Back from my holidays but friends are still sending me beautiful photos from Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the South of France. Not pictures of the beach and scenery but of the food as they know I get so inspired!
The consistent Mediterranean sunshine just ripens those tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and fruit so much better, and all good recipes need excellent ingredients! As I have said before its like you can taste the sunshine. I have replicated so many different dishes here and even the simple salade tricolore, with buffalo mozzarella, basil and huge red, beefeater tomatoes sliced hasn’t got quite the taste in my kitchen as it has sitting ‘al fresco’ in Tuscany. Same goes for wine. We have all bought the local wine which has tasted so good sipped by the side of the pool but sharing with friends at home has left us disappointed. Some people dismiss the effect of the place on food as ‘all in the mind’. But taste is always all in the mind. “We say we taste with our tongue and smell with our nose, but the sensors on our palate and olfactory bulb send the information to the brain, where they become the flavours we experience.” (Delicious Magazine – August edition)
Being in a good mood and good company and sitting by the sea and hearing the waves lapping devouring your shellfish or grilled seabass its all going to taste more superior, as the environmental is ideal, and all your senses can tell that!
So in season this month beetroot which is delicious roasted, grated in salads, and pureed to make hummus and dips. This tray bake was a very easy version on roast chicken with sweet potato diced and beetroot. Drizzle a combination of honey, wholegrain mustard, and white wine vinegar over the top. Bake for at least 30 minutes and enjoy with roasted veg, or salad.
I have made a chocolate cake with beetroot, never got that much, but again just adds a rich flavour and keeps it moist. Sweetcorn is also so easy to grab and throw on the bbq towards the end or to boil as an easy accompaniment to a summer supper. Another great trick is to just brush the corn over with pesto before popping it on the grill, another flavour sensation with your ribs or steak.
Aubergines (thank you to Veronica for the beautiful picture from their garden in Spain)
Aubergines contain vitamins B1 and B6 are high in Magnesium and Potassium – so important for a healthy nervous system – and for all those non meat eaters these are the answer, the meaty veg! So many lovely ways to eat them too… roasted, pureed, sliced on the bbq, and also easy to freeze for another less exciting time of year!
We have our next ‘hands on’ supper club in September and its on a Mediterranean theme – bringing the sunshine back onto our plates and palettes, lets see if we can do it with great company and a glass of wine! (First Wednesday of the month – contact me for more details)
I have already had to collect a handful of blackberries in the garden (they grow wild at the back) and I think its going to be a great year for late summer berries and the apples are laden too! Speaking of summer recipes and trying to bring the sunshine back in to my garden I quite fancy trying blackberry and limoncello granita this weekend, recipe in Waitrose food magazine this month.