08/12/2017 11:31 SAST | Updated 08/12/2017 11:32 SAST

Light-weight Duos -- Your Guilt-free Pinterest-Ready Summer Chill Menu

Looking for divine Summer meals without the guilt? We’ve got you covered.

You've worked too hard for that Summer body to let it all go pear-shaped over the festive season. So what must happen now? Well, you can still have exquisite meals and just as incredible drinks and still keep that body intact. We've asked popular chefs, Lesego Semenya, known on Insta and Twitter streets as LesdaChef and Chef Jack Coetzee of the popular urban garde restaurant, Urbanologi to help you out.

Here, they give you their lightest and most delicious Summer meal and drink pairs that are also sure to blow your lunch or dinner guests away.

1. Seafood noodles with vegetables in soy sauce and ginger

You can never go wrong with seafood in your weight-watching efforts. Seafood is not only rich with the good stuff – Omega 3 (salmon and tuna) but is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, as well as naturally low in calories as a protein source (i.e. prawns). Chef Lesego says that for his Seafood Noodles dish he also used whole-wheat noodles as they are not overly processed like normal noodles, as well as having natural wheat fibres that help your digestive system along. He also used soy sauce, instead of salt as a healthier source of seasoning.


How to make this dish:

Cook the noodles in simmering water for 3 minutes, you want them soft but still firm and slightly undercooked. In a separate pan heat the pan on a high heat, once it's sufficiently hot pour about 2 spoons of the olive oil. Cook the prawns in the pan, once browned, remove the prawns and add the cabbage and spring onions to the same pan. Stir for about 2 minutes. Add a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to the pan as well as a few squirts of soy sauce. Add the prawns and noodles back to the pan. Toss for a minute, remove from the heat. Toss the rocket and salmon into the pan just before serving. Drizzle further with more soy sauce, ginger and spring onions.

Pair this dish with a cocktail of gin, sparkling water and sugar-free grapefruit juice with berries.

2. Swordfish sashimi with a Sriracha vinaigrette served with fresh plums, deep fried ginger and garnished with red amaranth

Here's another fresh and vibrant fish dish, this time by Chef Jack. Chef Jack says you can any range of fish from tilapia to tuna - just make sure you get your fish from a reputable supplier and the fish is kept under 5˚C. Though fish is the hero of the dish, fresh fruit is a great compliment to fish. He's also added succulent plums to the dish, just as they are starting to come back onto the market again, though still pretty early in the season.


How to make this dish:

Chef Jack used Sriracha vinaigrette to help create the delicious flavour of the fish. Then mixes lemon with the Sriracha to make a wonderful balance of slightly spicy and acidic notes. The dressing being oil-based will also help make sure that flavours are not too overpowering. To finish off the dish, he uses deep fried ginger. Apart from the ginger's obvious health benefits, it will add some much-needed texture. Garnishing with red amaranth will keep things fresh.

Chef Jack says you can pair this with a citrus-based gin and tonic and complete it with a garnish of fresh thyme and cucumber. A perfect way to spend a summer's day!

3. Coffee rubbed rump steak with tomato relish and chickpea couscous

For meat lovers, Chef Lesego suggests this steak dish with tomato relish. He says that tomatoes and chillies are full of Vitamin C. Both the coffee and chilli have also been found to be rich in antioxidants, which are good for you're the health of your heart. He recommends using olive oil to add essential fatty acids to your diet. He serves it with couscous as a better source of starch than processed starches.


How to make this dish:

Chef Lesego says you start by rubbing a 1 kg rump steak with a mixture of ground coffee, bbq spice, sea salt, ground coriander, thyme and 2 spoons olive oil. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before preparing to your liking. To make the sauce, slice cherry tomatoes into quarters, chop Habanero chillies fine and slice spring onions thin. Mix together with Worcestershire sauce, 2 spoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons vinegar. For the couscous: chop sun-dried tomatoes and mix into cooked couscous, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Lastly, add the chickpeas and chopped coriander.

Pair this with a VSOP Cognac, like Bisquit with just a little bit of sparkling water.

Meal 4: Baby Carrots: Roasted baby carrots in marmalade, on top of a star anise labneh garnished with sumac and carrot tops

This Lebanese-inspired dish is for all our summer body, conscious vegetarians. Carrots (preferably the awesome baby heirloom variety) are the hero here – providing with a wide range of nutrients and vitamins as well as having some kick-ass health benefits. The carrots are served on Labneh - a hung greek yoghurt cheese – which a byproduct of fermentation, which has a lot of probiotics that boost your immune system.


How to make this dish:

Clean the carrots cleaned, taking off the tops – which you can set aside for garnish later. Gently roast the carrot in marmalade until cooked. Chef Jack says he stands the carrots up in Lebnah flavoured with star anise (liquorice and carrots are heavenly) and a little orange blossom water, which adds a slight floral note to the dish which helps keep everything fresh. To complete the dish he sprinkled sumac, which is a middle eastern spice and garnished with the saved carrots tops.

Chef Jack says you can pair this dish with a fruity beer or cider. Fruity beers and ciders will bring out the best of the dish, highlighting the sweetness of the carrots and the floral notes from the labneh.

5. Angelfish and cashew nut hummus

This angelfish dish by Chef Lesego has a cashew and chickpea hummus, adding natural protein and oils instead of a typical starch like rice or potatoes. He says that the angelfish itself is naturally low in calories and when prepared the way it has been prepared in this recipe you won't be adding unnecessary processed fats. The simpler the fish preparation the better it is for preserving nutrients. The vegetables add extra vitamin and minerals. By quickly sautéing veggies instead of boiling them you keep a lot of their nutrients intact.


How to make this dish:

Toss 50g red cabbage, baby corn, carrots and ginger in a hot pan with a little olive oil for 2 minutes. Add about 2 spoons of soy sauce. Keep on the hot pan for another 2 minutes. Remove. To make the hummus, use a hand blender to blend half a can of chickpeas for a minute in a bowl. Add 50g roasted plain cashews to the chickpeas and blend the mixture again. Slowly stream in olive oil whilst still blending. Add the sesame seeds and a few pinches of sea salt. Set aside. Set the heat in your oven to 200°C on the grill function. To prepare the angelfish, get a non-stick pan really hot on your stove. Pour a bit of oil into the pan and gently drop your 2 fillets of fish skin-side down. Only flip the fish once the skin has become crispy. Once suitably browned, put the fish on an oven tray and place in the oven to grill for 5 minutes. Serve with the vegetables and hummus.

Pair this dish with a light calorie beer or cider.

6. White anchovies on top of black garlic emulsion and crispy chicken skin.

Chef Jack says that white anchovies are packed with a lot of minerals and nutrients, most notably calcium, iron and sodium. He places the anchovies on a crispy chicken skin! Chicken skin is quite a hotly debated topic amongst health fanatics. However, consumed in reasonable amounts, chicken skin can add huge amounts of flavour to your food without being detrimental to your waistline. In fact, the skin's fat is mainly monounsaturated in the form of oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil and is known for beneficial effects on cholesterol.


Prepare anchovies to your liking. Add a black garlic aioli to go in between the anchovies and chicken skin. Black garlic is a fermented and has been known to have some serious health benefits. That aside, it has the most incredible flavour that brings the chicken skin and anchovies together.

Pair this with a chilled white wine. Chenin blanc and Chardonnay highlight the dish's flavours beautifully.

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