I am not sure why this summer seems so vivid,
with each day somehow more beautiful than the last.
I only know that is the way it feels. The days
are moving as if each hour is two, and every
detail – a salad, a bunch of sweet peas or box
of tiny broad beans – is somehow more rich than it
would normally be. It is as if the colours,
sounds and scents of summer have been turned up a notch.
Tiny broad beans so tender you could eat them pod
and all; sweet little peas (they love a drop of good
steady rain) and lettuces that have benefited
from the cooler mornings and evenings. I made a
bean sauce this week with a base of crisp purple
and white spring onions, broad beans and tarragon. I
gave it a backbone of cubed unsmoked bacon and
bound it with a little cream. I skinned the larger beans
but left the real babies in their paper-thin skins.
The early peaches are at last arriving from
France and Italy. I wait all spring for these fruits
with their rose-scented juice. It is rare to find them
perfectly ripe in the shops, so I make sure I
buy them a couple of days before I need them.
The old trick of putting them in a paper bag
with a ripe banana to speed up their ripening
works well, but they do very nicely just left out
for a day or two. But there is no need to squeeze
and prod. An unripe peach has virtually no smell;
a ripe one will tell you it is ready to eat.
(From Nigel Slater’s recipe column, 4 July 2010)