My favourite thing about summer is the weather and the opportunity, it hopefully gives, to spend more time outdoors. I also love the bounty of local produce that's in season; everything tastes so much better for being grown here, I think.
I adore summer fruits and get particularly excited when British cherries are in season – then I know it's summer. My Nan always buys a paper bag full of cherries and I have vivid memories of eating those as a child, they're still one of my favourite fruits. Tomatoes are also so much better in the summer; my Dad grows lots of them and they're almost a completely different beast when they're home grown, they just have so much more flavour.
When it comes to wine, I'm usually a fan of reds but somehow I find them a little heavy in the summer, so it's a great excuse for me to drink a bit of fizz. Whilst I am a sucker for a good Champagne, I'm getting in to crémant and I'm a big fan of some of the great English sparkling wines that are around too. I'm also partial to a bit of riesling, it takes me back to my German roots and the sweeter styles also satisfy my sweet tooth!
Recipe: Easy tomato galette
Some people love making their own pastry, and I am usually one of them, but occasionally you just need a quick and simple dish that still brings a smile. If you have time, feel free to make yourself a buttery shortcrust but I'm not going to hold it against you for using shop bought.
Tomatoes are one of the best summer ingredients and, whilst they are delicious served fresh, their flavour is heightened when roasted. They unfortunately love to release a lot of moisture, so you need to try and remove as much of this before baking without disturbing their structure so if you have longer than I've suggested below, do give them time to dry out a little more.
- 1 x 375g pack shortcrust pastry
- 350g vine on tomatoes (you can use a mixture of cherry and regular size)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- A few sprigs thyme, leaves picked
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 small egg, beaten
- 50g manchego cheese
- Slice the tomatoes to 1.5cm thick pieces. Place in a large bowl with the garlic, thyme leaves and salt. Mix well and then tip into a large sieve set over a bowl and leave for 30 minutes for the juices to drain.
- Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 8.
- Unwrap the pastry, keeping it on the parchment. Cut the pastry so it's a square and then trim the corners to make a kind of circle. Move the pastry carefully to a baking tray, leaving the parchment behind. Spoon the tomato mixture on to the centre of the pastry, trying to keep it as central as possible – you want to try and keep a 3-4cm gap around the outside. Bring the pastry edges in so it creates a crust and then glaze the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then turn down to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Bake for a further 25 minutes, remove from the oven and grate over the manchego cheese. Return to the oven for a final 10 minutes.
Serve alongside Sam's green bean summer salad.
Perhaps the sweetness Sam admires in German riesling would actually work quite well with this, standing up to the acidity in the tomatoes. Opt too for food-friendly, cheerful white blends with lots of ripe fruit such as the Cape and Oz are brilliant at. Italy, well-known for its delicious dishes incorporating the 'love apple' is an obvious choice: voluptuous and fruity reds from indigenous grapes like negroamaro, malvasia nero and primitivo.