Our summer favourites!
Summer is slowly but surely on its way. This means evenings in the garden, BBQs, rain (probably) and, most importantly, an abundance of some of our favourite local fruit and veg.
In Kent, summer is the season of soft fruit. A favourite of ours that began to appear in late spring, is the strawberry. In our opinion, nothing beats a freshly picked Kent strawberry in the height of summer. We would happily gobble them down by the punnet-full! Best served with a smothering of cream while watching a grumpy Scottish man beat people at tennis.
Perhaps the ultimate soft summer fruit is the cherry. Around 90% of English cherries are grown in Kent, and if that’s not something to shout about then we don’t know what is! There’s nothing better than biting into a perfectly sweet cherry, with all its rich red juiciness that stains your hands and abolishes any chance you had of denying that you ate the whole bowl.
Plums are another favourite of ours in summer. Forget those dark purple, sour plums with minimal flavour from the supermarket, we mean real Kentish plums! These plums are often dusty pinks and yellows with slightly tart skin but sweet, soft flesh. If you find yourself with an abundance of them, slowly baked in a crumble is the second-best thing to eating them fresh!
Moving onto vegetables, peas are making themselves known. Using frozen peas instead of fresh is like replacing bacon with tofu, they just don’t compare. When in season, fresh peas are bursting with light, summer flavours and are perfect for sprinkling raw into salads, or lightly blanching and mixing through with some fresh mint. The classic accompaniment to minted peas is, of course, lamb. Lamb is mostly associated with spring and we have something even better for the summer months, hogget. Hogget is older than lamb but younger than mutton, usually aged between 12 and 24 months. This means larger cuts of meat and a richer flavour. For the perfect summer roast, pair a slow roasted shoulder of hogget with minted peas, crushed & pan fried new potatoes, and a splash of silky gravy made from slowly roasting off and cooking down the bones.
Being British, we will take the tiniest glimpse of sun as an excuse to get the BBQ out. One of our butchery’s most popular BBQ products are boerewors. These sausages are a staple of the South-African BBQ culture, or braai as they call it. Made with a combination of beef, pork and lots of spices, they are rich and meaty and work perfectly alongside caramelised onions and some good tomato sauce. If all else fails and the heavens open, boerewors can be pan fried or cooked in the oven and served alongside a comforting potato gratin and corn on the cob at a warm and dry kitchen table.