Having just returned from a break that entailed a few glorious days spent running the dogs along sandy beaches on the Gower, Wales, its surprising what a few weeks has done to the produce we were using in the kitchen.
The British asparagus season has finished, Jersey Royals are no longer bite size and red mullet has gone into hiding.
The good news is that juicy white peaches are available, samphire is abundant along with sea bass and those green prickly gooseberries are at their best.
The green variety are best cooked but wait a few weeks for red or golden dessert gooseberry. They are sweet enough to eat raw.
Personally I think of this fruit as something quite British – where else have you seen gooseberry fool or crumble? But like so much of our traditional produce, it has lost its popularity. This berry doesn’t have to be used entirely for desserts and I like the tart twang of the green berries which when cooked go beautifully with grilled fish, pork or duck.
Wood pigeons are currently having a great time feeding on farmers’ fields trying to get fatter for the cooler months.
They make a good alternative to duck to go with the gooseberries.
Gooseberry and pigeon
Ingredients (serves four)
8 wood pigeon breasts
1 shallot finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
40ml white wine vinegar
1. Heat a spoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add the shallot and garlic. Cook for two minutes.
2. Pour in the white wine vinegar and the sugar. Cook for another two minutes
3. Chop half the gooseberries and add them to the pan. Cook until they break down
4. Slice the remaining gooseberries and add to the pan. Cook for one minute and remove from the heat.
5. Taste and season.
7. Pan-fry the pigeon breasts for two minutes on each side so they are medium rare.
8. Allow to rest for four minutes.
9. Spoon the gooseberry on to four plates and top with the pigeon.
Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth – fatolives.co.uk and 01243 377914.