Our Favourite month and not just because of what is in season and available on the 14th of this month we will have been married for 38 years yes 38 years and is really doesn’t feel like it, here is a photo of us on that day just before we left for Mallorca.
Now June is here and the sun is warm, our thoughts turn to lighter foods, picnics and barbeques, and out comes the salad bowl, do you think that there is anything better than fresh summer produce? Biting into a sweet strawberry or munching your way through a bag of glistening red cherries is as much a part of a British summer as sunburn and short shorts.
This month our own British foodstuffs really begin to emerge, soft fruits, vegetables and seafood are abundant the asparagus is still good and the Jersey Royals are still as tasty as ever.
The wealth of June is just what we’ve been waiting for, the days grow longer, and it’s a joy to go shopping with the markets, shops, and supermarkets just overrunning with the best of British produce especially The first of the Kentish fruit so we say welcome to the strawberries and gooseberries and now’s the time to make the most of the young broad beans, peas and new potatoes, to be enjoyed with new season lamb and don’t forget June is also a good month for quail, beef and guinea fowl and there is lots of fish in season, including mackerel, plaice and lemon sole. Look out for the fish and shellfish from Scottish and Western waters especially lobster and crab, monkfish is at its best, Salmon is relatively cheap right now and sardines are terrific just grilled with a little seasoning and lemon.
Most butchers will by now supplying you with barbeque packs of meats, but beware there are a few unscrupulous butchers who just use the barbeque season as an excuse to get rid of inferior meat.
It’s time to fill your basket with herbs and tender young veggies our diminutive balcony garden is now giving us a steady supply of Rocket, Baby Salad Leaves, Mint and Parsley.
Summer is beckoning us June asks us to luxuriate in the sumptuous range of produce it has to offer, Strawberries are reaching their best, with the earliest varieties from Hampshire and the Cheddar gorge available in the first couple of weeks and by the end of the month the strawberries from Kent will be in full flow and the prices will plummet. Apricots, cherries, and gooseberries are worth looking out for.
Fruit at Its Best
Apricots, cherries, Strawberries, and gooseberries
Vegetables at Their Best
Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Courgettes, Fennel, Jersey Royal New Potatoes, Lettuces and Salad Leaves, Mangetout, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Spinach, Spring Onions, Turnips and Watercress.
Herbs: Basil, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Elderflower, Mint, Nasturtium, Parsley (Curly), Parsley (Flat-Leaf), Rosemary, Sorrel, Tarragon, and Thyme.
Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best
Beef, Guinea Fowl, Hare, Lamb, Mutton, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Quail, and Wood Pigeon.
Fish and Seafood at Its Best
Line-Caught Mackerel are getting bigger and it's definitely the time to be eating flat fish, Lemon Sole and Plaice are especially succulent and plentiful at the moment.
Cod, Crab, Haddock, Herring, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Plaice, Pollack, Prawns, Salmon, Sardines, Sea Bream, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Whelks, and Whitebait.
Tachbrook Street Market
Address: Tachbrook Street, SW1
Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm
Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico
Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, 436
Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish and bread and cakes, the market is home to an array of events counting late night shopping, gourmet lunchtime offers, ‘Fashion Thursdays’ and it will be hosting a brilliant Christmas market. Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its lively diverse array of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more. Discover different stalls on different days.
Dates for your diary:
11-12 June, Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show, Ewood Park, Blackburn
Nigel Haworth is returning for a second year to host a two day foodie’s extravaganza. The Fantastic Food Show promises to be an example of real northern hospitality, which means you’ll be leaving with a smile on your face!
The Cookery Theatre is the place to go to pick up handy tips with the likes of Simon Rimmer and Nigel himself showing what they’re made of.
There are plenty of local producers keen to answer your questions and show off what they’ve got, so if the cupboard are looking a bit bare, this is a great place to stock up.
Website: Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show
16 - 19 June, Taste of London, Regent’s Park, London.
Right in the heart of the capital, some of the country’s best chefs and produce come together in a food fest that will tickle the taste buds and get the creative juices running. You will have the unique opportunity to dine from 40 of London’s top restaurants, try and buy from 200 top quality foods and drink producers and see the pros demonstrate their skills live on stage. 2011 will see the addition of ‘The Secret Garden’, an exclusive area where visitors will have the chance to take part in Q&A sessions with chefs while feasting on canapés and champagne.
Website: Taste of London
On Sonny’s Stall, Tachbrook Street Market;
Asparagus, broad beans, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, new potatoes, peas, radishes, rocket, sorrel, spring onions, watercress along with the most tasty fruits such as Cherries, elderflowers, gooseberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, and Raspberries.
Our Local Butchers Freeman’s have been getting in;
Beef, Guinea Fowl, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Quail, and Wood Pigeon.
Our Local Fishmonger Jon Norris, Tachbrook Street Market Has Been Getting In;
Another great display from Jon including a small shark, to day he was showing amongst others live Crab, South coast Flounder, Cornish Octopus, Cornish Haddock, Cornish Hake, Hake is an under-rated fish, which is a shame because it has a subtle and delicious flavour, similar to cod. Best of all, it is environmentally sustainable, yet inexpensive. It is also easy to prepare as it has relatively few bones. Heating the fish fillets slowly in a cold pan prevents them from curling up during frying. This works really well for firm fish with thin skins, such as hake.
There was also wild Scottish Sea Trout, Cornish Dover Sole, Scottish Squid, Scottish Langoustines, Halibut, Herring, Lemon Sole, line caught Mackerel, Plaice, Pollack, Sea Bass, and Cornish Turbot as you will all know by now most all Jon’s fish is from around the Cornish, Devon and Scottish coasts, just look at the photos and see just how passionate Jon and his family and friends are about the produce they sell, oh we're also recommending Jon’s Dressed Crab it's a simple, healthy meal using a mixture of brown and white Crab meat and prawns so delicious with salad and a light dressing.
Jon’s tips to buying fish and shellfish;
Fresh Whole Fish
- The eyes should be clear and convex, not sunken
- The flesh should be firm and resilient to finger pressure
- The fish should smell freshly and lightly of the sea
- Don’t buy fish with a strong ‘fishy’ or sulphurous odour, or that smells of ammonia.
- Oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon should have a light, fresh oil smell, like linseed oil. If they smell of rancid oil, don’t buy.
- The surface of the fillet should be moist, with no signs of discolouration.
- The texture should be firm, with no mushiness. Some separation of the muscle flakes (caused by the filleting process) is completely normal, but it shouldn’t be excessive.
- As with whole fish, the smell should be fresh and light, with no ‘off’ odours.
- Live bi-valves (including mussels, clams and oysters)
- The general rule of not buying bi-valves during any month spelled without an ‘r’ (i.e. May to August) still holds true, as this is the spawning season and quality will be poorer. When raw, the shells should be closed tight. Any slightly open shells that don’t close up in response to a few light taps should be discarded. When cooked, the shells should open – discard any that don’t.
Recipes for June
We bought some Hake from Jon as it is a while since we had some and his looked very fresh and tasty, here are two of my favourite recipes for Hake.
Hake with Peas and Asparagus (Merluza con Guisantes y Esparrgos)
I remember having this dish many, many years ago at a friend’s house and then in 1972 in the little fishing villages of Cala Bona and Calla Millor (not so small now though) on the island of Mallorca we had it again and again. This recipe is as original as it gets, modern versions differ somewhat but we like this better especially in June when we serve it with steamed Jersey Royal Potatoes.
Serves / Makes: 4 servings
Prep-Time: 10 minutes
Cook-Time: 30 minutes
You Will Need
1 small onion
1 small carrot
1 sprig, parsley
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 kilo, peas, frozen or fresh
1 kilo, hake, cut into portions
Salt and pepper to taste
300mls, fish or vegetable stock, if we have no fish stock we like to use Knorr vegetable gel stockpots
12, cooked asparagus tips, we like to use the jumbo asparagus
Chop the onion, carrot, and parsley and fry gently in a saucepan in oil, without browning. Add the peas and the hake, season, add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes; put the asparagus tips in at the last moment, just to heat through.
Serve the hake surrounded by the peas, with the asparagus tips on top and Enjoy!
Serves / Makes: 4 servings
Prep-Time: 10 minutes
Cook-Time: 12 minutes
You Will Need
2 tablespoons, seasoned plain flour
2 tablespoons, lemon zest, finely grated
10 grams, fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 small fillets or steaks of hake about 80 to 90 grams each
2 tablespoons, olive oil
Mix together the seasoned flour, lemon zest and parsley, pat onto the fish on both sides well, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat; cook the fish for 11 to 12 minutes turning occasionally. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with lemon wedges and seasonal vegetables.