what's in season: july

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit. 

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends  to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Jenny Joseph - Warning (1961)

I get so excited in July. If June is a dreamy, soft focus kind of month in muted pink. Then July is bright and full of sunshine colours with food to match. This is when the recipes of the Mediterranean, from Italy right around the coast to Tunisia, really comes into its own. July is a bumper month for soft fruit and salad vegetables, from apricots, loganberries and peaches to courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes.

This is the time of year when I want to sit in the garden with friends, a couple of bottles of chilled wine and plates of antipasto, tapas or mezze. I love this kind of food; sunshine dishes that burst with tantalising flavours!

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), aubergines, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli (calabrese), cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cauliflower, celery, chanterelles, chard, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, french beans, garlic, horseradish, kohlrabi, lambs lettuce, lettuce, mangetout, new potatoes, onions, oyster mushrooms, pak choi, peas, potatoes, purslane, radishes, rocket, sage, samphire, sorrel, spinach, sugarsnap peas, tomatoes, watercress, wild fennel

fruit and nuts:
apricots (imported), blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries (UK and European), elderflowers, gooseberries, loganberries, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries, tayberries, white currants, wild strawberries

meat and game:
rabbit, wood pigeon

fish and shellfish:
black bream, crab (brown, hen and spider), clams, freshwater crayfish, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, pilchards, pollack, river trout (brown and rainbow), scallops, sea bass, sea trout

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