For lots of us July marks the start of the great British summer with trips away just around the corner, the school holidays about to start and some really glorious weather (and some is, after all, better than none). When the sun shines we can’t help but feel our gaze drifting longingly towards the window, for July certainly is a month worth spending outdoors. Whether trekking through muddy festival fields or sipping cocktails in the back garden, July brought with it plenty of inspiration for al fresco dining on Great British Chefs.
We hope our selection of how to guides and recipes averted a few barbecue disasters, with handy techniques explained and fresh ideas for things to cook beyond the usual overly-charred barbecue fare.
Nancy Harbord introduced us to the world of barbecued and smoked cocktails. While this might sound like an all-too-common side effect of standing too close to the barbecue with an Aperol spritz in your hand, this technique can actually add a real depth of flavour and reinvent the most classic of cocktails.
Speaking of gin, we also looked at the recent trend in artisan gin and followed the process of using a small scale flavour infuser to create flavoured gin. With some infusions taking just twenty minutes to create, we predict this shiny brass gin still is a piece of kit that everyone will be putting on their Christmas list this year.
With the advent of holiday season Izzy Burton mulled over previous holiday disasters to draw up some useful tips for self-catering holidays, while Nancy Harbord advised on cooking on a canal boat holiday. Further afield we looked to Europe and the culinary delights of foreign shores, including Spanish fine dining, Comté cheesemaking in France and truffle hunting in the Italian hills. We advised music festival goers on the unexpected culinary delights they can expect alongside the chart performers and ageing icons, as well as taking a look at the country’s best food and beer festivals.
For those giving every weekend a holiday-like feel by heading out to explore the UK’s great parks, countryside and heritage sites there were some fantastic tips on what constitutes the perfect picnic. Arguably no picnic would be complete without an enormous slab of quiche to back up the smaller, pickier items and our guide on how to make a quiche ensured all picnic goers achieved the desired state of firm wobbliness in their tarts.
July boasts a rich bounty of seasonal ingredients, as Sally Abé’s seasonal round up demonstrated. Berries are always plentiful at this time of year, from sweet strawberries and tart cherries to sour gooseberries. We took a closer look at the different tastes, textures and varieties of mangos meaning anyone who tried Nisha Thomas’ colourful Mango and cardamom macaron recipe would be extremely well informed!
This month we’ve welcomed Xavier Boyer of L’Atelier and Tong Chee Hwee, executive chef of Hakkasan, to Great British Chefs. With them they bring some truly stunning recipes, such as Xavier Boyer’s Burrata salad with beetroot and Chef Tong’s Duck Salad. Elsewhere, Francesco Mazzei was joined in the kitchen by Stanley Tucci to swap traditional Italian recipes and Frances Atkins welcomed us to her chef’s table for dinner.
Massimo Bottura, Italian culinary icon with three Michelin stars to his name, spoke to Great British Chefs’ CEO Ollie Lloyd about his relationship with contemporary art.
August might promise even better weather, but over the next month the lure of our television sets will be too strong to resist. We’ll be covering Great British Bake Off from start to finish, and avidly following the progress of our own chefs competing in Great British Menu.
Top London chefs Mark Hix and Paul Welburn will be joining the site and sharing some of their best recipes, while elsewhere on the site we will be celebrating the glorious 12th heralding the start of the grouse and game season.