When most of the country's population is only now thinking of purchasing bikinis and swimming pool inflatables, I'm back. Done. Dusted. For another year. As I correctly forecast, you all in the UK had nearly unbroken sunshine and blissful warmth while I was counting up from lighting till thunder and wondering why I'd not taken several extra jumpers with me. This June the place to be was Scotland and I was in Dordogne, silly me. Ah well - it was still a good holiday and at least I didn't go camping.
Now of course it will be gorgeous over there and rubbish here - though The Weather Man promises it will be 'mostly settled and very warm at times' for the next two weeks. Anyway - I'm back and we're cooking. How about pizza?
Not the full works perhaps, and those who can get hold of decent ready-made pizza dough go for it, but a simple pizza bianca could be a good idea at some point this week.
Be on the lookout for seasonal fish this week: sea trout which can be cooked very simply: oven steamed. 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. And if you can get some decent ripe ones, make pappardelle with fresh tomatoes.
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.
Desserts will have to be ice cream: make a big tub of matcha and white chocolate ice cream which is delightful, or skip the matcha and replace the white with milk chocolate. 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.