Finally, the clocks have gone forward and it seems that Summer really is just around the corner. This winter has seemed to last an age and has been particularly harsh in many senses of the word, especially the bitterly cold weather. Summer for me means taking advantage of any opportunities to mix fresh air and food – ice cream on the beach, BBQs, fishing trips, food festivals, picnics and garden feasts.
A few family birthdays fall over the Summer months and my mum always impresses with her fabulous cakes. The one below is particularly summery, with fresh strawberries and raspberries and crystalized violets too.
I have already started as I mean to go on, and had a rather chilly BBQ a few weeks ago. It was the first one my boyfriend and I have had in our new house, where we have a lovely little patio area. We have a wonderful fish monger who is just a couple of doors along from us. He smelt the charcoal from our BBQ and shouted over the fence that he would get something for us… A few minutes later he returned with a bag with two thick swordfish steaks marinating in olive oil and herbs and passed them over our wall. Lucky us!
I love picnics and take advantage of any opportunities to have them. One of my favourites was last year where the highlight of a trip down to Dorset was a spot of fly fishing, accompanied of course, by a picnic. It was a gloriously sunny day and we drank lovely wine and elderflower presse which we kept in the lake to keep cool.
Ice Cream is my favourite foodstuff over the Summer – the best I’ve ever tasted is from Scoop, who have branches in Soho and Covent Garden. Last week I had a meeting in Covent Garden, so treated myself to two scoops of Scoop! I chose two flavours – Menta (with peppermint from Pancalieri, Piedmont) and Noccoila (with Tonda Gentile hazelnuts from Piedmont) and I think I was treated to quite a generous serving!
If you visit the Covent Garden parlour I would recommend taking a short walk to Neals Yard, which is one of my favourite places in London. It is so pretty and Neals Yard Dairy is just round the corner so you can buy great artisan cheese at the same time!