The End of Summer outside Dinner

‘ When the summer season comes to an end at the countryside’

As September comes to an end, so do the dining moments outside at the countryside. The last time we were at the countryside, we were able to eat all our meals outside as we were blessed with such incredible weather. Our countryside is beautiful this time of year, the trees are still mostly green but there are slight signs of fall in the crispy morning air, the lake has turned a glistering blue colour and mushroom season is at it’s best. My hubby and I swam on a daily basis and I let the nature work it’s wonders on my healing process. This season really makes us miss Bella even more as we took her to so many adventures during autumn.

We enjoyed a “last of summer” dinner by the lake with my family, where we cooked some lobster on an open fire and ended the meal with caramelized plums. We also had some tiger prawns and a white paprika salad and a hassleback pumpkin, that is perfect for September dinners. We ended the meal with playing some games outside as the sun set beautifully already at 20.30pm.

We are blessed in Finland that we have four seasons and the most exciting part is the transition process to the new one, as it brings along a sense of new beginnings and change. Our last “summer meal alfresco style” was a great transition to cosier pot meals by the fireplace and allow the cooler days stripe the nature to it’s barest. Below you can find the recipes for the paprika salad, tiger prawns/lobster, hassleback pumpkin and caramelized plums.

White Paprika Salad

  • About 7 long white paprika’s (any colour will do)
  • 1 cube chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • About 1 cup water

Garnish

  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place the washed paprika in an oven dish. Add enough water so the bottom part of the paprika is just covered. Brake in the chicken stock cube into the water. Add olive oil over the paprika. Cook in an oven for an hour/ 1 hour 30min. Midway cooking, turn the paprika around.

Once ready remove from oven and place the paprika’s on a plate to cool. Save a few tablespoons of the stock and place on top of the cooling paprika’s. Once cooled, roughly slice the paprika into long slices and place onto a large serving plate. Add fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Add creamy feta and black pepper. Ready to serve.

Grilled tiger prawns & Lobster

  • 1 kg tiger prawns
  • Marinade (oil, chilli, parsley, garlic)
  • Lemon
  • Aioli

Directions

We cooked the tiger prawns outside on an open fire using a cast iron grid. Basically allow the tiger prawns to soak the marinade for about an hour at least. Then cook on the cast iron grid over coal, for a few minutes on both sides. Serve with lemon and aioli.

When cooking the lobsters (we used frozen, precooked ones), basically slice the lobster in half first and place each side on the cast iron grid. Brush some garlic butter on top and let it cook for about 2-5 minutes until it heats up. Serve 1 lobster per person and garnish with lemon.

Miso Garlic Hassleback pumpkin

  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 6-8 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon miso paste
  • A few twigs of thyme
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Grounded black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Begin by halving the pumpkin lengthwise and peeling the skin of f, which is by far the most challenging part of the recipe. I used a vegetable peeler along with a sharp knife to get the skin off. Once this is done, you make narrow scores (not all the way to the bottom though so the shape does not brake) all the way across the surface on both pumpkin halves. Lay the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet lined tray.

In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, miso paste, grated garlic, lemon juice, pepper and finely chopped thyme. Brush the pumpkin surfaces with the marinade and place them into the oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin is fully cooked.

Keep brushing more of the marinade over the pumpkin about ever 20minutes, so they keep moist and intensify with flavour. Once ready, grate lots of black pepper on top and a bit of Maldon salt. For garnishing, I also added more herbs to give some additional colour.

This makes the most beautiful seasonal side dish that is sweet and salty with lovely mild garlic taste in the background. The miso paste adds a lovely salty full-bodied flavour to the sweet pumpkin.

Caramelized Thyme Plums

  • Seasonal plums
  • Few twigs of thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • About 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

Deseed and halve the plums. In a frying pan, add a generous amount of butter and let it melt and become a little brown. Place the plums, cinnamon and thyme into the pan and cook with the lid on for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Let the plums caramelize. Serve with whipped cream and make sure to pour all the buttery goodness from the pan onto the plate.

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