After the mid-June mini heatwave (was that IT for the summer?), temperatures returned to boring normal and it’s safe again to cook without risking a heat stroke. Although it’s deceptive: my weekend bread turned out a bit flat, clearly overproofed, clearly the kitchen is much warmer than it was a month ago and dough needed cold retardation (I just love the baker-speak) rather than room temperature.
So be careful with bread, unless you go for the cheat’s sourdough, a completely fool-proof loaf that makes the sourdough zealots frown and huff in indignation. Hell – isn’t it better to bake bread at home, yeasted or not, than go for Hovis white sliced? Of course it is.
Be on the lookout for seasonal fish this week: sea trout which can be cooked like this salmon with oyster sauce. Samphire beckons on fish stalls and though it’s great just simply boiled (with no salt added!), the seaside stuffed mackerel makes another, quite wonderful use of it.
Can someone explain why the supermarkets insist on selling green beans imported from Kenya but flog none other but British tomatoes? When we could be enjoying the Spanish or Italian ones by now, outdoor ripened in the sunshine? Frankly, all the home grown are good for is roasting – for a tomato Tatin for instance.
For a meat dish get the new season lamb neck fillet and grill it – or barbecue if you fancy lighting up. And côte de bœuf – one rib beef joint, also known as cowboy steak – is another thing that can be cooked well on a barbecue.
And if you have a lavender plant in the garden, use a handful of the freshly picked blossom in the orange and lavender cake for dessert. Or stick to cakes with berries – no time like now to use them – and try the easy mascarpone blueberry loaf cake which is quite quick to make and even quicker to disappear.