We're in our last run of light dinners before we start slow-cooking everything through autumn and winter. What to have for dinner is a question I constantly grapple with, having to feed a busy family quickly. Now my girls are older, they're more wide-ranging and adventurous in their tastes.
These recipes, with some variations from time to time, are staple summer suppers at home. I've taken South-east Asia, the US and the Med as my influences, with minimal cooking and prep time. Rice noodles and green beans are cooked with poured-over boiling water, chicken is poached with my no-cook method of residual heat in the pan and the cannellini beans are straight from the tin into a baking dish. The proteins – chicken, prawns and sardines – are clean bases for what are essentially salads, served warm or at room temperature.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co,
is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111; 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032; and Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, London N1, tel: 020 3058 2567, grangerandco.com. Follow Bill
on Instagram at bill.granger
Grilled sardines with a tomato and cannellini bean salad
This is a nice change to a regular bean salad. Roasting the beans gives them texture and a little more body – perfect for late-summer suppers.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 small red onion, sliced into thin wedges
350g mixed tomatoes, halved or cut into large pieces, depending on size
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
8 whole sardines, gutted
Flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/Gas6. Pour 2 tbsp of the olive oil, the beans, garlic, chilli flakes, onion and tomatoes into a small baking dish and stir together. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the onion is tender and the tomatoes start to pucker.
Remove from the oven and gently spoon the contents into a serving dish. Add the vinegar, and stir delicately to avoid breaking up the beans and tomatoes.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Sprinkle the sardines with salt and place in the heated pan. Cook for two minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with the warm salad and garnish with the parsley. k
Poached chicken with avocado, green beans and a buttermilk dressing
This method is my favourite way to cook chicken breasts, rendering them plump and juicy.
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 thick slices of ginger
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sea salt
4 chicken breasts, skin off
3 tbsp sour cream
3 tbsp mayonnaise
4 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1kg baby potatoes
150g green beans, trimmed
2 spring onions, sliced
Large handful mint leaves
Put the peppercorns, ginger, spring onion and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and almost fill with water. Bring to the boil. Add the chicken breasts, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn off the heat and leave for one hour. Remove from the water and slice or break into pieces.
For the dressing, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the potatoes in a medium-sized pot of cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until cooked. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place the green beans in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. After 2 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.
Aarrange the potatoes, chicken and beans on a plate. Halve the avocado and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh in chunks on the salad. Sprinkle spring onion and mint leaves over the salad and drizzle with the dressing.
Turmeric prawns with rice noodles and fresh herbs
Marinating the prawns in turmeric and sugar gives them a wonderful colour and flavour and caramelises them very quickly when they hit the pan.
16 raw large prawns, peeled, tails on
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp caster sugar
250g rice stick noodles
2 tbsp light-flavoured oil
Handful each of coriander leaves, mint leaves and Thai basil leaves
For the pickled veg
125ml white-wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tsp fish sauce
1 carrot, cut into strips
½ daikon, cut into strips
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into strips
Lime wedges (optional)
Place the prawns, turmeric and sugar in a bowl. Stir to coat the prawns and set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To prepare the pickled vegetables, combine the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and 2 tbsp of water in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vegetables, stirring to coat in the liquid, and set aside.
Place the noodles in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Soak for 6 to 7 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold running water.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the prawns and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until just cooked and lightly coloured.
Serve the noodles topped with the vegetable pickles, herbs and prawns, and lime wedges.1