Fruit and vegetable growers are beginning to reap the rewards of their nurturing. Salad leaves, radish, spring onions, beetroot, mangetout, broad beans and first earlies are just some of the vegetables ready to harvest. Summer berries are also ripening; currants, gooseberries, strawberries and early raspberries.
Most of this produce is delicious prepared and eaten with very little fuss.
A great lunch (or supper) is a “luxury” sausage roll, pork pie, or chunk of farmhouse cheese with a few salads from the garden:
- Mix togehter a selection of leaves and herb. Add thin slices of radish and dress lightly with vinaigrette.
- Beetroot: boil until just tender (anyting from 15 to 25 minutses), cool in boiling water and then dice or slice. /Grate beetroot raw. Add grated apple and dress in orange juice. / Peel and cut beetroot into equal size pieces. Toss in a few cumin seeds and sunflower oil. Roast in the oven for around 40 minutes. Grate a bit of orange zest and put over hot beetroot.
- Broad beans and mangetout: fry some thin slices of smoked bacon or pancetta or roughly chopped hazelnuts and mix with blanched mangetout and broad beans. If you have some fresh thyme, sprinkle on top.
- First earlies: boil until tender in salted water with a sprig of mint. Toss in butter.
- Berries: just serve fresh from the garden with Greek yogurt (gooseberries are great raw, try them).
I asked Iain, from Eynsham Cellars, to suggest a wine which would go well with this lunch:
“I’ve never matched a wine with a sausage roll before but perhaps the Belle Combe Grenache- Syrah Rose from France’s Rhone Valley would go best. People often overlook rose when matching wine and food, but it can work perfectly. This is an off-dry style, rather than a sweet “lollypop” version. The Grenache-Syrah blend offers enough rich red berry fruit to support the dish without overpowering it. Serve it nice and chilled, and you’ll get a great balance of savoury flavours and refreshing acidity”.