August is the bumper month for British seasonal fruit and veg, the farm shops will be positively bursting with varieties, lots grown outdoors and some grown under polytunnels or glass, but all picked fresh and travelling the minimum of miles to get to your plate. I cannot believe how amazing the summer has been so far, I know the grass is looking a bit straw like, but other than that I have no complaints. The barbecue has been on pretty much every day and whether you fancy a delicious steak for a weekend treat, or a big pack of home made sausages and burgers the meat counter at Bradshaw's Farm Shop & Cafe is hard to beat. They also have a big selection of fresh local fruit and veg, and a good range of store cupboard items too. I urge you all to pop in before you head to the supermarket and get as much as you can from this local gem.
Tomatoes seem to feature at every meal for me at the minute. I just love the variety, big ones, small ones, black ones, yellow ones! Yep all shapes and sizes! My favourite way to eat them is to simply chop them up and serve them in a big bowl with a bit of olive oil, salt and sherry vinegar on them, they are great the next day for lunch too. My only request is that you serve them at room temperature please, cold tomatoes simply have no taste to them. I usually grow my own, unfortunately this year we’ve had so much work done on the house that the garden became a bit of a builders yard. However, the garden is the next project, and I’ve managed to squeeze a little kitchen bed in; so next year I’ll be down to Lichfield Garden Centre nice and early to get the best selection. I don’t have room for a greenhouse, so I buy their small plants, and I love to grow tumbling toms in hanging baskets, they rarely make it to the table: they are my gardeners treat when I’m watering and dead heading in the evening.
So what about the vegetarians out there? Summer barbecues can be a bit of a dull affair with meat and fish taking centre stage. However the Lichfield Food Assembly sell several varieties of Halloumi, made fairly locally in Yorkshire, and it tastes amazing grilled on the barbecue. Served with a mass of roasted veggies and a rather nice glass of red wine on a Summer's evening – what could be better? My top tip for roasting veggies on the barbecue is to use one of the wire fish grilling baskets, just mix your veg with some oil, herbs and spices, then pop them into the basket. Much easier than threading loads of skewers, or trying to keep them from falling between the gaps in the grill. Because I talk so much about food, I’m often the lucky recipient of some excess veggies from friends gardens or allotments, and at the minute it would seem that courgettes are unstoppable, (I came home the other day to a random bag full left on the door handle) they taste particularly good roasted, along with red onions, aubergines and peppers if you can get them. I’m also still getting new potatoes in my weekly veg box from Woodhouse Farm, as long as you parboil them first they can also go into the fish basket for the barbecue.
For our vegan friends can I suggest grilled cauliflower? If you are pulling a face now without trying it – you don’t know what you are missing. Simply slice thickly then rub with oil and whatever spices you like and pop it onto the barbecue, you want it to char slightly. I know lots of people who can’t stand the dodgy boiled variety served in our youth but love this, and in the winter you can just pop it under the grill.
Later this month will be a great time to forage, the blackberries are just starting to ripen and I like to go out early with the dog and pick as many as I can. They freeze really easy and we enjoy them in the winter on our porridge. I even have my eyes on a special foraging bowl made by local artist Carla Murdoch, they are all handmade and therefore individual and take foraging to a whole new level. If you are not up to foraging then pop over to Manor Farm Fruits, where you can pick your own soft fruits and then enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea at The Strawberry Cabin.
So lovely people, the long range forecasts is for more sunshine and warm weather, so lets get those barbecues fired up and earning their keep for a change.
Member since: 27th November 2015
I love living in Lichfield, it's easy to support local businesses as we have a wealth of fabulous independent retailers. My real passion is food, not only do I love to cook, but I love to eat out even...