July. The time when school’s break up, the days have that lovely summer hue and you play roulette with the barbecue conundrum; should you or should you not. We love July, it’s the point where the year makes for great food, spending time together with friends, and for the lucky sorts, a getaway or two.
We also have Wimbledon, who doesn’t love a bit of Tennis, the Tour De France and we can also look forward to the Women’s European Football Championships as well as international athletics season. OK, so they’re not food related, or kitchen related by that matter or are they?
That’s why this July supper club is going to be a little different and bring together some of the flavours of these events into our menu with great recipes and ideas. So, let’s begin.
What are the ingredients on the menu?
Apricots and aubergines are a very seasonal produce this time of the year, as well as the return of the cherry that we have come to love and enjoy so much, be it in puddings or even savoury dishes to add sharpness in the most natural of ways.
Bright, fresh and green vegetables like courgettes, globe artichokes, cucumber and fennel make for great dishes and seasonal salads as well, and not forgetting, beans. We love beans, from runner to french, they are the gift that keeps on giving, alone or with a beautifully prepared side dish full of freshness.
Why don’t we start then with the runner beans? And let’s go all continental with our first choice of a lovely, welcoming plate of food like a chicken and green bean caesar salad. Potentially not a choice for a starter, but light, refreshing and done with seasonal veg and a light dressing, this is a meal by itself; with a dinner party or barbecue, it can be a great go to starter.
Pair this lovely dish with a delightful light oak chardonnay or sweet rose to really bring out some delicious flavours.
If you wanted to go more, finger style food and bring out your grilling game – it’s a thing – then why not do something like a bruschetta but with a lovely mint and pea topping. It is wonderful all year long as a starter, but freshly picked peas with wonderful fresh mint as well? Heaven.
For the mains, we are going to go all Tour De France for you; you can thank us later. France has some of the most wonderful epicurean delights that you can enjoy, especially during the summertime.
So what would we recommend for your tastebuds this July in our supper club? There are a few great choices with that all important French influence; these spicy aubergine polpette are just one to go for. They contain bags of flavour and come with a spicy jam that you would find in bordeaux as well.
Then there is always the great choice, ratatouille. You can oven roast your vegetables, you can prepare variations of food and even, again, use your barbecue to do some of the heavy lifting with the vegetables in their wonderful preparation. This simple recipe gives you everything you need to know for a great ratatouille.
If you wanted to move away from aubergines and have something more, meaty, then why not go for this amazing seared steak salad; keep it French by adding some lovely podded beans, and just flash cooking the steak the way the french love.
Well, how could we forgo anything that is British in this, the most splendid time for berries. We love berries, and the relatively new tradition of strawberries and cream (around since the 1960s) is something that we need to keep alive.
Therefore, we have simple ideas for a quick, and easy dessert because, you want to enjoy your food and not be a slave to the stove or the kitchen all day long.
So, why not go for a delightful Eton Mess. Keep it simple, through in some store bought meringues, your favourite berries, single cream, be naughty and add a drop of kirsch if you have any and sprinkle on pistachio and mint for a delicate and decadent finish. This variation has a nice addition of yoghurt.
What if you wanted to do something grand? This strawberry, orange and almond meringue is definitely on the list of summer desserts you want to attempt in your life. Want raspberry’s? Well, why not go for one of these beauties, a chocolate and raspberry cheesecake pot? They are to die for!