Keep your energ y levels high with all the fresh flavours of June, says Rose Prince. Photography by Yuki Sugiura. Food styling by Valerie Berry
Busy, crazy June. When it seems everyone is around, when traffic chokes every journey you take and the school year reaches its exhausted crescendo. It’s a month of big events, from sports days and proms to nightly, sunlit par tying in a haze of white charcoal smoke. There’s too much to cram in, whether dressing up for royal ascot, banking up work ahead of a holiday, doing your level best to mop the exam stress from an offspring’s brow or trying to sneak in a few hours of TV, watching the tennis at Queen’s. On balance, I think that June is even more shattering t han December, t hough of ten in a joyful way. Frantically keeping up with a packed dia r y does not leave a lot of t ime for cooking – ironic when it is exactly now that good nourishment is essential, and typical since June is such a great time for seasonal eating. On grocers’ counters, punnets brim with red, black and green berries and the season’s final bunches of asparagus. There’s the privilege of eating fresh peas, broad beans,
Look out for elderflowers in hedgerows – you only need a few to make a syrup
small potatoes from Cornwall and the Channel Isla nds, mult i fa r ious lea f y greens and the first, tender roots – carrot, radish, then beetroot red, gold and stripy pink.
Recipes for June must take the shortage of time into account while not miss- i ng out on t he glut . For t hat wear y student, needing brief distraction from their books and files, some marigoldyellow fritters, speckled with g reens and eaten with a green-chilli salsa and a spoonful of rich sour cream, are as effective but infinitely more pleasura- ble than a vitamin injection. For that TV supper taken while watching the tennis, a gratin of young lettuce hearts as vibrant as the balls being smashed back and forth over nets, stuffed with creamy ricotta, is perfect. Eat this alone or as a side dish with grilled pork chops, but ter y watercress purée a nd small garden peas.
There is always the hope, however, that the light evenings will lend time for a relaxing walk. In which case look out for elderflowers in hedgerows – you only need a few to make a syrup to add to an easy-to-make cake for picnics, to pack into lunchboxes or to ser ve as a pudding with a squiggle of extra honey, and a dollop of cream. Seems like a lot of work? With all those energ y-packing greens, it will be a breeze.