Making the most of the vibrant summer larder goes far beyond those delicacies that spring to mind like ripe strawberries and sweet English peas.
This is the time of year to celebrate a lighter eating style, sharing plates, salads using the gentlest of touch when indulging in impeccably seasonal summer ingredients.
When the sun is shining, I love working with the flavours of an English summer garden such as lavender thumbed gently on ripe outdoor grown tomatoes with sea salt and good olive oil, simple and perfect.
If you haven’t used the leaves from fig trees before, give them a go. You need to extract the pungent green perfume from these leaves by adding them to a simple braised fish dish or into the diary for a crème Anglaise, fig leaves are wonderful but as are blackcurrant leaves made into a crème patisserie for a simple fruit tartlet, ideal with peaches.
Remember that summer is when ingredients peek in both perfume and sweetness
So choose ripe impeccable stone fruits and celebrate them as they are. I make a lot of Syllabub, simply half double cream to crème fraiche with 8% sugar and an appropriate alcohol such as peach liquor, Champagne or limoncello, the perfect bed fellow for ripe fruits and meringues.
When it comes to main courses, I tend to cook a lot on the bbq, either long and slow cuts, such as brisket, which can sit beside tangy pickles and salads or chicken thighs with lemon zest, grain mustard and lavender honey.
If fish is your thing, then sardines, crab and lobster come into their own but also flat fish such as brill and turbot are prime in July and August, but the star has to be sea trout, baked in wet newspaper on the bbq, awesome!
Whatever you cook this summer keep it light, fragrant, and brightly coloured, make the most of the natural sweetness the sun brings to green vegetables and let them shine and don’t ignore the wonderful honey melon or French Charentais
Enclosed is my recipe for blackcurrant leaf crème patisserie