Summer Vegetable Dishes

This is the season of salads, but not those pathetic side-order combinations of lettuce-tomato-cucumber-grated-carrot. (Would I do that to you?)

During those hazy, lazy days of dappled light and lush grass underfoot we are talking salads of gently steamed beans (broad, runner, French or green) or colourful Mediterranean combinations of roasted peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes. Be inventive with added extras – from crispy bacon or hard-boiled eggs to toasted seeds, edible flowers from the garden, a handful of olives and a sliced avocado.

A range of organically grown peppery salad leaves simply served with a great salad dressing will knock your socks off. You can even roast an organic chicken with plenty of butter and seasoning and then use the chicken juices as a dressing for a side of lettuces, cucumber, chivesspring onions or shallots; kohlrabi, radishes  and dandelion leaves. Eat this outside, with friends, in the sunshine. Don’t forget napkins to wipe your hands and face on…

Stir fries are great at this time of year – the less time you spend in the kitchen the more time you’ve got to spend outside. Prep your veggies before you fire up the wok, fry high and fast and then add plenty of leafy herbs before serving.

Brush skewered vegetables with oil or tumble them with lard (from pastured pigs) before griddling them on the BBQ and chucking them in a bowl with feta or crumbled goats cheese, plenty of basil or fresh oregano; and a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or make a tray of roasted Mediterranean vegetables to use as a dip, sauce or side for barbecued meat or fish.

It would be remiss of me not to include fruit in this post: if you’ve managed to hold off buying strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all year, now is the time to treat yourself to proper, local, soil-grown beauties. The taste is incomparable. Get yourself a paper bag of cherries too to take with you on a countryside walk and spit those stones for all you’re worth!

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