Posted 27th May 2014 by Amber Bryce
June is finally here, and with it comes a larger dose of sunshine and a delicious selection of seasonal produce. From fresh, juicy strawberries to creamy avocado, these ingredients can be used to satisfy both sweet and savoury cravings. Colourful salads, picnic style tarts and even old school Knickerbocker glories are all contenders for their usage that will fill you with the flavours of summer.
There’s really no better way to welcome the arrival of the British summer than with the strawberry. They’re sweet and provide lots of inspiration for experimenting with desserts and even salads. Try slicing them for a Knickerbocker glory, or as a picnic perfect treat hull and place ends up on top of pastry filled with crème pâtissière for a striking tart.
Joining chocolate and cream in the league of delicious strawberry partners is balsamic vinegar. Its acidity compliments their sweetness wonderfully, particularly in a salad with red onion and feta.
Smooth to hold and a bite bursting with sweet, peachy juice, nectarines not only brighten up your fruit bowl - but also your meals. The yellower their flesh, the tangier in taste they will be, while those whiter in colour have a more delicate flavour.
Decorate a pavlova with nectarines for a delicious dessert, or caramelise them and serve with Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla extract. For a savoury snack, put them in a salsa with onion, basil and lime juice to be served with grilled prawns - perfect for barbecue weather.
Inside the tough outer skin of an avocado lies a rich, creamy texture that is buttery to the taste. Once ripened, slice lengthways through the middle, carefully cutting around the stone and then twisting each half and pulling apart. Scoop out the green flesh and lightly mash with lime juice, chopped tomatoes, spring onions and sour cream for a summery dip.
Alternatively, squeeze lemon juice over two avocado halves and fill them with your favourite fillings, such as tomatoes, crab and paprika mayonnaise.
The plump bodied, deep purple and glossy skinned aubergines we most commonly know can actually come in various shapes and sizes. One thing that is true of all types is that they are great at absorbing flavours and can be used in a vast number of ways.
Slice them lengthways and grill for 2 minutes on each side, serving with mozzarella and drizzled in almond and parsley pesto for a flavoursome lunch. Another idea is to slice 4mm thick lengths of the aubergine, grill, and then use as rolls for a delicious quinoa and paneer filling. As an alternative to grilling the aubergine, try stuffing them with olives, red onion, celery, cheese and breadcrumbs before baking to a golden colour.
Spinach leaves are at their best between May to October. Young leaves are small and a vibrant light green colour, with a mildly sweet flavour that works wonderfully in salads, while more matured leaves turn dark and develop a bitter taste.
Try putting the younger leaves in a bowl with Parmesan, tomatoes, red onion and pine nuts, then dressing in a warm lemon and garlic sauce. Cook the matured leaves with ricotta cheese and wrap in filo pastry, or try adding them to a pasta dish.
Chicken is ideal meat for this time of year, with its tender texture and subtle flavour providing a light addition to salads, wraps and barbecue selections. Try skewering cubed chicken breast and brushing with a honey glaze before grilling to create a flavour that flourishes on your taste buds. Another option for grilling chicken breast is to afterwards rest it on a bed of butterbeans, cherry tomatoes and lemon juice with grilled asparagus on the side.
What will you be cooking and eating in June? We'd love to hear your comments below, or you can tweet us @TescoRealFood
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