Sun, sea and sand are all very well, but it's not until you're clutching a surf-and-turf burger and a cold beer that you know you're really on holiday.
Surf-club cafes and beachside pubs have the best tried-and-true summer menus, full of fish and chips, steak sandwiches, crumbed calamari and buckets of prawns that are just the ticket when you've been in and out of the water all day and the sea salt has dried into faint tide-marks on your skin.
No problem if you can't get to the beach, because this sort of food will make you think you're on holiday wherever you are.
A big breakfast bruschetta of ciabatta loaded with beans, bacon and fried eggs will set you up for the day ahead, regardless of whether you're out catching waves or just dreaming about it.
A prawn salad makes an easy-breezy lunch, with its freshly cooked prawns, avocado, radish and leaves drizzled with creamy green goddess dressing.
Then there's a towering surf-and-turf burger that tops juicy chorizo and beef burger meat with crumbed calamari rings, beetroot, lettuce and tomato that's just plain surftastic.
SURF AND TURF BEACH BURGER
The ultimate post-beach meal: a sizzling, barbecued, spicy beef burger topped with beetroot, tomato, lettuce, crumbed calamari rings and mayo.
600g coarsely minced beef, not too lean
1 fresh chorizo sausage, skinned
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped parsley
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
Sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil for brushing
4 slices pancetta
2 medium calamari tubes, sliced (1cm)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 burger buns, split
1 tbsp olive oil
8 soft lettuce (such as salanova) leaves
2 tbsp mayonnaise or aioli
4 slices pickled beetroot
2 tomatoes, sliced
Heat the grill. Using your hands, mix beef, chorizo sausage, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Form four thick patties by patting the meat down into a 9cm ring mould.
Brush the burgers with olive oil and grill or pan-fry over low to medium heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until browned - beware of burning - and cooked to your liking. Grill or pan-fry the pancetta until crisp. Keep warm.
Dip the calamari rings into beaten egg, then coat in breadcrumbs.
Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. When hot, fry the calamari, turning once, until golden.
Brush the cut sides of the buns, including the rims, with olive oil and lightly grill until just coloured.
To build the burger, arrange lettuce on the base bun, add the burger, top with pancetta, mayonnaise, crumbed calamari, beetroot, tomato and remaining lettuce. Secure the top bun with a satay stick.
PRAWN SALAD WITH GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
You can't beat a plate of fresh, pink prawns for lunch, especially teamed with a gorgeous green goddess dressing inspired by sunny California.
6 baby potatoes
2 avocados (half of one is for the dressing)
16-20 cooked king prawns, peeled, tails left on
100g rocket leaves, washed
3 small pink radishes, finely sliced
Small red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp small basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil for serving
1 lemon, cut into wedges
For the green goddess dressing:
Half avocado (see above), chopped
3 tbsp basil leaves
3 tbsp parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped chives
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp low-fat yoghurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Cook the potatoes in simmering salted water until tender, about 15 minutes, remove, drain, cool and cut in half or slice.
Whiz the ingredients for the green goddess dressing in a blender until smooth and almost fluffy - whiz again with a dash of water if too thick. Refrigerate until use.
To serve, slice the remaining 1½ avocados longways. Toss the rocket in 1 tbsp olive oil and scatter over each dinner plate. Arrange prawns, potatoes, avocado and radish on top. Drizzle with green goddess dressing and top with red onion, basil leaves and a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges.
The sort of breakfast that's good before you go surfing, after you've been surfing, or if you have no intention of ever going surfing. Serve with fried eggs for the complete package.
6 small roma tomatoes, cut in half
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp thyme sprigs
1 tbsp rosemary sprigs
4 slices prosciutto or bacon
2 x 400g canned beans (cannellini or borlotti), drained
400g canned tomatoes
1 tbsp soft brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
4 ciabatta rolls, split
4 slices cheddar or Jarlsberg cheese
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
Handful baby spinach leaves
4 fried eggs
Heat the oven to 180C. Drizzle cut tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, scatter with thyme and rosemary and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. Place the bacon or prosciutto alongside and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Combine the drained beans and tomatoes in a pan. Add brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, dried chilli, sea salt and pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil and 200ml water and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes until thick. Stir in the parsley.
Heat the grill. Toast the ciabatta, then rub with cut garlic cloves and brush with 1 tbsp olive oil. Place cheese on top and return to the grill for 30 seconds until cheese softens. Top each ciabatta with a spoonful or two of beans, a few spinach leaves and roasted tomatoes.
Fold the bacon or prosciutto in two and place on top. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve with fried eggs.
-Sydney Morning Herald
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