Hello and welcome to my July kitchen. It looks like we are in for a real treat with the beautiful hot sunny weather we have been having recently and that summer has finally arrived here in the UK. It feels wonderful to be able to enjoy the lovely seasonal produce that is now in abundance. So in my kitchen this month…
Strawberry, pomegranate and rose smoothie – with its sweet and fragrant flavour, this smoothie is perfectly refreshing and filling so I am happy to have it as part of my breakfast. The main ingredient here are the strawberries that came for a local farm and we have been enjoying them immensely. And since we have been having more cocktails, smoothies and shakes that need cheery straws to sip them through, I have invested in a straw dispenser to store the straws neatly and stop them from rolling everywhere. I love the fact this one is made from a thick recycled glass bottle and adds a cool retro vibe to my kitchen. Perfect.
Strawberry jam – there are now even more jars of freshly made strawberry jam I have made using my Mum’s recipe. I’m planning on making some strawberry compote too so that we can drink it hot in front of the fire when the cold weather arrives later in the year and think of the gorgeous summer.
Cut herbs – where normally I would have some flowers, this month fresh parsley and dill are on my kitchen table with another mug waiting for some mint to join them. I love adding fresh herbs to my dishes and my particular favourite combinations are: crushed potatoes with lots of dill, peas with mint and meat sauces with chopped parsley.
Bow ties with asparagus, peas, spinach and mint – the hot weather means reduced appetites so my cooking reflects that. We all need simpler, lighter and quicker meals and this past dish hits the spot. With generous shavings of parmesan and sprinkling of lemon juice it was zingy and fresh. Ideal on a hot evening when I don’t want to spend a long time in the kitchen and would rather be enjoy sipping chilled wine whilst sitting in the garden.
Watermelon – juicy and sweet and oh so very beautiful with its ruby red flesh. Both children have been eating it by the kilos! Can’t blame them as it’s the perfect food when the air is still and the sun baking hot. I like having it in a salad with feta and mint as it makes a perfectly satisfying light lunch.
Mamushka by Olia Hercules – my new cookery book with a vast selection of Ukrainian recipes. I came across it by an accident whilst looking for another book and it caught my eye. Because “mamuska” was my pet name for my Mum. As Olia explains in her book, for her, just like me, mamushka is the affectionate name for a strong woman who isn’t afraid to enjoy freedom and be silly. That’s how I remember my Mum, always and forever. The cover of Olia’s book is stunning but then I do love traditional folklore patterns. And some of her dishes feel like home to me and I loved reading her little stories more so than the actual recipes. A lovely book that I will be going back to often.
Acacia honey – this was sent by my Dad shortly after his return home as he forgot to bring it with him. Bless him, it was such a lovely surprise – he packed it in one of the boxes that my Mum had made all these years ago. So it was double special for me. Nearly three litres of the fragrant honey are sitting in one of my kitchen cupboards. The rest is in this little spotty jar that myself and Mr A found many years ago on a flea market and we fell in love with it. So when I have a few more minutes in the morning, I like to indulge in my all time favourite breakfast and think of Dad and home – some Polish bread with butter and sliced Polish curd cheese. All covered in the golden ribbons of honey. Delicious.
Green & Black’s thin 70% dark chocolate – intensely dark and delicious. This organic chocolate is one of my favourite ones and one square with a cup of strong coffee is enough to satisfy my cocoa cravings and give me a little pick me up.
Ludovico Einaudi – not in person but firmly in my heart, my head and my soul. Memories of his only UK concert this year which I was lucky enough to be a part of thanks to Mr A and my children are still very much alive. He is an Italian pianist and a composer and his concert on the 28th of June in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire was breathtakingly beautiful and left many of us deeply moved as he played his music alongside the pink, orange and red sunset enveloping us and him. Words cannot describe it but the standing ovation and love pouring out of the crowd for Ludovico were overwhelming. I will treasure these memories forever and keep returning to them as his music plays in the background and keeps me company whilst I cook.
Penguin Cafe – these guys were the supporting act for Ludovico and I wanted to share this photo with you. I love the happiness and energy of this shot taken by Mr A as the group played their piece called “Swing the Cat”. Go and have a listen, the live version was very very fast! We hadn’t heard of them before but their Blenheim Palace set and their spin of Chopin music in “Black Hibiscus” has won me over. Their music seems perfectly suited to warm July evenings and chilled Chablis…
So that is my kitchen this month. I’m popping over to Celia‘s as well as few others as part of IMK. If you happen to stop by, I’d love to hear what’s in your kitchen and say hello x