One of the best things about going abroad is getting stuck into that first evening meal under the setting sun. Imagine the orange light illuminating off the plates, or the sound of clinking glasses mixed with the crash of waves on a nearby beach. Such a tranquil sensation is exactly what makes self-catering villa holidays so desirable.
If you’re looking into holiday villas – or already have one booked – here’s a few of our favourite self catering ideas for alfresco meals. These flavoursome recipes are best enjoyed sat on a terrace, after a long day spent soaking up that ever-sought vitamin D.
Lamb kebabs with Greek salad
Lamb is a staple of the Greek diet and can be prepared very easily. Take some lamb steaks and cut them into chunks, then marinate in oregano, garlic and olive oil. Fix the lamb onto some kebab skewers with similarly sized pieces of bell pepper and red onion, then cook in a hot oven or on a barbecue for ten to 15 minutes.
For the Greek salad, chop up a handful of ripe tomatoes and cucumber. Proceed to mix them with sliced red onion, crumbled feta, black olives, olive oil, before adding salt, pepper and dried oregano for the seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil. Fresh, tasty and oh-so-simple.
The omelette is a beloved staple meal for many, but did you know you can create a traditional Spanish version (known as tortilla Española) with just a few additions? Start by gently frying chopped onions and red peppers, then toss in cooked slices of potato. Beat and season a few eggs, then add them to the pan.
Leave it to cook for around 15 minutes, until the omelette can be lifted and is golden brown on the bottom. Crisp it up a little under the grill, then serve with a dressed green salad.
Greek vegetable bake
A popular dish in Greece is briam, which is made up of mixed roasted vegetables seasoned with garlic and parsley. Briam can be eaten alongside grilled fish or chicken, but it also makes for a delicious light dinner on its own.
To start with, slice up a small amount of skinned tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, red onions and courgettes. Then, mix them all together with minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a dish, cover with foil and bake in the oven for up to two hours, uncovering and turning the vegetable mixture halfway through. Finish with shreds of parsley and feta.
Piri piri chicken
Piri piri chicken is loved across Portugal and the wider world, and luckily for you, it’s quite easy to prepare. Take skin-on chicken legs and cover with a marinade made from red chillies, garlic, oregano, vinegar, lemon, oil, salt and sugar. Roast and soften some red peppers, before chucking them on top of everything.
Leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for several hours and then bring it back to room temperature. Grill or barbecue the meat, basting with the leftover marinade. Once the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the heat and serve with crusty bread and green vegetables.
Ready, steady, cook! Here’s our selection of some self-catering rentals where you can whip up flavours from the Mediterranean and beyond.
By Imogen Bishop, a part time travel writer, part time restaurant critic, and full-time mum. She has an affinity for Mediterranean cuisine and can usually be found in the kitchen with a bottle of olive oil in hand.