' data-src768='A group of friends enjoying a self-catered lunch by their villa's private pool' data-src0='A group of friends enjoying a self-catered lunch by their villa's private pool'> A group of friends enjoying a self-catered lunch by their villa's private pool

Food


Easy Self-Catering Meals


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Mealtimes are as much about enjoying each other as enjoying the food on your plate. From laughter around the barbecue, to the youngest family members trying new tastes, and flowing conversation across the table – eating is a shared experience.

On holiday, the beauty of self-catering is that you’re in control. And with simple delicious ingredients you can create something special in no time at all, so you’re back around the table with the ones you love most.

Food writer and stylist Charlie Clapp brings us some fail-safe recipes that are quick and easy to rustle up on your villa holiday.

A little light lunch

Sweet peach, crispy parma ham and mozzarella salad

Sweet peach, crispy parma ham and mozzarella salad

Serves 2

4 slices of Parma or locally cured ham

150g mozzarella

2 ripe peaches or nectarines, halved and destoned

2 handfuls of rocket

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat then cook the ham, turning once until crisp. Halve your peaches, removing the stone, then cut each into two or three wedges. The pan should have all the lovely fat from the ham, so keep it on the heat and add your peach wedges. Cook for 30 seconds on each side until charred and softening, then remove and set aside in your chosen serving bowl.

Meanwhile assemble your salad. In a small jar or jug add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Stir well until emulsified. Roughly tear apart the mozzarella into bite sized pieces and add to the bowl with the peaches and the rocket, placing the crisp Parma ham on top. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Main attractions

Stuffed aubergines with giant couscous (v)

Stuffed aubergines with giant couscous

Serves 4

4 aubergines

Drizzle of olive oil

4 garlic cloves, skin on

250g couscous

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

50g cheddar cheese

Handful of pinenuts

Small bunch each of mint and coriander, finely chopped

1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°c. Halve the aubergines lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern and place flesh side up in a baking tray. Drizzle with a little oil. Nestle the garlic cloves amongst them and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the aubergine flesh is tender.

Meanwhile place the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 5 minutes, then fork through to seperate the grains.

When the aubergines and garlic are ready, scoop the flesh from each aubergine half with a spoon making sure you keep the skin and shape of the aubergine intact. Then roughly chop and place in the bowl with the couscous. Squeeze the soft flesh from the garlic cloves and add. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pinenuts for a minute or two until golden, then tumble into the bowl along with the chopped tomatoes and chilli. Add most of the herbs, setting some aside for serving. Then finely grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze in the juice. Season well and stir everything to combine. Divide the mix into 8 and stuff each aubergine half with the mix. Grate over the cheddar cheese and return to the oven for 15 minutes to warm through, then remove and finish with a last scattering of herbs.

Serve with a green salad.

Garlic prawn spaghetti

Garlic prawn spaghetti served with lemon

Serves 4

400g spaghetti

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

Handful of chopped parsley

350g – 400g fresh large prawns

(if using prawns with the skin on then you’ll need 600g)

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 red chilli or 1tsp dried chilli flakes

Place a large pan of salted water over a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for around 9 minutes or until al dente.

Meanwhile heat the oil and butter together in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once the butter has started to sizzle add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is just turning golden then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside while you cook the prawns. Add the prawns and zest of lemon to the lovely garlic infused butter and oil and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes until the prawns are pink and just cooked. Return the garlic to the pan along with the chilli.

Drain your spaghetti keeping aside a mug of cooking liquid, then add to your garlicy prawns along with a good splash of the cooking liquid and the juice of the lemon. Season well with plenty of salt and pepper, stir through the parsley then divide between 4 hungry people.

Always room for dessert

Healthy pavlova cup

Healthy pavlova cup full to the brim with fresh strawberries

Serves 4

4 individual ready made meringues (or one large ready made meringue)

400g plain yoghurt

200g strawberries, sliced

4 tbsp runny honey

2 ripe passion fruit

50g pistachios

Small bunch of mint, leaves picked and finely shredded

Roughly crush the meringue and divide half between four serving glasses. Top with half the yoghurt and scatter over most of the sliced strawberries and a drizzle of honey. Repeat with the remaining meringue, yoghurt and strawberries.

Scoop the flesh from the passion fruit and divide between your glasses. Roughly chop the pistachios and scatter over with the mint to finish.

Feeling inspired? There’s plenty more top food tips where those came from! Part of what makes a villa holiday so much fun is the freedom self-catering offers. Whether you’re whipping up family favourites, or creating new classics, you’re always in charge of the menu!

Charlie Clapp

Charlie Clapp is a guest writer at James Villa Holidays.

See all articles by Charlie Clapp

See all articles by Charlie Clapp


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