There is so much fruit and veg to choose from on the market stalls at the moment that it’s difficult not to stuff our baskets with more than we can eat. New beetroots, proper, squishy spring cabbage, sweetcorn, broad beans and peas, new potatoes – and strawberries which I can never get enough of at this time of year. Who needs meat? Give me a whole corn on the cob, drizzled with oil, wrapped in foil and baked for 40 minutes. Then I’ll slather it with butter and sprinkle with flaky salt – my perfect lunch. Or a bowl of chopped radish, cucumber, cherry tomatoes with a few raw peas, half an avocado and a dollop of mayo. It works a treat as a health booster because it makes you feel so virtuous that scoffing a bag of Maltesers afterwards simply won’t do.
And if you need proper recipes for the above produce, no problem: use the corn on the cob to make the lovely creamed corn with tomatoes. Or a twist on paella: rice with corn and chorizo, all in one pan. And the herby radish and cucumber salad, the plateful of crunchy health.
Get hold of new beetroot and slice them raw into a minty beet salad. You can also make a veggie casserole of roasted beetroot – just add plain rice on the side for dinner.
Spring cabbage makes a lovely crunchy salad, but it’s just as nice stir fried, maybe with a new season lamb shank? And new potatoes of course – you might try the weird and wonderful dish of oil poached lemony and garlicky potatoes; it’s NOT greasy and the spuds taste so good, like a cross between boiled and roasted. If simply boiling appeals more, cook twice as many and sauté the leftovers with spinach on the next day.
For dessert, at least once this summer you must try my Athens mess, a Greek twist on Eton mess with filo pastry shards layered with strawberries and cream. Or pack that cream and berries between layers of old-fashioned Victoria sponge cake. With a glass of strawberry fizz, to toast the summer!