There’s nothing more simple and satisfying than a freshly boiled or grilled cob of corn smeared with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper, and during the summer months it’s at its sweetest and juiciest. Look for cobs with fresh green husks and fresh, shiny silk coming out the ends. The more recently picked the better, as the starches in corn start to change from the moment it leaves the stalk. Whether it’s BBQ’d in its husk, cut from the cob and made into fritters or soup, or steamed in pieces to accompany roast chicken, sweet corn is a summer gem that appeals to all ages.
Sweet Corn goes with:
- coriander, basil
While we don’t really associate cucumbers as being a seasonal fruit, their high water content and refreshing crunchiness make them the perfect hot weather salad item. The most common varieties are the continental and Lebanese cucumbers; both have soft skin and seeds, so the whole fruit can be eaten. Cucumbers add great texture and lightness to any dish, and their relatively neutral flavour means they go well with most other ingredients. They are an essential part of traditional cooling dishes such as gazpacho and tzatziki.
Cucumbers go with:
- dill and mint
- crab and oysters
- olive oil
Peaches are undoubtedly the queen of stone fruit, and each year around the beginning of November I look forward to smelling their perfume wafting from the shelves.
Peaches can be either yellow or white, the latter is generally less acidic and slightly sweeter, but for most dishes they are interchangeable. The nectarine is the same species as the peach, but without the characteristic peachy “fuzz”.
Peaches can be poached in white wine or liqueur, roasted, grilled, pickled or just sliced and added to a fruit salad to give a summery, gourmet touch.
Peaches go with:
- cream and ice cream
- brandy and liqueurs
- cinnamon and vanilla
If peaches are the queen of stone fruit, then raspberries are certainly the “Queen of the Berries”. These delicate, sweet-sour little morsels are an expensive commodity during the winter months, but in summer you’ll find them popping up at the markets and in shops at an affordable price. Baked into almond tarts, simmered with sugar and vanilla to make raspberry sauce or simply served sprinkled over a bowl of ice cream, raspberries are a delicacy of the season which should be savoured while they’re at their peak.
Raspberries go with:
- other berries