Summer is here, at long last! Well, nearly. Spring showers and patchy weather may be the flavour of the month for the time being, but the summer months are closer than ever before – a welcome occurrence, especially after a winter that seems not too far behind us.
With the summer comes all manner of changes. Jumpers and joggers get stuffed to the back of the wardrobe while summer shirts and linen shorts get rescued from the same; many of us even re-decorate our homes to better reflect the beauty and sunlight of the warmer days. But perhaps the most impactful changes we make are day-to-day, such as our choices in the kitchen.
Seasonal cooking is a joyful experience, and one which more and more people are buying into as a function of increased interest in conscientious, sustainable living. Your summer menu should reflect the season, both in terms of vibe and in-season ingredients. The following are not recipes, per se, but rather hints; guidelines for potential menu options as we lurch into a summer worth celebrating.
Who among us doesn’t love a well-made kebab? The longer, lazier days of the summer are the perfect time to grab a skewer and make the most of a long-lasting British tradition (even if it is usually observed at 3am…). If the delicate and complicated steps involved in crafting and roasting doner or shawarma don’t quite appeal to your schedule or sensibilities, there are some excellent traditional recipes that will enable you to show off your beautiful new induction pan set; one particularly good choice is that of Kabab Tabei, a Persian pan-fried beef kebab that can be served in wraps, over rice or as part of a salad.
Chilled Soups for Chilled Vibes
The crushing heat of late summer lends itself to the soothing relief of cold dishes – and, while you would usually send back a soup dish that hadn’t been heated, cold soups can be something of a hidden joy in this regard.
Cucumbers are very much in abundance in the summer, and refreshing by their own right; combining cucumbers, yoghurt, spices and dill can result in a moreish cucumber soup that’ll certainly bring the heat down. Meanwhile, tomatoes are thoroughly in-season, giving you the opportunity to experiment with the most famous of cold soups: gazpacho.
Salads and Bites
Salads are unfairly maligned year-round, associated as they are with the dull practice of drizzling sparing amounts of pre-mixed salad dressing on limp leaves of lettuce. Salads can – and should – be so much more than this. Experiment with regional ingredients; for example, try pairing roasted chickpeas with the best cherry tomatoes you can find, lashings of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a generous dollop of mascarpone. Or how about parsley and spinach, finely chopped with garlic and pulled together with a yoghurt-and-vinegar drizzle? The possibilities are endless, and the flavours divine.