Mid Summer

England is having what is described as a heatwave. Day after glorious day of temperatures north of 28 degrees, some even hitting 30. Even I, a natual Australian, am finding this weather to be warm. It is glorious, and even more precious because it is so rare. Just three eeks* until the summer holidays, but there are no guarantees this will last and so we are trying to make the most of it while we can.

The above photo was the view of the harbour from our house at 5 .20 am this morning.

And taken 20 minutes later.

Returning home on the morning school run on the new chain ferry that crosses the river joining East and West Cowes.

A post-school run breakfast of apricots and prunes cooked in a little butter and honey with Greek yoghurt and pumpkin seeds.

Lunch was baked lamb with salad.

This is my preferred marinade or crust for a leg or rack of lamb. I mix a chopped onion, a big handful of chopped rosemary and parsley, some breadcrumbs and a tablespoon of sticky orange marmalade. The sugars in the marmalade caramelise and the result is a little hard to describe; herby, sweet and bitter.

The lamb ready to go into the oven.

Served with a salad.

 

 

 

  • eeks was a typos of weeks.However, when I think of how little of the school year there is left I do, indeed, go ‘eek’!!

Summer Holidays- first day

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Today is the first day of the summer school holidays. We are so excited Chez Gusto. 9 weeks away from school (although not, alas, from work or study for H-G or I) but school hols for Baby Gusto. I am determined to wring every single bit of opportunity out of the summer- no matter what the unreliable English weather holds in store.

Yesterday, the last day of school, was a half day. So as it was impractical to drop off B-G and then go home again I stayed in town. The day started with a banana and cinnamon smoothie at home

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Then it was school drop-off followed by trashy food and a trashy book

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Bliss.

I still had 2 hours to go, so I went to a new tea shop in Ryde, Hobbs. I really like this place. It is annexed to the very long-standing Hobbs watchmaker and jeweller, and as a cup of tea and a home made cheese scone costs only £2.50, it seemed the perfect place to prop and work on my tax law assignment.

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Today however I left B-G to recover from his busy term and went to the local farm shop. This was my happy haul.

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Free-range eggs, cherries, white peaches and glorious blood plums.

For dinner I served grilled steak and kebabs with salad and made my favourite blue cheese sauce. Just a clove of garlic, olive oil and St Agur.

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This was followed by vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit from the farm shop.

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baby Gusto went to bed and Husband Gusto and I sat and sipped tea and ate our way through the fruit bowl. This was quite literally what was left…..

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Good, happy day.

Harvest (1) – Greengage tartlets

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Good friends of ours have just moved from The Mainland to The Island full time. They have found a gorgeous house with land, and my ultimate dream…… a small orchard filled with gorgeous fruit trees. They were kind enough to invite us for lunch and we spent a delightful time harvesting greengages and apples and took bags of each home with us.

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Greengages – a type of plum.

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Mmmmmmm….. apples, freshly picked.

We ate about 20 greengages fresh for dinner last night, and today Baby-Gusto and I made really simple and easy tartlets. First I roughly chopped the greengages and removed the stone.

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I put a tablespoon of butter and sugar into a small saucepan and added the greengages. I cooked over a low heat stirring for 10 minutes or so until the fruit had a jam-like consistency. I then rolled out some ready-made puff pastry and cut out circles. I dolloped a spoonful of the greengage jam in the middle. These went into an oven on 180 degrees celsius for about 15-17 minutes.

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Perfect with a cup of coffee, and a lovely snack on a cold day!

Lettuce Wraps

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This is a favourite summer lunch or supper staple for us. Lettuce stuffed with a mixture of chopped vegetables, avocado, nuts (usually cashews but we only had flaked almonds in the house yesterday), fresh mint, coriander and basil and with a dipping sauce made of soy and sweet chilli sauce.

It is simple, but so so so delicious. You can feel it doing the body good.

Interlude- Zen Zen coconut ice cream

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Accepted wisdom in the Gusto household is that Baby-Gusto hates coconut. He refuses coconut water as a drink (nectar of the gods), refuses dessicated coconut on the raw chocolate truffles I very occasionally make. Refuses my vegetable, apple and coconut curry. Will not even tolerate the odd Bounty bar.

This, however, he wolfed down and asked for more. Gorgeous, delicious, unctuous, vegan coconut icecream made with 77% coconut milk.

Yum. Like Seriously Yum.

http://www.zenzenfood.co.uk/