I’ve never really considered myself to be someone whom is affected by the weather but when I think about it, I like to eat hearty, warming stews, casseroles and thick soups when the weather is colder and prefer to eat lighter fare in the summer. But the thing I look forward to the most in the summer is the bounty of summer fruits and berries available to eat. I’m already looking forward to gorging on ripe, juicy strawberries and cherries and for me, their arrival on shop shelves heralds the arrival of summer.
Raspberries are my absolute favourite summer berry – sweet, yet impossibly tart and no matter how manufacturers try, not a flavour which can be fully replicated without tasting chemically. It wasn’t always the case – I used to love strawberries more until my family went on our annual Pick-your-own outing and I ate so many strawberries that I was violently sick. Funny how strawberries have never been the same for me since.. But it was the introduction to pannacotta (my favourite dessert) which elevated the humble raspberry in my palate; the combination of soft, silky, vanilla cream with the tart, juicy raspberries was one I could not resist and get enough of. I mean, I used to love Summer Pudding, but once I got to try raspberry pannacotta, Summer Pudding was quickly pushed aside.
I also love to eat peaches and nectarines in the summer; there isn’t much more satisfying than biting into a cold, juicy peach or nectarine with its sweet nectar dripping on a warm summer’s day. Actually, eating a ripe peach or nectarine should be a messy affair with fruit juices pouring out all over your hands as you eat it. Given my love of raspberries and peaches (and nectarines), you can imagine how it very nearly blew my mind when I discovered Peach Melba. Actually, truth be told I’m not really a fan of a cooked peach, but the combination of peach (or nectarine) with raspberries and possibly some vanilla (ice) cream of some sort ticks a LOT of boxes for me. So, with the weather being a bit rubbish recently, I decided to cheer myself up after an abundance of nectarines and raspberries were ripe and ready to eat at the same time.
There’s nothing fancy about it; I stoned the nectarine and chopped it into bite-sized chunks and chucked it into a bowl with some raspberries. Usually, I macerate the fruit mixture with a little sweetener, just to help enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit (yes, by using something artificial, I know).
Then I remembered that I have some vanilla bean past which also needed using so a light smattering was applied and again, everything was mixed up. The smells of nectarine with the raspberries and vanilla had me salivating. Topped with a dollop of greek yoghurt, I couldn’t wait to tuck in.
It was perfect; even though the weather is miserable outside, it felt sunny as I savoured every mouthful and with it, was reminded of what treasures and bounties are available during summer months.