|summer vine tomatoes|
Are sweet as roses in the morning
And you to me
Are soft as summer rain at dawn, in love we share
That something rare
The sidewalks in the street
The concrete and the clay beneath my feet
Begins to crumble
But love will never die
Because we'll see the mountains tumble
Before we say goodbye
My love and I will be
In love eternally
That's the way
Mmm, that's the way it's meant to be
Concrete and Clay by Tommy and Brian Parker (Unit 4 + 2), 1965
Concrete and Clay is one of the songs that makes me think of summers in the city. To be more specific it reminds me of hot summer nights skipping (yes, skipping) up Camden High Street with Heathcliffe, after perhaps a few sherries too many, singing Concrete and Clay. It's an exuberant, simple song with a Latin rhythm. Perfect skipping-up-the-High-Street-while-several-sheets-to-the-wind music. Sometimes we would mix things up with a spirited rendition of Ella Fitzgerald's version of Paper Moon; small consolation for the residents of Camden when another pair of tipsy n'er-do-wells were bellowing happily in the small hours. Happy days.
So summer has well and truly arrived in England - hot sun and torrential rain . . . again. In between dodging rain showers, every other day seems to be the perfect time to eat outdoors - preferably with an interesting selection of tapas or mezze, little nibbles of something amazing, or perhaps a refreshing cold soup, under the vine-laden pergola while swigging lashings of cold white wine.
As for what is good to eat in August, this month should (weather permitting) be a good month for soft fruits and vegetables, with stone fruits such as plums (such as Victorias) and peaches appearing towards the end of the month. And since we are talking of delicious food and hot weather, this is also the season for spice and chillies; I don't know why, but the hotter the weather, a really hot chilli noodle dish seems to cool me down.
By the end of August and into September, there will be food for free and I shall be out foraging and beating back the wildlife in order to get to those wild berries. It shall also be the time to actually put into practice some of my New Year's kitchen resolutions - in foraging, preserving and better planning. Some things never seem to change!
vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (globe), aubergines, basil, beetroot, borlotti beans (for podding), broad beans, broccoli (calabrese), cabbages (various varieties), carrots, cauliflower, ceps, chanterelles, chard, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, French beans, garlic, horseradish, kohlrabi, lambs lettuce, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, oyster mushrooms, pak choi, peas, peaches, peppers, potatoes, purslane, pumpkins (and squashes), radishes, rocket, runner beans, salsify, samphire, sorrel, spinach, sweetcorn, sugarsnap peas, tomatoes, watercress, wild fennel
fruit and nuts:
apples, apricots, bilberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, damsons, gooseberries, greengages, hazelnuts, loganberries, peaches, mulberries, pears, plums, raspberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, white currants, wild strawberries
meat and game:
beef, hare, lamb, mutton, rabbit, venison, wood pigeon
fish and shellfish:
black bream, crab (brown, hen and spider), freshwater crayfish, herring, john dory, lobster, mackerel, mullet, pollack, prawns, river trout (brown and rainbow), scallops, sea bass, shrimp, skate, squid