After a rather soggy June and July, I’m delighted that August is finally delivering some sun. As I type this, the sun is streaming through my livingroom window and it looks like its going to be a beautiful day. Pity I have to go to work in an hour! Considering how rubbish the British summer is, I think that bosses should allow their staff to take sunny days off. It may not be good for the economy but it would sure boost everyone’s mood!
August is a fantastic month for food. Similar to July, there is an abundance of beautiful fruit and vegetables. A favourites of mine are plums. I especially love eating them whilst sitting in the sunshine…with the sweet juices running down my chin. When I’m on holiday I always take a few plums with me to the beach. Yes, I end up in a sticky mess but I don’t care. There’s something wonderful about sitting on the beach, basking in the sunshine with sand through my toes whilst savouring its sweet, juicy flesh.
Plums are the juiciest fruit in the stone fruit family. There are a few varieties of plums, some sweet, and some slightly more tart. When buying them they should have smooth, richly coloured, unbruised skins. There should be a chalky bloom on the skin. This is natural and not an indication of poor quality. The flesh should be firm and give a little when it’s gently squeezed.
They are a fantastic ingredient when used in a recipe. You can make plum jam or of course plum wine. You can halve them and roast them (15/20 minutes), poach them whole (15/20 minutes) or stew (10 minutes). They are delicious bakes in pies or crumbles.
Plums have great health benefits as they are full of antioxidants and are also often used to help regulate the functioning of the digestive system. Beware though, they have a laxative effect so don’t eat too many all at once!
Another favourite of mine is sweetcorn.
I always try to buy fresh, unhusked corn when it is in season. It tastes so much better than canned or frozen sweetcorn and it keeps fresher for longer. Of course, frozen sweetcorn is a good option when its out of season. Simply pull back the outer leaves of the cob to expose the kernels. Strip off any of the silky threads still clinging to the cob, cut off the ends of the cob, then wash.
Sweetcorn is great cooked on the barbecue but I prefer it simply boiled while on the cob and served with lashings of butter and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
If you want to cook the kernels loose, rather than on the cob, strip back the leaves and threads, stand the cob stalk-end down on a chopping board, then carefully sweep a sharp knife down its length, slicing off the kernels as you go. Try to keep the blade as close to the core as you can, so that the kernels stay whole.
Artichokes (globe), Aubergines, Basil, Beetroot, Borlotti beans, Broad beans, Broccoli (calabrese), Cabbages (various varieties), Carrots, Cauliflower, Ceps, Chanterelles, Chard, Courgettes, Cucumber, Fennel, French beans, Garlic, Horseradish, Kohlrabi, Lambs lettuce, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Oyster mushrooms, Pak choi, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Purslane, Pumpkins (& squashes), Radishes, Rocket, Runner beans, Salsify, Samphire, Sorrel, Ppinach, Sweetcorn, Sugarsnap peas, Tomatoes, Watercress, Wild fennel
Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Damsons, Gooseberries, Greengages, Loganberries, Peaches, Mulberries, Pears, Plums, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Wild strawberries
FISH & SHELLFISH
Black bream, Crab (brown, hen and spider), Freshwater crayfish, Herring, John dory, Lobster, Mackerel, Mullet, Pollack, Prawns, River trout (brown and rainbow), Scallops, Sea bass, Shrimp, Skate, Squid
MEAT & GAME
Beef, Hare, Lamb, Mutton, Rabbit, Venison, Wood pigeon