Justine Schofield’s easy summer food ideas

When it’s so hot you can’t face cooking, whip together these quick and easy meal ideas from celebrity chef Justine Schofield.

After spending 28 days in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, Justine Schofield didn’t think she would ever face up to beans again.

With limited rations on hand, Justine tried every trick in the book to make beans seem more appealing to her campmates. She fried them. She mashed them. She drizzled them with olive oil and folded them through rice.

By the end of her time on the show, she was sick to death of beans and hankering for a nice juicy hamburger.

A year on and beans are back on the menu at Justine’s place, just in time for summer.

The TV chef says the most important staple in her pantry, aside from tinned tuna, is the humble bean.

And she isn’t ashamed to admit she always has good-quality sausages in her freezer so that she can whip up a quick meal of sausages and beans for dinner.

“A tin of beans or tuna is so versatile; never underestimate the power of a well-stocked pantry,” she says.

“Tuna makes a great filler for pasta sauces and pasta bakes, simple salads like the classic Nicoise. It also saves you having to go out and buy protein after work. And it’s cost effective.”

Beans aside, here are some of Justine’s other quick and easy summer go-to meals:

Cold soups

Don’t think hearty minestrone or a steaming bowl of chicken broth.

Justine, 34, loves nothing more than to dish up a bowl of chilled cucumber soup with crunchy croutons, or a delicious gazpacho using lots of fresh tomato.

Make the most of your barbeque

Forget what Paul Hogan said about chucking prawns on the barbie – Justine’s best tip is to throw on some vegetables.

Whenever Justine takes the time to fire up the barbecue, she always makes sure she adds whatever vegies are in her fridge to the mix.

She then preserves them in oil and stores them in the fridge to add flavour to meals during the week.

“Adding charred and marinated vegies into the mix will always brighten up your summer meal,” she says.

“You can add as a side to any dish to add an extra pop of colour and fresh flavour.”

‘Lighter’ meats

Just because the temperature is rising that doesn’t mean classic dishes like lasagne are off the menu.

Justine sees summer as an opportunity to give an old favourite a fresh twist.

“Rather than doing a traditional beef lasagne I have done one with seafood. Or with pulled chicken,” she says.

“I recently had one in Florence that was beautifully delicate and made with pesto. It was so simple but delicious.”

Salads done right

When Justine was growing up meals always finished the same way, with a simple green salad.

In France, where Justine’s mother was raised, salads aren’t served on a plate with the main meal but are instead used to cleanse the palate at the end of a meal.

Justine follows this tradition whenever she hosts a dinner party for friends.

“I have always said that my last-ever meal would be a steak, chips and béarnaise sauce full stop,” she says.

“But with a green salad to follow, of course!”

Written by Erin Miller.