Although it’s been a bit cooler over the last few weeks than is entirely respectable for spring, much of England is under a drought warning so summer must be around the corner! One thing about summer that you have to love is the availability of lots more fresh fruit and veg. Not only is it available, but it doesn’t have to travel across continents to get to your local shops. Summer cooking offers the chance to experiment and broaden your diet – especially if you conscientiously stick to the local/seasonal produce mantra that has become popular in recent years. If anything we can be spoilt for choice at this time of year so here are a few summer recipe ideas to get you underway.
From Simple Suppers to Delicious Desserts
- The twenty minute meal is a favourite amongst certain TV chefs and there are plenty of easy-cook summer meals that fit the category. Try poaching chicken breasts in chicken stock to create a chicken salad with seasonal vegetables. The chicken should only take about twenty minutes to cook; in the meantime boil new potatoes and blanch mange tout with sugar snap peas. Mix these with mint, lemon or lime juice, natural yogurt and season with salt, pepper and paprika for an extra kick. Cool the chicken and mix all the ingredients together and serve.
- Beans don’t need to be baked to be a treat and bean salads are a great accompaniment to add to a main meal or have handy for a barbeque. Heat broad beans and/or kidney beans gently and crisps some torn bread and Parma Ham in the oven. Mix the ham, bread and beans together and add Feta cheese lemon juice and mint leaves. Very simple, very elegant and very, very tasty.
- Fruit boxes are filled with goodies at this time of year and even if you get a regular delivery, or order online groceries, the only problem is that fruit has a short shelf life. In addition to blending fruit that’s seen better days to make Smoothies, a whole range of fruit can be used up quickly and tastily as a topping for tarts. Deceptively impressive to make, a simple approach to tarts requires a base of crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter mixed and pressed into the bottom of a cake tin. Pop this in the fridge for around an hour, or until thoroughly set. Mix mascarpone and vanilla together and pour over the biscuit base, top with your fruit of choice and hey presto you’ll have an impressed silence at tea table followed by a mad scramble for the pudding!
Fresh Produce Supply Tips
As with fresh fruit the only problem with the vast range of seasonal fruit and veg is the tendency for it to go off. A range of online suppliers can help to keep the cupboards stocked with fresh, healthy fruit and veg, and many will deliver. Try to check out local suppliers of this kind, as it’s rarely economical to order via an online supermarket for small daily orders. Likely suspects include organic suppliers of veg or fruit boxes along with local dairies, who may have rather more on the Milk-float than you’d expect. Summer eating should be about fresh, simple ingredients and ensuring a regular supply of these will make whipping up a storm simple!
Summer cooking shouldn’t involve hours down the shops followed by hours in the kitchen, make the most of delivery services for veg or fruit boxes and find the best twenty minute meals you can.
Neil blogs about food and wine, covering everything from milk&more fruit boxes to Wine & Port drinking etiquettes. When he’s not online or eating, Neil enjoys getting out and about on his bike and visiting art galleries.