Hints & Tips
I just adore this season when it comes to food. The bounty of the late Summer is so exciting to the taste buds if, like me, you are an enthusiastic amateur cook who loves creating simple recipes from fresh seasonal ingredients.
“What’s that?” you say. “She’s come over all Hugh Fernley-What-Ja-Ma-Call-Him all of a sudden. What’s all this about seasonal food and all that?” Yes. I admit it. I know I can often appear to be the most flippant and devil may care young gel in the home counties when it comes to culinary affairs, and my oft-times louche lifestyle means I have eaten my fair share of finger-on-the-pulse, contemporary street food, tawdry takeaways, fab festival food and far too much jolly decent restaurant fare but when it gets to summer I get all solid and serious about good, old-fashioned home cooking and can often be found flouncing about in my sunflower yellow kitchen doing a fairly decent impression of the long lost daughter of Delia Smith and Nigel Slater. Now there’s a thought.
So. Yesterday’s breakfast involved yoghurt, porridge and a home made compote of raspberries, damsons and plums – all locally grown and produced by friends and acquaintances on various allotments and garden plots. Lovely. The day before it was a big smoothie made with…
- 1 small handful strawberries
- 1 small handful raspberries
- 1 small handful of blackberries
- 2 ripe plums
- 1 banana (not seasonal or local but hey…)
- 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
- 1 large pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoonful of good honey
- cold milk.
You really should try it. Just stick it all in a blender and go for it. There really is nothing like lots of fresh zingy fruit in a smoothie of a morning. It makes one feel so healthy and considerably less guilty about the curry you had last night or the large bacon sandwich you will probably have mid morning.
A lot of the plums I have been consuming were donated by my good friend and green-fingered superhero Brody. These prime examples of the fruit really are amazing, tasty, juicy and firm, best I’ve tasted for years, and he seems to have an inexhaustible supply on his tree. He can’t get rid of them fast enough. No problem as far as I am concerned. As well as the compote and the smoothie there was a delectable pie that little Jack Horner would have been happy to sit in a corner with. Also a gentle warm chutney involving plums, spices and a drop of armagnac, served up with a lovely juicy pork chop and boiled new potatoes. Gorgeous.
And what about the summer vegetables? Wow. I have recently been inundated with summer squashes and courgettes in an almost unending variation of shapes, sizes and colours, and the courgettes in particular have been fantastic. I have done everything from making them into a very tasty soup with a touch of chilli, celery and home made stock to halving them, tossing them in olive oil then roasting them with garlic and lemons to accompany the obligatory Sunday chicken.
Delicious carrots from my friend’s garden have been roasted, again with the Sunday lunch, or peeled, shredded and mixed with home grown beets, radishes and some red cabbage then dressed with honey vinegar and a little sea salt to create a tasty and almost pickly salad served with a home roasted ham, sautéed potatoes and a golden yolked poached egg.
I love a good, firm, radish, particularly when they have that real spicy bite and I am quite happy just eating a bunch of them with a sliver of Etorki cheese, some salt a piece of granary bread and butter (yes, butter, none of your spreadable dyed fat for me). Yum.
So. Yes. a slightly different blog from me this week but I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the food at this time of year and I would encourage you to either grow your own or do what I do and beg borrow or steal produce from anyone you can. Fresh and delicious, it’s what the summer is all about.
And if you are thinking about new gardening equipment in the meantime, from a shiny new mower to a super lawn tractor or a powerful brushcutter to take down that wilderness at the back of your garden, just visit us at MowDirect and see what’s in our summer sale while it lasts, or call and get some expert advice from our top product team on 0345 4588 905 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri & 10am-4pm Sat) They are really good, and so say our customers…
“Fantastic Service… honest and pointed me in the right direction to make sure I got the right tool for the job” MIKE
See ya. Holly.