Every year, we decide we really shouldn’t go away in August, when everyone else is holidaying – everywhere will be so crowded, it will be too hot, we should make the most of *not* having to stick to school holidays. And every year I feel a bit jealous of those Facebook photos of poolsides or terraces in France and Italy and Greece. And I feel a bit in need of some sunshine and a pool.
So we chose a lucky week for a staycation, with the weather hotter and sunnier than it has been almost all summer. We pretended to be in Italy with lunch at the River Cafe. We refilled the paddling pool in the garden, and dipped our feet in to relieve the heat. And I cooked with apricots, and mulberries and tomatoes, trying to capture the warmth of summer while it’s still here.
I’m already looking forward to autumn though – my favourite season – and enjoying the day-by-day changes that make ‘seasonal eating’ so obvious at the moment: the tomatoes going over, the blackberries ripening in the hedges, the apples getting redder, the mulberries splattering on the ground.
Apricot and Almond Custard Tart – from Nutmegs, Seven – absolutely delicious and brilliantly easy. If you have apricots, nectarines or plums nearby, make this now.
Pasta with bacon, corn and tomatoes – from Smitten Kitchen
Mulberry Jam – from Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking. I made this with foraged mulberries from Boston Manor Park. Lessons from making mulberry jam for the first time? Push them through a food mill first! Otherwise they stay whole, leave lots of seeds in the jam, and don’t really release enough pectin. Let’s hope I can get hold of some more to try again before next year!
Without a recipe:
Pizza – with peppers, sweetcorn, mozzarella
Leftover improvised chicken curry, with leftover dhal
- GBBO is back! If you’ve missed the first episode, first head to iPlayer, then read this tongue-in-cheek review from The Pool. I’ve got my eye on Benjamina this time around…
- You may have come across French bread pizzas, and Nigella’s naan bread pizzas – but what about tortilla pizzas? Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats makes a good case for them.
- Make the most of the end of summer with: Coconut straciatella ice-cream from The Little Loaf; perfect courgette fritters from Felicity Cloake; Blackcurrant and lemon verbena cheesecake from Nutmegs, seven;
- Or deal with back-to-school blues with Raspberry Oreo brownies from Sarah at Taming Twins; Malteser fudge brownies from Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes or Chocolate Madeleines from Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini (bit of a theme here).