“I do love the beginning of the summer hols’. They always seem to stretch out ahead for ages and ages.” Said Julian in ‘Five Go Off in a Caravan’.
Little did he know that the first 14 hours of that holiday would be spent in a traffic jam on the M20 with Anne, his annoying little sister, singing Frozen on repeat whilst sporadically giving him a dead arm.
Still, the food writers were able to bask whilst smugly drinking rosé on their blinging terraces this weekend, because pretty much all of them bet on sunshine when submitting their copy a couple of weeks ago.
Summer, summer, summer time
To me, cooking and hot food holds very little appeal when the weather’s good. Assembly is fine, mind, so Diana Henry’s tomato salad ideas in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine were very welcome. Strawberry and tomato, anyone? I appreciate the logic, though never quite know how I feel about these fruits together. But I can get fully behind her South-East Asian ensemble; radishes, buttermilk, dill and tomatoes; and a real niiice roast tomato and fennel salad with a preserved lemon and mint dressing.
A little forethought and space in the freezer would have left you with ‘grown-up’ ice lollies to take the edge off things. For next time (2017?), check out the appealing ideas in The Saturday Times Weekend section: mango and pomegrante; white wine sangria; margarita; kiwi and watermelon; and raspberry mojito.
Yotam Ottolenghi suggested Guardian Weekend Magazine readers prepare foods for eating outdoors. I’m not sure sesame prawn toasts are a classic picnic option, but I suppose we could embrace them? His recipe for them has a long, loooong ingredient list (natch), but should be good. Other dishes included pretty gorgeous lamb and beef mince ‘pockets’, vajazzled with tahini, pomegranate molasses, sweet spices and fresh herbs.
Back to salads. Brad McDonald’s succotash in Cook should be one to look to if you’ve been suffering in the heat (sorry). Or Jamie Oliver’s Fatty Crab inspired roast pork belly and watermelon salad in The Sunday Times Magazine. (Though my gut feeling is the ginger dressing needs more fish sauce.)
If not salad, then fish. All of Florence Knight’s BBQ fish recipes in The Sunday Times Magazine were tempting, though I would be particularly pleased if fed either the baked scallops with watercress butter and hazelnuts or monkfish thyme and peach skewers.
On a similar fish, nut, and generally nice food theme, Saturday’s Times Magazine had a very generous selection of recipes from the Hackney outpost of Morito. Their mackerel with walnut tarator, cucumber and dill dish is right up there with the best of the weekend. Squid with broad beans and manchego fits the summer brief as well, as does labneh with chillies, coriander and fennel seeds and broad beans. A bitter leaf and gem lettuce salad with pomegranates, figs and sesame brittle would go down very nicely (and quickly) right now … oooooh, and their lamb chops with anchovy and paprika butter are among my favourite eats of the year, so was delighted to see a recipe for them there too. What a great set of dishes.
If you’re more willing than I to stand by the stove right now, then the following ideas will still seem perfectly seasonal.
Nigel Slater proposed, counterintuitively, a brace of summer pies in the Observer’s glossy magazine. The apricot pie with a very short pastry top looks particularly good, though there’s a rabbit, chicken and tarragon pie for the those with savoury requirements. His mid-week supper is roast baby turnips and carrots with a herby mayonnaise. Seek it out online in a couple of days time.
Claire Ptak’s nectarine and cherry ‘top and bottom cobbler‘ recipe in the Guardian Cook supplement is ace. A tray bake, really, which will leave you with portable slices of crusted dumpling dough, punctuated by soft and sweet stone fruit. There’s a nectarine in wine proposition too.
Guardian readers might have spotted Tommi Miers’ fragrant spatchcocked chicken with satay sauce in Saturday’s glossy mag. Spices and South-East Asian aromatics are more than acceptable on a balmy day (so long as someone else is doing the cooking), so definitely consider this over the next few weeks. Also check out her no churn cherry ice cream and cherry financiers.
In a slight departure from his normally relatively simple but definitely adult food, The Telegraph’s Stephen Harris provided a recipe for ‘Kid friendly’ fried chicken and smoky baked beans. Funny how this food seems entirely appropriate for summer, when if it weren’t from the Deep South it’d surely be autumnal?
Time to sit back and unwind
Elsewhere, Rachel Roddy’s courgette, bucattini, breadcrumbs and almonds will work very nicely for one of your next mid-week suppers.
And your next summer party? Consider Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s smoked haddock doughnuts from the FT Weekend. These are perhaps a little confusingly named – with their mashed potato laced dough they feel a little like deep-fried haddock gnocchi, or non-breaded croquetas. But what’s in a name? My guess is they’re deceptively light and more-ish.
Oh, and Nadiya Hussain made a Victoria sponge.
From the internet
If that Honey & Co doughnut recipe caught your eye because you’re party planning, Ms MarmiteLover’s canapé idea of quick pickled pears, salmon and goat cheese in a chicory boat is worth bearing in mind.
You might already know Food52’s tips for avoiding soggy fruit pie bottoms. If not, take a look.
And I quite like Smitten Kitchen’s blackberry cheesecake galette.
I loved Diana Henry’s South East Asian tomato salad. Turns out tomatoes with cucumber, mint and spring onion, mango, and a lime, ginger and chilli dressing are right up my Straße (or, more accurately, ถนน).
Also tried Rachel Roddy’s courgette, breadcrumb and almond pasta on Sunday eve. Moto bene. Almonds will become a regular addition to my panko pan from now on.
Weekend Menu, 23 and 24 July 2016
Monkfish, thyme and peach skewers
Florence Knight, The Sunday Times
Mackerel with walnut tarator, cucumber and dill
Lamb chops with anchovy and paprika butter
Sam and Sam Clark, The Times
No churn cherry ice cream and cherry financiers
Thomasina Miers, The Guardian Weekend
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