Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a summer al fresco feast (2024)

Now’s the time when we all head outdoors to soak up every last bit of rare sunshine, like a bunch of cold-blooded reptiles. It’s only natural, then, to take food outside with us. Any outdoor meal for a crowd is no easy feat, however, so those you can plan and prepare ahead of time are lifesavers. For my alfresco spread today, the pork can be left pretty much to its own devices, the slaw can be set aside for a good few hours (add the herbs and garnishes at the last minute) and the pudding can be tucked in the freezer the night before. All at the ready for a jolly summer feast.

Lime and poppy seed slaw with curry leaf oil (pictured above)

The zingy dressing makes this a great side for the spicy vindaloo, but it’s also a wonderful standalone dish. If you’re short on time, use regular salted cashews or peanuts instead of the turmeric cashews. They are pretty special, though, so it won’t hurt to double the amounts here – they keep in a sealed container for up to a week.

Prep 25 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 8

1 white cabbage (850g), finely shredded
1-2 carrots (180g), peeled, cut in half widthways, then thinly sliced and julienned
1 red onion (120g), peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
15g coriander leaves, with some stalks attached
5g mint leaves, picked

For the turmeric cashews
2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
2½ tsp olive oil
¾ tsp turmeric
200g roasted and salted cashews
2 tsp cumin seeds

For the curry leaf oil
1 red chilli, thinly sliced seeds and all
3 tbsp olive oil
2 stems fresh curry leaves (ie, about 20 leaves)

For the lime dressing
70ml lime juice
(ie, from about 4 limes)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp poppy seeds
Salt and black pepper
75ml olive oil

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. First make the cashews. Put the sugar, oil, turmeric and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil on a medium heat, stirring often, then add the cashews and cumin. Cook for three to four minutes more, stirring constantly, until the seeds and nuts are coated in a sticky glaze, then transfer to an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and spread the nuts out over it. Bake for 14 minutes, stirring once halfway, until golden, then remove and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the curry leaf oil. Put the chilli and oil in a small frying pan on a medium heat, and cook for seven minutes, or until the chilli starts to develop a shine. Add the curry leaves, cook for two to three minutes more, stirring often, until they turn translucent, then tip into a bowl.

For the dressing, whisk the lime juice, mustard, garlic, poppy seeds and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil in a steady drizzle, until incorporated.

In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, carrots, onion, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Pour over the dressing, mix well to combine, then leave to soften for about 15 minutes. Fold in the herbs, then transfer to a platter. Drizzle the curry leaf oil all over and sprinkle on a third of the turmeric cashews, serving the rest in a bowl alongside.

Spicy pulled pork vindaloo

Whenever I’m feeding a crowd, I am a huge fan of large cuts of meat or large whole vegetables, slow-cooked with minimal work and maximum flavour. Serve this pork with the lime and poppy seed slaw above, or save time and use a good-quality, shop-bought slaw.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a summer al fresco feast (1)

Prep 20 min
Cook 6 hr 15 min
Serves 8

2.2kg pork shoulder, boned and rolled – ask the butcher to do this for you
Salt and black pepper
3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 medium onions
, peeled and roughly chopped
20g coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lime juice

For the spice mix
3 cinnamon sticks, roughly broken
15 cardamom pods
1½ tsp black peppercorns
10 dried red chillies – the long, finger-length variety
tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp black mustard seeds
¼ tsp ground cloves
10 garlic cloves, peeled
50g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
90ml apple cider vinegar
150ml full-fat coconut milk

To serve
500g Greek-style yoghurt
120g mango chutney, store-bought or homemade
8 white soft bread rolls, store-bought or homemade

Put the spice mix ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then transfer to a blender and blitz for three or four minutes, until smooth.

Heat the oven to 170C (150C fan)/335F/gas 3. Pat dry the pork, then sprinkle a teaspoon of salt all over it. Put two tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based, cast-iron saucepan for which you have a lid. Turn on the heat to medium-high, sear the pork, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over – about eight minutes in all – then transfer the meat to a plate or board.

Add the final tablespoon of oil to the pot, then fry the onions, stirring, until lightly coloured – about three minutes. Add the blitzed spice mixture, 400ml water and a teaspoon of salt, return the pork to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and slow-roast for four hours, basting every hour or so, until quite tender. Remove the lid, roast uncovered for 80 minutes more, basting once or twice, until the meat is well browned and the sauce thick and rich.

Use two forks to shred the pork into the pan juices (do the same with the skin, too, if you want, or just discard it), then stir in the coriander and lime juice.

Put the yoghurt in a small bowl and swirl through the mango chutney, so it’s rippled. Serve the pork with the yoghurt, bread rolls and slaw (see next recipe), leaving your guests to build their own plate or sandwich as they please.

Super-easy, no-churn mango ice-cream

This couldn’t be easier to whip up for a crowd and, after the spiced richness of the vindaloo, provides welcome refreshment, too. It’s not totally smooth, but rather a delicious mix of flaky, icy and creamy. If you want to get ahead, make it up to a week ahead and keep in the freezer; transfer to the fridge half an hour before serving, so it softens enough to scoop.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a summer al fresco feast (2)

Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
Freeze 9 hr
Serves 10

800g tinned sweetened alphonso mango pulp (I use the East End brand)
400g coconut cream
5 limes – grated, to get 4 tsp zest, juiced, to get 80ml, and the rest cut into wedges, to serve

For the lime sugar
6 makrut lime leaves, stripped and stalks discarded
1 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp lime zest

Put the mango pulp, coconut cream, lime zest and juice in a blender and blitz completely smooth. Transfer to a two-litre container, seal and freeze for at least nine hours, giving it a good stir now and then, until well set but still scoopable.

Blitz all the sugar ingredients in a spice grinder (or finely chop the lime leaves, then mix with everything else).

Scoop the pudding into individual bowls or ice-cream glasses, sprinkle with the sugar and squeeze a lime wedge on top.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for a summer al fresco feast (2024)


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