stay up to date

subscribe now

Searching for the perfect summer spread? Julia Busuttil Nishimura is here to help


At Koala, we think there’s nothing better than a summer filled with mates and bloody good food. To lend you a hand in the kitchen, we’ve partnered with Booktopia to bring you recipe reccos from some of our favourite cookbooks. With something for all levels, dig in and feast your eyes on these culinary delights.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura sitting at a table with cookbooks. There is a bookcase in the background.
Food writer Julia Busuttil Nishimura shares her favourite summer recipes

With the festive season lurking around the corner, our new-found freedoms are bound to revolve around reconnecting with loved ones, recharging after a long year and whipping out the apron. Julia Busuttil Nishimura, award-winning Melbourne-based food writer and Italian teacher, has similar plans, and she’s pulled together a laid back summer feast menu from her favourite cookbooks. 

Food is one of the universal loves that keeps us connected, and let’s face it – any physical interaction in this era calls for a celebration of sorts! Think fresh citrus, tangy flavour notes  and unexplored spices dotted across your Serenity Dining Table. Designed to host your best nights, our furniture is no stranger to a summer spread.

Featuring simple recipes made with easy entertaining in mind, Julia’s summer dinner party menu is the crème de la crème – trust us. 

What’s your secret to a perfect summer feast?

My inspiration for any menu always comes from the produce that is in season. I will usually plan the meal based on something special or particular that I’ve found at the market or grocer. Then I work around that ingredient and build it out from there. Each course has a special place and needs to be harmonious and compliment each other. It’s nice to have a balance of lighter things and then something with more substance. I like food which can be made mostly ahead so I can enjoy the time at the table and not be so much in the kitchen, although I leave a few jobs for when friends or family arrive. It’s always lovely to do the final flourishes with people around helping you, it feels more connected that way. Overall though, I like to make things that I crave and that I enjoy cooking. My menus are essentially dictated by my mood and the season. 

You’ve created a menu plan with inspiration from your favourite cookbooks – let’s hear it!

Med by Claudia Roden

Collage image of cookbook cover, dish and recipe page
Fish Tartare with Tomato VInaigrette from Med by Claudia Roden available at Booktopia

What’s the recipe?

A zingy fish tartare with tomato vinaigrette.

Why is this recipe a goer?

I love beginning a meal with a tartare of fish, especially in summer time. Roden’s is with a tomato vinaigrette and is so bright and zingy.

Always add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez

Collage image of cookbook cover, dish and recipe page
Radish with preserved lemon, feta, mint and sesame from Always add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez available at Booktopia

What’s the recipe?

Crispy radish with preserved lemon, feta, mint and sesame.

Why is this recipe a goer?

Danielle is a master with flavours and I love this fresh salad as an accompaniment to my Yoghurt roast chicken. It has the perfect balance of crunch, creaminess and pepperiness from the radishes. I love it.


A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Collage image of cookbook cover, dish and recipe page
Yoghurt Roast Chicken with Cucumber Salad from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura available at Booktopia

What’s the recipe?

A tangy yoghurt roast chicken with cucumber salad.

Why is this recipe a goer?

I chose this recipe as it’s such a family favourite of ours. The chicken is always so juicy and tender and full of flavour. It’s super simple to make and always such a crowd pleaser.


Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

Collage image of cookbook cover, dish and recipe page
No-churn Strawberry Ice Cream from Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley available at Booktopia

What’s the recipe?

No-churn strawberry ice cream – a traditional Tunisian frozen dessert called Bouza

Why is this recipe a goer?

Although I do own an ice cream churn, I am always on the lookout for good no-churn ice creams. They are perfect for when you want a simpler ice cream or if I’m cooking away from my kitchen. I love this recipe as it’s not too sweet and has the addition of sumac to it which gives the ice cream delicious lemony flavour.

From a light, lemony entree to a creamy frozen farewell treat, Julia Ostro carries the world of simple (yet stunning) recipes on her sleeve. As a social summer graces us, there’s no better way to re-enter life with a bang than a summer spread like this.


Julia’s Yoghurt Roast Chicken with Cucumber Salad

Yoghurt roast chicken and salad on a table

Ingredients

Yoghurt Roast Chicken

4 chicken marylands (about 1.3 kg in total)

250 g (1 cup) plain full-fat yoghurt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, finely grated

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves reserved

pinch of sea salt lemon cheeks, to serve

Cucumber Salad

4 Lebanese cucumbers, roughly chopped

1 small red onion, finely sliced

handful of mint and coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

juice of 1⁄2 lemon sea salt

1 teaspoon sumac

Method

Place the chicken in a large non-reactive bowl along with the yoghurt, olive oil, garlic, spices, lemon zest, coriander stalks and salt. Using your hands, work the marinade into the chicken, ensuring everything is well mixed and the chicken is completely coated. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Arrange the chicken pieces, skin-side up, in a single layer in a shallow roasting dish or tin, pouring any excess marinade on top. Allow the chicken to come back to room temperature, then roast for 40–45 minutes or until the chicken is nicely coloured and cooked through.

Meanwhile, for the salad, combine the cucumber, onion and herbs in a medium bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Sprinkle over the sumac.

Serve the yoghurt chicken with the cucumber salad and lemon cheeks.

Head to the Koala x Booktopia storefront for more recommendations and get 10% off already discounted prices.

*The offer excludes gift certificates, eBooks, shipping, magazine and audio subscriptions, gift wrapping, and cannot be used with another promotional offer.

Shop Now

stay up to date - subscribe now