what's in season: july

pink gooseberries from my garden - July 2015
We are having a heatwave and at the moment my garden feels a little tropical. It is not just because of the riot of colour from masses of towering hollyhocks that have self-seeded, but but a small pandemonium of ring-necked parakeets roosting in both mine and my neighbours' gardens. While very pretty, in shades of green and a hint of pink, they are, not to put too fine a point on it, bloody noisy.

And talking of nature, I have been getting in the habit of getting up very early in the morning when it is cooler to walk around the garden, as unlike the parakeets, I do not do very well in the heat. It looks like the resident family of foxes have been indulging again in a nighttime game of "foxy bagatelle".  The garden is strewn with unripe gooseberries and . . . one large stripy sock. I have no idea whose sock it is, but it now rests among the detritus of fox-squashed gooseberries. Looks like what Nature takes away it also gives generously, should you be in need of a single striped knee-sock!

However, I am looking forward to cooking what gooseberries survivie the foxes at play.
I also hope that this year I shall be having more tapas and mezze adventures in food with my friend Heathcliffe; that we can celebrate the sunshine, summer dining and my favourite food. When the weather is warm, I just want to sit in the garden with friends, with 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!

We'll be digging out the bbq at some point, and anything that you can stick on skewers will definitely be in order. From spicy Spanish Moorish skewers (pinchos morunos) to different types of Malaysian and Indonesian satay, or even beetroot and lentil kofta.

July is a bumper month for soft fruit and salad vegetables, from apricots, gooseberries and cherries, to courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes.

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, 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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