In conjunction with Barclaycard who are celebrating their project entitled “Everything is Hotter in June” , I’ve been invited to put together a post showcasing my recommendations for the Summer.
Summer to me conjures up images of longer, fuller days. The feeling of being more energised and productive and a sense of overall well-being. It is the season to welcome higher temperatures, outdoor festivals and sporting events. Next week sees the unveiling of Glastonbury and Wimbledon, two huge events which will be followed by many Britons whether it be via physical or online presence. They will be the topic of many work and social related debates.
As a food blogger I also look forward to visiting local food festivals to discover artisan products. My preference however, would be to focus on the smaller festivals and not those that necessarily provide a platform to showcase “celebrity” chefs.
When Britain is bathed in sunlight, I love taking advantage of the natural terrain and just over an hour on the train from London, you can immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful, natural landscape of the Kent and East Sussex coast.
Walking or hiking outdoors has become extremely popular in recent years following tighter curbs on personal expenditure. What can provide a better tonic than views such as this accompanied by some sunshine and a well prepared picnic? I try to do these routes at least once or twice a year. My beloved home of Scotland also has some breathtaking landscape. The West Highland Way which takes in Loch Lomond is not to be missed but there are plenty of other hiking routes which have stunning backdrops all taking on a different guise as the purple heather comes into full bloom in late Summer.
As I mentioned before ,Wimbledon starts next week (Come on Andy!) where strawberries and cream will be consumed by many attendees. While I do have a penchant for fragrant, ripe strawberries, this Summer for me will all be about the cherries!
It is believed that the anti-oxidants found in the skin of cherries can bring about health benefits. it is said that the red pigment in the skin is used in the treatment of arterial disease, some forms of diabetes and gout. The anti-inflammatory properties found in cherries are said to be beneficial in conditions such as arthritis and even premature wrinkles! Also, health experts cite the hormone melatonin, found in cherries, helps to regulate a natural sleep cycle ensuring a good night’s sleep. As I have recently travelled from the Far East I wanted to put this to the test and can confirm that so far, the consumption of cherries has helped with my jet-lag enormously!
So in an effort to celebrate the hallmark of Summer, I have two very simple recipes using cherries and almonds. They are reasonably quick to prepare, the only time consuming task is removing the stones from the cherries.
The first is a delicious Cherry and Almond Summer Smoothie bursting with purple-red cherries. For this recipe which serves two. You will need:
- 250g of refrigerated cherries, stalks and stones removed and split into two
- 250ml of almond flavoured milk ( I used Almond Breeze)
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tsp of almond extract
- a level tbsp of honey
Put all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until a smooth consistency is reached. For best results, consume immediately. If you prefer to have the smoothie extremely cold, add a few ice cubes to the blender when pulsing.
The second recipe is based on a French dessert and reminds me of Summers spent with my parents-in-law in Provence.
The clafoutis, although not from Provence but from from the Limousin region of France, is a classic warm pudding using baked black cherries and is especially popular during the Summer months in France. I’ve used ground almond powder in the batter and finished off the dessert with toasted flaked almonds.
Serve the clafoutis with custard or even better, a crème anglaise to heighten the French experience. My recipe for crème anglaise can be found here.
Friday 21 June is the Summer solstice and marks the start of the Summer season. What recipes symbolise Summer for you?
I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
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Disclosure: I was invited to write a post to celebrate Summer by Barclaycard. All opinions expressed are my own. All content belongs to me. Consideration will be given for expenses incurred in writing this post.