Not terribly sure if summer is planning on hanging around much longer; let’s face it – we’ve already had the Glorious Twelfth (and where is my grouse?) and we’re bombing towards the cornucopia that is September bounty, so I would suggest if, like me, you’ve barely opened a summer cookbook this season, just do it – barbecue in the kitchen, picnic in the lounge, dine al fresco in the rain – otherwise we’ll have gone from navarin of lamb to beef stew without so much as a by your leave.
Last night I made a pudding. It doesn’t happen very often, given I’m not that keen, but I had some delicious greengages waiting to be used and a sheet of puff pastry.
Divide the puff pastry into four equal parts. (Actually I just divided it in half, but we are big fat pigs and know no restraint, but for normal people a quarter would do.) Halve and stone the greengages and arrange within each quarter of pastry, leaving enough pastry to fold over and make an envelope.
Sprinkle the greengages with a good teaspoon of sugar and a little cinnamon. MCD had some raspberries with his too. Fold over the pastry and use the tines of a fork to seal around the edges. Make a slit in the top and carve your initials into the pastry. That's particularly vital. Brush with eggwash and bake on baking parchment in a 180C oven for around 20-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
Eat with creme fraiche or ice cream or any dairy product you have in. Apart from Cheddar.
I’m starting to run out of ideas for what to do with green beans and courgettes and marrows. Jamie’s tomato-based green/runner bean stew is particularly good, but I’m freezing bag-loads. As for courgettes I made a particularly good pasta dish the other night with the leftovers from a roast chicken and they worked well with it.
Based on Nigella’s Venetian-style chicken, simply cook penne-sized courgette pieces in oil with a couple of cloves of garlic until tender. Add in the pieces of shredded chicken, a handful of raisins soaked in warm water and a good slosh of white wine and a tbsp chopped rosemary. Simmer until the wine is syrupy, season and add a handful of toasted pine nuts if you have any.
Toss with cooked pasta and sprinkle effusively with parsley. It was rainy-night satisfying, especially with a pesto baguette along the lines of garlic bread.