So the time and space for blogging has been a bit thin on the ground recently, and I think it’s going to get a whole heap worse before it gets any better. It’s all well and good planning your ideal kitchen but somehow I underestimated the preceding chaos. And that’s saying something considering the background chaos that we’re used to dealing with around here, believe me. So for the next couple of weeks or so (fingers crossed) simple is the name of the game. Don’t even ask about the couple of weeks after that.
Physalis, that tiny paper covered cousin of the tomato is back. If you like a tart little treat you’ll be relishing them just as they are, minus their papery cases (that goes without saying) but if you’re like me, you’ll be looking at them, sitting there looking more than reminiscent of their Mexican cousin the tomatillo, thinking they must have so much more to offer other than the traditional pies and flans. And as there’s nothing like putting a good theory to the test, that’s just what I did.
So summer has officially shifted over to make way for autumn and now the flimsy clothes have been packed away it’s time to stop all the lounging around (I know I’m finding it hard too), start making the most of all those serious produce gluts and start cooking. I’m not sure about you but I don’t know of a better place to start than with some gorgeous autumnal plums. And cake of course.
I know I’ve talked before about necessity being the mother of all invention on this blog before but never is that more true than in a house filled with boys. Maybe it’s just mine but I’m never sure whether they exist on the same dimension as me. I’m not complaining; it has led to quite a few spectacular culinary discoveries in my house and last week has was no different.
If you’re not Mexican or from the U.S. I suppose you could be forgiven for not knowing anything about the tomatillo. To be fair until I’d lived over there I’d lived a long and happy life not knowing anything of their existence. But times they are a changin’ and tomatillos are becoming far more wide spread and although you possibly won’t be able to pick them up on the shelves of your local supermarket once you know what you’re looking for you’ll be amazed at how much more often you’ll see them cropping up.
I do love barbecue season. Bear in mind I live in the UK so the novelty doesn’t really wear off; sadly it can be perilously short. This, coupled with the fact that my husband takes a very hands on approach to cooking when faced with an outside grill or fire (move the grill into the kitchen and you wouldn’t see him for dust) means that I like to enjoy a good barbecue as much as possible. And I know I’m not alone, although perhaps others not for the same reasons as me (do all the prep, let someone else finish off whilst I relax with a Pimms) judging by what I see on the supermarket shelves in the run up to the weekend.
Scotland might not be renowned across the globe for its lovely hot summers but it is inextricably linked (in many British minds) to a fruit that seems to epitomise summer; the raspberry. Nothing says British summer to me more than a bowl full of raspberries and strawberries and this week they’re back. So despite whatever else is going on outside at least we know for sure. Summer’s here.
The poor potato has had a bad wrap in recent years with a lot of people wrongly equating it to spreading waist lines and other health related hyperbole. It doesn’t help that growers and supermarkets have eschewed traditional tasty breeds (along with their shorter harvesting season) in favour of an easier to harvest alternative their flavour has dramatically diminished (in my opinion anyway) leaving a lot of us reaching for cooking methods that more than make up for any lack of taste but do nothing for their unhealthy reputation. And to be fair, who doesn’t love a creamy, buttery mash? But luckily summer is upon us now bringing gorgeous new potatoes with it and no need for all that butter to make them shine.
Summer is finally on its way and although the weather forecast might not really agree, my stomach does and that’s what counts round here. Lighter fare is called for. Which is good news because the half term holidays (not the right time for slow cooking marathons) are here too, bringing with them the lovely relaxed, rush-free days peppered with endless cries of ‘what’s for lunch?’ and ‘when’s dinner?’ Usually before the lunch has even been cleared off the table. I do not exaggerate when I say that two days into the holidays I usually start day dreaming of the return to school, just so the kitchen can be clean for a couple of minutes a day or watching those busy little spring birds with a new found sympathy and respect, slaving around the clock trying to shovel enough food into the mouths of their ever growing offspring. I moan but at least my food gets delivered.
Every so often a few culinary planets align and something magical happens on even the most mundane and boring days. One such moment happened last week. I had a perfectly ripe avocado. Only one. And a perfectly ripe mango. Now I can always find a home for a perfectly ripe mango but only one avocado is slightly harder. In a family our size we need at least two so we can get stuck into some guacamole but waiting for another one to catch up never seems to work for me. Even with the help of the revered brown paper bag and over ripe banana. Of course there was always the option of devouring it mashed on wholemeal toast with some roasted tomatoes (one of my favourites) before anyone got home but I was feeling magnanimous. And summery. A winning combination. The avocado and mango ice cream idea was born.