Na­ture’s bounty

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

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - NEWS -

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.

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