The classic and cool cucumber – try pickling them as a delicious addition to burgers or sandwiches, or whizz them up into a cool and creamy soup. Not forgetting a few slices of cucumber make a perfect addition to a cool glass of Pimms.
With their range and depth of eye catching colours, they are visually very appealing but it is the wonderful flavour and aroma that sets them apart. They are typified by the array of variety types, shapes, colours, sizes and flavours.
These beans can be chopped and added to rice dishes, sprinkled with sesame seeds as a side dish for Asian-style recipes, or served as a traditional British ‘veg’ with roast dinner.
Borlotti Beans (Coco Beans)
Pop them out of their shells, blanch them, add to finely diced shallot and garlic, finish with freshly chopped parsley and serve with fish or chicken.
After cooking, season the cobs with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with lots of melted butter. Alternatively, cut the kernels straight off the cob and use in a recipe for a spicy salsa, with heaps of chilli, coriander and lime juice, or simmer in stock with chicken or crabmeat for a sweet Chinese-style soup. Liven up brunch with sweetcorn fritters, popular both in America and Australia, and serve with a zesty lime mayonnaise, tomato salsa or rashers of crisp bacon.
Green almonds have the briefest whisper of a season in the spring before their shells harden and start looking (and tasting!) more like the almonds we know and love. They are tart and crisp and subversively addictive around cocktail hour.
The raw baby leaves of the coloured types look stunning in salads, and though they dull a little on cooking, a pile of young leaves, wilted and buttered with stems still attached, is still handsome on a plate. The adult plant gives you two vegetables in one: the crisp, robust stems and the abundant, delicately ruffled leaves. The leaves, though, taste of pure, iron-rich vegetabliness, somewhere between a mild kale and spinach. It’s a powerhouse of nutty, green-leaf flavour, so pair it with feisty partners: olives, cream, tomatoes, spices, strong cheese and smoked fish. It will not let you down.
Baby Globe Artichokes
Try a great little all-rounder – tray-baked artichokes with almonds, breadcrumbs & herbs. This brilliant stuffed artichoke recipe is a lovely antipasti or the perfect side for meat and fish. Or trout & artichokes with almonds, breadcrumbs & mint, all wrapped up with smoky bacon. This is a really great way to spruce up trout for a special dinner – the flavour combinations are amazing.
Gooseberry recipes are a quintessential summer treat: Try gooseberry purée with mackerel or roast pork. Or pair them with elderflower for delicious gooseberry pies, tarts and crumbles. The high pectin content in the fruit makes an ideal gooseberry jam.
How about chilled white peaches poached in rose syrup, or baked peaches with crushed amaretto biscuits. Baking peaches will make even slightly hard and unsweet peaches delicious! Warm, soft with their sugars concentrated – they are a joy. Or perhaps a savoury and sweet chicken and grilled peach salad.
There are so many things you can do with rhubarb – Danish rhubarb cake with cardamom and custard, vanilla-fried rhubarb on sugar brioche, grilled rhubarb with calves’ liver, horseradish cream and chard, pan-fried mackerel sandwich with rhubarb coleslaw, fennel basted pork chops with rhubarb or poached with lemongrass for something a little bIt different.
We have Trompette, Girolle and Mousseron mushrooms, all looking good.
These have delicate, parmesan and blue cheese aromas with intense, mushroom flavours. Most often though, dried trompette mushrooms are rehydrated in warm water, and are then pulled into long, thin strands and used as a delicate garnish for scallops, white fish or beef. The trompettes are also delicious when stirred into risotto, or even blended into a trompette tapenade and slavered on crusty bread.
These have a deliciously nutty and peppery flavour that works well in risottos, sauces or even a chicken and mushroom pie. Perfect paired with similarly rich flavours such as pheasant, chestnuts and bone marrow.
These have a rich, intense flavour – similar to porcini, but with more pronounced hazelnut notes. These mushrooms work well in slow-cooked dishes like casseroles, as they retain their robust flavour, and the slow-cooking softens their hard stems. Also try them in a sauce to top fish or chicken dishes or stir into durum wheat pasta.
New season French Apricots – With their firm flesh and amazingly sweet taste, these are cracking poached or in a tarte tartin.
New season Cauliflower – yellow and orange coloured cauliflower are now available
Coming in August – Black Figs and Yellow Fine Beans
Coming to the end of the season so get it while you can – English Asparagus