The hot weather continues and England is still in the World Cup – feels like we’re living in a parallel universe. Except the trains run reassuringly delayed and the potholes in the roads help us keep hold on reality.
That and the familiar annoying fact that in spite of being a seafaring, island nation, we have such paucity of fish supply. A posh supermarket has poorer selection on the fish counter than an average village market in landlocked French Dordogne. Demand? People don’t like to cook fish? The regular old universe it is, then.
So how lucky was I to have spotted fresh sardine fillets in the market the other day? I baked them, Italian style, filled with lemon, basil and garlic paste. Fresh sardines are incredibly good and cheap so give them a try if you can. If you can’t, there’s always another under-appreciated fish in constant supply: smoked mackerel. It makes a gorgeous salad with avocado, cucumber and celeriac.
Fresh prawns can send your bank account into overdraft so get some frozen, cooked ones for this excellent prawn pasta bake. Just the thing to roughly prep on a Sunday, only to slip it in the oven on any weeknight (see? I’m still in last week’s #mealprep mode). For a non-fishy and non-meaty option, go for provolone bake with marinara sauce.
If you’re a barbecue faithful, because the weather is too good to be cooking inside, try the chicken thighs under the skillet – just fetch a heavy pan from the kitchen to the barbie site. The chicken will be great with the leek slaw. Or grill haloumi slices and stick them in buns with grilled veg – who says barbecues won’t feed a vegetarian?
And of course we must have dessert. For me there are two main summer options there: cakes with soft fruit or ice cream. Try the blueberry buckle or swap the berries for apricots or peaches. Ice cream could be mango, simple and elegant, or make it a savoury dessert with the avocado ice, cleverly made in a blender, without the help of a churning machine. Happy summer days!