Summer's food highlights include juicy berries and Summer Pudding, lean game, sardines and sea bass, and nature's fast food, tomatoes. By Elaine Lemm
Red grouse are the fastest birds on earth, managing 80mph in just a few beats of the wing. But they may want to think about a no-fly zone for a few weeks, as August brings the Glorious Twelfth, the official opening of the British Game season. It is the hard-to-shoot agility of red grouse which makes them so prized a ‘bag’ for the tweed brigade heading north this month. If you can bag a brace or two, enjoy it while you can; wild game, whether furred or feathered, is a healthy, lean and organic meat.
This is berry time; be it a blue, black or strawberry. Added to the black and white currants that are also around, it makes Summer Pudding unavoidable. The luscious dessert really is simple to make but the success with it is to use fresh, ripe fruits. Don’t even think about frozen; it will simply not work.
Scallops, sea bass and sardines are swimmingly good right now and help keep meals summery and light. But if you must have a heavier flesh, lamb continues to please and works well either in the oven and roasted on the barbecue. Team it with the Mediterranean-style veg now bang in season (aubergines, peppers, courgettes) and you have yourself a feast.
August is also the month of the tomato. The home-grown, outdoor varieties may not be as ripe as they should be right now – thanks to the lack of sunshine – but there will still be plenty around.
A ripe, fresh, musky-scented tomato is nature’s fast food. It needs little or no work at all. A dash of fruity olive oil, a ball of squeaky, fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, a few leaves of basil, and hey presto, a simple yet perfect summer salad.