Eating big, hearty meals at this time of the year can seem like the last thing anyone wants to do: unless, of course, those big hearty meals are cooked outside and served in a bread roll. But, at the same time, all those salads can get a little bit boring after a while. For the first couple of days of alfresco dining, armed with a big wooden bowl of mixed raw vegetables and a pair of salad tongs, it's fun, easy, cheap, healthy. After a little while, sifting through the lettuce leaves for interesting bits of flavour can be a bit of a chore, and the sight of a tomato, washed and waiting for you to try and turn it into unusual-shaped pieces is too much to bear. Baking flans, tarts and pies that can be left to cool and then served cold, in slices, with something light on the side, is a good way to liven up your late-summer diet. They're just as good as a starter and main course as they are a dessert-dependent on ingredients, obviously, but the techniques remain the same-they can keep for a few days in the fridge, and they're relatively low-maintenance and easy to put together. There's also something very satisfying about managing to get one looking absolutely perfect: a quiche, when it goes into the oven, looks like a volcanic mess, destined to fail, but when it emerges golden-brown, steam hissing from the edges, all crisp pastry, firm filling and lovely aromas, it's as if something magic has happened.