I am somewhat sunphobic and so when everyone expresses joy at the hot weather, I get a bit panicky. Not that I don't love Summer - nothing lifts the spirits like a clear blue sky - but I enjoy it best in the shade, or the kitchen.
When the evenings are long, it feels so much easier to invite people over to eat (and I speak as someone without a garden) and it's easy enough to put food on the table without too much unseasonal slaving over a hot stove.
Let's start with dessert. I mean, why not? July's Top 5 features No-Churn Ice-Creams (in other words, ice cream you need no special equipment for: you whip together and just stash in the deep freeze) but if you click on No-Churn Ice-Creams you will see I've smuggled in a couple of extra ones for you. If you have a barbecue, then I rather feel you should earmark my Caramelised Pineapple with Chocolate Sauce. And if you don't, but are in the mood for something other than ice cream then I can't think of anything better than my No-Fuss Fruit Tart, though I wouldn't turn my nose up at some Strawberry Shortcakes and I just adore the Summer-evening gorgeousness of a Strawberry and Almond Crumble with some thick pouring cream. I love this crumble when it's had 30 minutes or so to cool down a little out of the oven. And in my house, there is always room on the table for my Lemon Polenta Cake. Should you wish to make this dairy-free as well as gluten-free, simply use 150ml (two thirds of a cup) of mild olive oil in place of the 200g butter in the recipe. And I started with ice-cream, and I feel must end with it: just click on Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce and you'll see why.
Ok, now for the savoury stuff, and my favourite if given an ultimatum (which I trust will never happen): I am just going to throw some suggestions at you in an over-excited fashion: Ultimate Greek Salad which I hope will not offend any Greeks with its presumption; Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad, which I make on a loop throughout summer; Anglo-Asian Lamb Salad which is Asian in inspiration only; Chicken Mango and Chilli Salad which is my modern, light and sprightly take on a Coronation Chicken; Steak Slice with Lemon and Thyme which is a luxy celebration lunch or supper, which can be cooked on a griddle inside or a barbecue grill outside; still on the lemony theme, but less splashy if no less gorgeous, Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms, which has a no-cook sauce, by the way; and still lemony (can never apologise for that) Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken.
I feel that this concentration on my local need for summer-suitable eating may seem unfair to those from the Southern Hemisphere, so I'll finish with a trio of winter soothers which, frankly, can so often be just the thing for a real English Summer: Aromatic Lamb Shank Stew which, in fact, I made just the other day; Cornbread-Topped Chilli con Carne, which also can be eaten joyfully and appropriately in high summer; and, for vegetarians, but not exclusively, Hearty Wholewheat Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Cheese and Potato.
Posted by Nigella on the 14th Jul 2014