruity medley topped with a soft white cheese such as goat’s cheese or a protein-packed power bowl featuring shaved pecorino, there’s always a cheese that will add nutritional value, exceptional flavour and a touch of decadence to any salad.
Dress it with dairy
A well-crafted dressing transforms a salad into a culinary delight. It’s an opportunity for you to show your artistry, and when it comes to creative flair, dairy is your friend. Try yoghurt-based salad dressings as an alternative to oils as they not only add a delicious creaminess but reduce the kilojoule count. Yoghurt is the perfect balanced conduit for herb and spice flavour profiles, as well as the acid ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar.
However, when it comes to salad dressings, don’t be afraid to try something a little different. You will wow family and friends with this versatile Buttermilk Ranch Dressing from Rediscover Dairy.
Picnic with panache
A relaxing, summer picnic in scenic South Africa is one of life’s great pleasures, and what would it be without the delights of dairy? Cheese and fruit boards, artisanal sandwiches, and biscuits and crudites with cottage cheese, cream cheese and yoghurt-based dips are ideal finger foods loved by young and old. Bake cheese and herb muffins, add cheesy quiche wedges to your picnic smorgasbord and try homemade yoghurt parfaits as picnic treats.
The warm essence of South African hospitality is captured best in our outdoor eating. With our balmy summer nights, we don’t need any encouragement to gather up some friends and light up the grill. Whether it’s a cheese board starter, meat tenderised in buttermilk or marinated in yoghurt, maas stirred into the pap, the cheddar topping on a potato bake or local feta sprinkled liberally over the salad, dairy is an integral part of our braai culture. A candle-lit braai is also the perfect option when it comes to black-outs over dinner time. What we don’t want is tough economic times to put a pinch on this summer’s alfresco entertaining.
Here are some budget-friendly ideas that will make sure we get together, eat well and have fun!
This summer, let dairy be your culinary ally in staying cool and refreshed, tantalised and satisfied. From indulgent alfresco dining and fun picnics to hydration solutions and bright breakfasts, dairy offers a multitude of options to beat the heat while savouring the flavours of the season.
For dairy ideas and recipes join the Rediscover Dairy Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RediscoverDAIRY