Home LifeStyleFood & Recipes Chill out with dairy this summer

Chill out with dairy this summer

by Tania Griffin
Dairy Amasi Jelly Trifle

Summer is on the way, and South Africa is more than ready to get outside to enjoy the warmer days and nights. It’s time again for relaxing sundowners with friends, family suppers on the deck, and coming together for weekend braais. 

This year, there are a few things on our mind as we anticipate 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 loadshedding 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 toward 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.

For a stand-out summer brunch, whip up some easy and healthy high-protein Cottage Cheese Waffles or Crispy Salmon Fritters.

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.

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 crudité with cottage cheese, cream cheese and yoghurt-based dips are ideal finger foods loved by young and old. Bake cheese and herb scones, add cheesy quiche muffin cups to your picnic smorgasbord, and try homemade yoghurt parfaits as picnic treats.

Al fresco entertaining

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 marinaded 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 blackouts over dinnertime. What we don’t want is tough economic times to put a pinch on this summer’s al fresco entertaining.

Here are some budget-friendly ideas that will make sure we get together, eat well and have fun!

Risotto Balls

Beef Burger with Whipped Feta and Greek Yoghurt Sauce

Baby Potato Salad with Cream Cheese, Yoghurt and Mayo Dressing

Amasi Jelly Trifle

Frozen Grape and Kiwi Yoghurt Bark  

This summer, let dairy be your culinary ally in staying cool and refreshed, tantalised and satisfied. From indulgent al fresco 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 more dairy ideas and recipes, join the Rediscover Dairy Facebook page.

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