Coleslaw – or slaw, for short – is a fantastically versatile side dish. Composed primarily of finely sliced ribbons of red and/or white cabbage, slaw is able to adopt and absorb any flavours successfully, usually to delicious effect. For me, however, white cabbage slaw always has an “Asian” feel about it – my apologies for the generalisation. This Asian Sesame Seed Slaw, for instance, benefits greatly from the presence of just a little sesame oil, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and a pinch of chilli flakes. Seasoned similarly, it makes the perfect accompaniment to almost any noodle dish, but also as a fresh dish alongside a curry.
Though it has – thankfully – cooled off a little here in the UK, watermelon still firmly has its place in providing refreshment where only stifling heat previously existed. So well does the fruit live up to its name that devouring but a few chunks feels akin to seeing off a good few glasses of ice-cold water. Happily – for this recipe for Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad, at least – watermelon lends itself as well as any fruit to savoury concoctions, providing a sweet juiciness you can’t help but gobble.
There’s an awful lot of red wine in Spain. That may be an obvious statement – one that didn’t really need saying – but combined with the burning heat of the Iberian Peninsula it does at least explain why the Spanish do so many different things with the stuff. A glass of good-quality Rioja always goes down a treat, but under the oppressive sun a few drops of sangria or Tinto de Verano can go a long way.
A variety of edible thistle, the Artichoke is one of the real joys of summer in both flavour and fragrance. Though cultivated in Britain – particularly in the South – the heartland of the Globe Artichoke is the Mediterranean, where it grows wild and in prodigious quantity. Indeed, the artichoke is best known for its use in Italian cuisine. But before we get onto all of the clever things that can be done with artichoke hearts, let me show you how to prepare the vegetable and enjoy its meaty leaves.
Indian food is all about the – not-so-optional – extras. A curry isn’t as it should be without a hastily torn handful of flatbread, a refreshing salsa or a dollop of homemade mango chutney. Even better, why not create something a little more complex, such as a bowl full of crispy onion bhajis, or – yes, you guessed it – vibrantly-coloured Spinach Pakoras. These are the additions that truly make a dish into a meal.