what's in season: august

my garden tomatoes!
Oh baby, baby what can I do?
You know you drive me crazy when I'm looking at you
The summer's really here and it's time to come out
Time to discover what fun is about
Here comes the summer
Here comes the summer
Here comes the summer 

John O'Neill, The Undertones - 1978  

Ah, happy memories. The Undertones with all their teenage exuberance can still bring a smile to my face. I have another reason to have fond memories in that that after my little brother had sneaked backstage, they had signed a birthday card for me back in those more carefree days. What nice boys they were!

Well the summer has almost arrived - at least the rain of Biblical proportions seems to have eased off; gardening has become less of an extreme water sport (although if our weather is a result of permanent climate change, I might suggest this to the International Olympic Committee as inclusion in future games!) In between dodging rain showers, every other day seems to be the perfect time to eat outdoors - preferably with an interesting selection of tapas or mezze, little nibbles of something amazing, or perhaps a refreshing cold soup, under the vine-laden pergola while swigging lashings of cold white wine. Well a girl can dream!

As for what is good to eat in August, this month should (weather permitting) be a good month for soft fruits and vegetables, with stone fruits such as plums (such as Victorias) and peaches appearing towards the end of the month. And since we are talking of delicious food and hot weather, this is also the season for spice and chillies; I don't know why, but the hotter the weather, a really hot chilli noodle dish seems to cool me down. This year I have actually managed to grow my own chillies. They look a little misshapen but are the most beautiful scarlet colour and I cannot wait to try them.

By the end of August and into September, there will be food for free and I shall be out foraging and beating back the wildlife in order to get to those wild berries. It shall also be the time to actually put into practice some of my New Year's kitchen resolutions - in foraging, preserving and better planning them all!

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), aubergines, basil, beetroot, borlotti beans (for podding), 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, peaches, peppers, potatoes, purslane, pumpkins (& squashes), radishes, rocket, runner beans, salsify, samphire, sorrel, spinach, sweetcorn, sugarsnap peas, tomatoes, watercress, wild fennel

fruit and nuts:
apples, apricots, bilberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, damsons, gooseberries, greengages, hazelnuts, loganberries, peaches, mulberries, pears, plums, raspberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, white currants, wild strawberries

meat and game:
beef, hare, lamb, mutton, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon

fish and 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


Irene Cros said...

Thank you - I arrived here from one of your tweets (loved the name:)
I'm in the south of France, so it really is summer here :)I'm rushing off to find a youtube video of 'here comes the summer' then I'll check the recipes :)

Fiona Maclean said...

I'm picking my first tomatoes this week...isn't that just 'real summer'. Like the first peas are the start of summer, the first tomatoes are HIGH summer