Last of the summer dining means eating outside while you still can. Mark Hix helps patio eaters keep their cool with a tailor-made menu

Everything in the garden's rosé. At least it is in mine, so I'm determined to spin out summer as long as I can by dining outside in the evenings. I haven't had a holiday abroad in the sun this year, but instead I've been making the most of my newfound outdoor space and trying to disregard the British weather. You can't beat dinner al fresco, food tastes better in the open air, and I'm going to resist buying a patio heater - it's not the spirit for us hardy perennial gardeners.

So any visitors to my new home might want to wrap up warm if they're coming round for dinner any time soon. I promise I won't stint on the rosé, though. I heard recently that there's been a 30 per cent increase in rosé sales over the last couple years, and I'm sure I can account for some of that figure.

Just because you're eating outside doesn't mean changing the principles of entertaining. You want it to be relaxed, but feel special, and the key is to plan ahead, making it easy for yourself on the night. It's mad to shop at the last minute when the shelves are empty. Get what you need the day before and do as much preparation as you can. If you're dining outside, use even more just-picked herbs to accentuate your surroundings. I like to use really fresh flavours and include food that I've grown myself, such as salads, herbs and maybe the odd courgette or squash flower deep fried in a light, crisp better. If anything I've overdone the salad and herb sowing, and I'm giving it away to friends, but a few dinner parties should use up the surplus.

Steamed seafood with samphire

Serves 4-6

A simple plate of mixed, steaming seafood makes a great sharing centrepiece for the table. I've used a mixture of samphire and rock samphire here which you can find growing wild by the sea or buy from a good fishmonger or greengrocer. The season is coming to an end, so grab it while you can.

The selection of shellfish can depend on what's available, but cockles, mussels, raw prawns and razor clams would make a good start. Various types of clam, pieces of lobster, crab claws and langoustines will help to create a beautiful visual feast.

You could also turn this into a seafood salad by cooking everything in advance, and leaving it to cool. Then drizzle with olive oil mixed with a little good quality wine vinegar and maybe add some chopped herbs such as chervil or fennel.

10-15 medium sized whole raw prawns
300-400g mussels
400-500g cockles and/or clams
6 razor clams or langoustines
150-200g samphire
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml white wine

If you are using cockles they will need a good wash in running water for about 20 minutes. Stir them around with your hand every so often so they release sand particles from the shells.

Put the cockles and/or clams in a large pot with the mussels and prawns and any other shell fish you are using. Add the white wine and samphire, season and cook on a high heat with a lid on for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan every so often, until the mussels and cockles are open. Serve immediately with some warm crusty bread. Or, if you want to have less to do at the last minute, leave it to cool and serve as a seafood salad.

Slow cooked loin of pork with beans and salsa verde

Serves 4-6

My mate Drew has been tracking down some wonderful foods from small producers in East Anglia and driving them to London restaurants. Thanks to him, for this recipe I used great-tasting pork from Roger Human, who trades under the name Tavern Tasty Meats. Any fresh beans in season go well with the meat but I matched it with fresh borlotti and cannellini beans and a salsa verde made with garden herbs.

1 loin of pork, boned, with the rind removed, weighing about 1-1.5kg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A selection of seasonal beans and/or peas, around 120g, podded weight, per person
A handful of basil leaves
3-4tbsp olive oil

for the salsa verde

40g mint leaves
40g parsley leaves
40g green basil leaves
3tbsp capers, washed
200-250ml extra virgin olive
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2tsp Dijon mustard
6-8 anchovy fillets (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

First make the salsa verde by blending all the ingredients in a liquidiser to a coarse purée and then seasoning. You may need to add a little more olive oil to bind the herbs.

Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/Gas mark 7. Score the fat of the pork in a criss-cross fashion and season. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, turning it halfway through, then turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas mark 3. Cook for 3 hours, basting and turning it a couple more times. For the last 45 minutes finish it fat-side-up.

Cook the beans individually until tender then toss them with the basil leaves and olive oil. Slice the pork into thickish 1cm slices and serve either on plates with the beans and a spoonful of salsa verde or on platters for guests to help themselves from.

Garden salad

Serves 4

For me a garden salad can include anything you've got in the garden - chives, nasturtiums and the odd pea shoot, young dandelion leaves or even chickweed if you have it growing on your paths. You can grow herbs and lettuces in even the smallest outside space. Your nearest garden centre will probably be really helpful - I've become such a regular at my new local, North One, I'm in danger of putting down roots. If you're behind with the weeding, don't worry. It's surprising how many weeds, including the now ubiquitous and widely cultivated rocket, are edible. Make sure you always wash and dry salad leaves from the garden or market.

120-150g small salad leaves like the above named, washed and dried
Peas and beans, spring onions, radishes and home-grown tomatoes all make good additions

for the dressing

2tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp Dijon mustard
6-7tbsp rapeseed oil, or half vegetable and half olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season. Dress the leaves and mix well.

Coconut pudding with tropical fruits

Serves 4

9g leaf gelatine (3 sheets)
100ml milk
40g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways and seeds scraped out and retained
400ml coconut milk
200ml double cream
2 passion fruits
1tbsp caster sugar
1 small ripe mango, peeled, stone removed and cut into rough 1-11/2cm chunks
1 paw paw, peeled, halved and seeded and cut into rough 1-11/2cm chunks

Soak the gelatine in cold water in a bowl or roasting tin for a few minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Bring the milk to the boil with the sugar and vanilla pod and seeds, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine until dissolved. Remove the pods, rinse and dry them. If you keep them in a jar of sugar it can be used to give custards and desserts a subtle vanilla flavour.

Leave the milk to cool then whisk into the coconut milk and cream. Pour into moulds (such as small cups or ramekins) and leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the seeds out into a pan. Add the sugar and 50ml of water, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Turn out the puddings by dipping the moulds briefly in hot water then turning them upside down on to serving dishes.

To serve stir the mango and paw paw into the syrup and spoon around the puddings.

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