Today, hopeful of a bit more of the lovely sun that's been around this week, we decided to do a summery Sunday lunch rather than a trad roast for friends. Predictably, the rain came down, plus some spectacular thunder, but the food still tasted light and bright, a little bit of sunshine in the gloom.
We started with canapés from the August issue of Delicious magazine: you roll out some puff pastry, put it on a floured baking sheet and cut into 1inch squares. Prick each one with a fork a few times, dust some flour over the top (that wasn't in the recipe, but I lost a few to sticking) and put another baking tray on top. Bake in 200C oven for 15-25 mins, until all slightly puffed and golden, then cool. Top with onion jam and goats cheese, or manchego cheese and half a cherry tomato, then bake for 10 mins to melt the cheese.
For the the main course Alan made a risotto cake. Normally, risotto doesn't hang around long enough to get turned into anything else, but after seeing lovely pictures of the results when a friend made a saffron risotto cake with grilled aubergines and courgetter, we followed the same recipe. It's from Jane Baxter of the Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon, available on the Guardian here. The end result was very good, but I'm equally keen to try it as a normal risotto with the same mix of flavourings: a hint of chilli, lots of ground fennel seed, and tomatoes.
We served it with my favourite salad of green beans, mange tout and peas in a dressing made with mustard seeds, nigella seeds, lemon and tarragon - it's that salad you always see in those nice cafes that serve amazing quiches with lots of interesting salads, and I was very excited when I found it yesterday in Yottam Ottolenghi's book Plenty. Utterly delicious, so summery and fresh-tasting, and now I know the recipe I have a feeling I will be making it all summer (whether we get any more sunshine or not).
For dessert, just to really emphasise the summery-ness and support Team GB in every way, we had English raspberries in a monumental pavlova, slightly larger than my cake stand - the meringue sighed, creaked, then collapsed just a little bit when I loaded it up with cream. Yum.