Finally, Summer has arrived with warm days, light evenings and stunning fresh produce at the Fruit Market. This is the time of year when cooking with fresh fruit and vegetables is exciting and simple with so many easy to cook crops in season. Salad leaves, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and beans all require little prep but taste beautiful and are packed with nutrition. This year the move towards plant-based cooking, and eating outside, mean that most restaurants and chefs are increasing the quantity of vegetable-based dishes on their menus and in cookery books, blogs and online recipes. The Fruit Market is the perfect place to come for inspiration whether it is walking around to see what is in season, talking to stallholders about what is good or seeking out unusual varieties of fruit and vegetables for recipes. Most times that I visit the Fruit Market I meet a chef or food writer who is there to pick up ingredients or seek ideas for seasonal dishes.
The bright colours of all of the produce at the Market are incredible, and the fresh flowers and plants really shine in summer. Vast shelves of bedding plants, daisies, geraniums and marigolds were all being visited by hungry bees on my last visit and I was tempted to buy plants to take home to fill my garden with colour.
Courgettes and tomatoes are ripe and plentiful at this time of year and the number of different varieties is impressive as you look around the market. Tomatoes in every colour (even black) and shape from tiny vine cherry tomatoes to enormous beef varieties, many of which are grown in the UK. Summer squash and courgettes with stripes, yellow skin and flowers are also in season and are at their best in summer while they are small. I love combining different varieties of tomatoes and courgettes as they all have a slightly different flavour, appearance and texture. There is nothing quite as delicious as a perfectly ripe tomato and keep them at room temperature to maximise their sweetness.
Beans and peas are in season with green beans and runners at their best during the summer months. Beans are so easy to cook, and so delicious, that they feature in most of my cooking over the summer. It is important not to overcook them so add them at the end of cooking a dish. Fresh peas are also lovely when you have the time to do some relaxed podding, in my opinion it is worth the effort and is quite relaxing! Fresh peas are delicious straight from the pod or lightly cooked. As the pod grows larger the peas become a bit harder and need more cooking so choose peas that look bright green and fresh and not too big.
Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines and apricots are perfect in the summer and you can smell their delicious scent as you walk around the Fruit Market. At the Fruit Market I also saw red apricots, which were new to me, as well as ‘donut’ nectarines alongside the most enormous peaches I’ve seen. Berries are also stunning in the summer and their bright colours fill the Market. Fresh raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants as well as a huge variety of melons are everywhere at the Fruit Market and are the perfect fruit as they can be eaten raw, cooked, in recipes and in sweet and savoury dishes. I like adding fruit to savoury dishes, especially salads, as they give an unexpected sweetness and a refreshing texture. Watermelon in particular takes savoury flavour really well and is great with tomatoes and cucumbers, and a sprinkle of chilli if you like.
At the Bristol Fruit Market you find the best quality ingredients at their best; ready to be served in shops, homes and restaurants far and wide. Summer is the time where you really are spoiled for choice and can enjoy simple recipes with little cooking required whether it is for eating at home or creating an outdoor meal or picnic. Enjoy the sun, and the best in season, while you can!
Courgetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil and Walnut Pesto Gluten free, vegetarian, contains nuts You need some kind of spiraliser or julienne peeler to make courgetti; it is a great way to make a pasta style dish without the pasta. You can now by small handheld spiralisers which are safer to use than the large … Continued
Watermelon, Tomato, Cucumber and Goats Cheese Salad Serves 4, gluten free, vegetarian Ingredients 500g watermelon, skin sliced off 1 cucumber 2 ripe beef tomatoes The juice and zest of a lime A sprinkle of mild chilli flakes 150g goats cheese-chevre log or a crumble hard cheese To serve: A drizzle of good quality extra virgin … Continued
Peach Melba Semifreddo Makes one loaf tin. Gluten free You will need a metal or silicone loaf tin lined with a strip of greaseproof paper. Ingredients 3 ripe peaches 150ml white or rose wine 100g caster sugar 2 bay leaves Water to cover A vanilla pod 250g fresh raspberries 300ml double cream 200ml Greek yoghurt … Continued