"Summer food, even when eaten in deepest winter, contains within it the idea of simple cooking. But the best recipes are never blueprints, only ideas hungrily…
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'The sweetness of new potatoes, fresh peas, broad beans and the grassy herbalness of asparagus make you almost want to skip with summeriness.' With luscious photography, easy recipes, witty food writing and a beautiful hardback design, this is a book you will treasure for many years as well as a delicious gift for friends and family.
This started off as something of a culinary conceit: I wanted to recreate the flavour of cheesecake in ice-cream form. I don't claim it's an original idea - I'd once eaten cheesecake ice cream in a restaurant in LA, scooped into a lozenge-shaped ball and served alongside a mini blueberry pie - but striving for originality is frankly a grievous culinary crime.
CHICKEN, MANGO AND CHILLI SALAD This started off life as a reworking of Coronation Chicken, that mixture I can't help liking, against all contemporary culinary strictures, of cold chicken, mayo, mango chutney, curry powder and apricot puree (or that's how both my grandmothers made it). But still, I wanted to pare it down, make it lighter and fresher, and so this is it.
Baked Ricotta with Grilled Raddichio: For all that you need to clatter about with Springform tins and baking sheets, this is remarkably easy to make. I always seem to have spare egg white knocking around, which also inclines me to cook it. But it's worth making the - slight - effort even if you have to put aside the yolks for use elsewhere. This makes a wonderful summer starter or light lunch, the latter either by itself or rustled up as a vegetarian-pleaser.
This tomato salad is all you need for a summer starter. What I do is take the tomatoes out into the garden, uncut, on a flat plate or two, for an hour before I want to make the salad: it takes any chill off them and makes them taste somehow more tomatoey. Cherry tomatoes perhaps sound new-fangled rather than old-fashioned, but I'm coming to that.
Happiness Soup: Forgive the tweeness of the title, but this is a soup of such sunny, mood-enhancing yellowness that it overcomes even the most pervasively innate cynicism. To eat this is to feel cheered; even cooking it gives me a lift. It's incredibly easy to make, but that's not the clincher. This golden broth, rice-thickened and studded with a confetti dice of yellow courgettes and sprightly with lemon is pure joy.
Slow Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken: This is one of those recipes you just can't make once: that's to say, after the first time, you're hooked. It is gloriously easy: you just put everything in the roasting dish and leave it to cook in the oven, pervading the house, at any time of year, with the summer scent of lemon and thyme - and of course, mellow, almost honeyed garlic.