Sunday, 16 July 2017

July - High Summer

Summer time, and the living is easy!  It really is easy since I’ve practically moved outside permanently now!  It offends me to be stuck indoors when the weather’s nice.  Drifting outside with a cup of tea turns into taking meals outside, which turn into endless hours spent pottering in the garden, drifting around pulling the odd weed, dead-heading roses and fuschias, monitoring bees ....  The responsibilities are endless!

My windows are permanently flung wide open, ditto the front and back doors to maximise airflow in an attempt to cool my house.  July can often be unbearably hot and humid, which makes sleeping a near impossibility since it only really cools down in the early hours of the morning.  Poor Holly struggles so badly in this weather and is a very droopy companion.  Our walks are severely truncated affairs now, a 10 minute sniff, meet and greet twice a day is about all we manage, unless we can hit the beach or find a nice river to cool her off in.

Tapenade Stuffed Chicken
In the kitchen, July eating is pretty much a succession of barbecues and salads, with the odd bit of ‘proper’ cooking thrown in when the weather permits.  A perennial favourite is tapenade stuffed chicken.  The tapenade itself is a fantastic standby and can be slathered onto bread or dollopped into cooked linguini for a speedy meal.

Another old favourite is barely classed as cooking – you simply need to boil a pan of pasta
Linguini with parma ham, rocket & chilli

for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients!  Linguini with parma ham, rocket and chilli.  This is absolutely delicious enjoyed in a sunny garden after an unbearably long day deskbound!  Sometimes gratification is pretty much instant.

As July progresses my thoughts start to turn to preserving – jams and chutneys.  I start scouring the hedgerows on walks for signs of the early blackberries ready to swoop as soon as they ripen.  I’m often found gazing up at threes on walks too, watching for the cobnuts so that I can start gathering them as soon as they ripen at the end of August/beginning of September – assuming that I can get to them before the squirrels do!