Is it okay to stop eating berries now and start on grapes and apples? I know – it feels like summer whooshed past incredibly quickly in spite of the current unexpected warmth, and we haven’t even had any decent barbecues. It’s because the summer has been a bit weird: standard English as a whole with a few amazing blips like the record breaking heatwave in July. It’s left us wanting a little more sun while it is in fact September and no chance of proper heat returning.
I’m going to try and bring back some summery flavours by cooking enormous paella tomorrow. My recipe is for 3-4 people but if you want to feed more (and have a large enough pan), I’ll tell you a secret: just up the rice amount and, proportionally, the liquid. Nobody will complain there’s too little meat as long as they get a prawn each.
If you’d rather enjoy Greek flavours, cook a tray of moussaka. It’s also a great meal prep dish, to divvy up in portions and freeze. Alternatively roast some pork gyros to fill pita bread with and feel like it’s still July.
If the above sound like too much effort, you can have cheese on toast – but not just any basic cheese on toast. Baked scamorza, Italian smoked mozzarella, with garlic-rubbed bruschetta is completely divine. Likewise feta saganaki, fried feta cheese, with figs that have just come in season. Or you could sear some haloumi slices in a pan for haloumi burgers, with roasted vegetables or simply shredded salad.
Talking about figs – bake them with blue cheese for a great brunch, starter, main or dessert dish. And the summery seafood flavours can be summoned with hot butterflied prawns; why, the dish itself looks sunny!
If you want to ease gently into autumn, cook broccoli and Stilton soup, or make the feta and grape salad with walnuts. Cake of the week could be the old fashioned apple cake, the ridiculously easy brown apple cake or the sticky fig upside down one. Goodbye, summer! Time to make jams and pickles.