A Taste of Midsummer

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There are certain smells, tastes and sounds which, to me, herald the height of the British summer: the sound of larks in a cloudless sky above shimmering-hot fields; the scented taste of the first ripe strawberries mellowed with a sweet, yellow Jersey Cream; the faintly acrid, smokey flavour of barbecued meat. This supper incorporates all of the best things about summer: vegetables delicately cooked to bring out their sweetness; sharp salads; salty, rich grilled fish. And the best, and simplest summer pudding of them all.

Strawberries

In Devon, we are lucky enough to live near one of the only surviving Pick your Own farms left in the country. Each summer my family make a ceremonial trip to this farm, and pick and eat our (not insubstantial) weight in fruit. Neither the exorbitant price of the fruit, nor the farmer’s glares at our crimson-smudged faces, can sour the taste of our warm and fragrant cache.

Serves 6-8

Barbecued Whole Salmon

1 Salmon, gutted

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Oil the salmon well, and season with salt and pepper all over. Cook on a hot barbecue for about 15 mins each side, trying to turn as little as possible. (if unsure whether it is done or not, prod the cavity and if it feels firm to the touch then it is cooked.)

You shall have a fishy

You shall have a fishy

Hollandaise

3 egg yolks

225g unsalted butter

slat and pepper

6 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp water

Juice half a lemon

Reduce the vinegar and water in a small pan to half it’s volume.  Cut the butter into small cubes and bring to room temp.Put this reduction and the yolks into a pudding basin over a bain-marie of just simmering water. Add in a cube of butter at a time, whisking all the while, and when it has melted, add another. Continue, whisking each time to melt the butter before incorporating the next nugget. When the butter is finished you should have a sauce of mayonnaise like consistency, if not then turn up the heat and keep whisking until you do. Remove from the heat and stir in the seasoning to taste, and the lemon juice. Serve warm.

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New Potatoes with Herb Butter

1 kg  new potatoes

50 g butter

handful chopped parsley

handful chopped chives

Boil the potatoes in salted water with some sprigs of mint until soft (20 mins). Drain, remove the mint, and dollop on the butter and chopped herbs. Serve warm.

Slow Cooked Courgettes with Mint and Almonds

6 small courgettes

4 cloves garlic

100 ml olive oil

30 g butter

salt and pepper

3 sprigs mint

squeeze lemon

50g flaked almonds

Slice the courgettes finely. Slice the garlic and fry it in the oil until golden. Add the butter and the courgettes and fry on a medium heat for about 30 mins, stirring regularly, until the courgettes are soft and golden. Toast the flaked almonds under a medium grill until golden. Add in the chopped mint the the courgettes, season them well and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle over the almonds and serve warm.

Tomato Salad with Basil and Ricotta 

1 kg tomatoes

50 ml red wine vinegar

100ml extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

Pepper

8 basil leaves

8 tsp fresh ricotta

Slice tomatoes, arrange prettily, dollop on ricotta and tear over basil. Mix dressing and pour over.

Strawberries and Cream.

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Jersey Cream and the best strawberries

Hull the strawberries and halve them. Bring to room temp if cold. Sprinkle over 1 Tbsp fine sugar ad a squeeze of lemon juice, to enhance flavour and encourage the juices. Serve with the best cold cream.

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