10 recipes to cook in August

As we reach the peak of summer, refreshing berries and vibrant veg are at their best, complemented by an impressive range of meat and fish which sit right at home on a sizzling barbecue. Here's what to cook over the next thirty-one days.

Nicholas is an aspiring young cook and food writer from Sussex.

Nicholas is an aspiring young cook and food writer from Sussex.

Nicholas is an aspiring young cook and food writer from Sussex.

Nicholas is an aspiring young cook and food writer from Sussex.

August is when many of us would usually embark on holidays abroad, seeking the sunnier climes of the Mediterranean or Caribbean. While that clearly isn't on the cards for 2020, luckily there's a vast array of local ingredients in season right here in the UK to keep us happy and well-fed. With juicy berries, flourishing greens and fresh fish to choose from, we have all we need to create amazing summer dishes.

The arrival of August does nothing to diminish the availability of early summer berries, with UK-grown strawberries, blueberries and raspberries reaching their peak. Furthermore, being closer to autumn means that August is also when we see the first blackberries and elderberries of the year.

August is also the month most synonymous with the classic British barbecue. Don’t just stick to sausages, burgers and chicken drumsticks, though; from mackerel to salmon, it is hard to find a species of fish that isn’t improved with the rich, smoky flavour of being cooked over glowing coals.

During those sometimes elusive hot summer days in the UK, it can be hard to muster the strength to cook a full meal. That’s when the light freshness of salads provides welcome relief. Luckily, August comes hand-in-hand with fresh, vibrant greens including peas, courgettes and broccoli. These simple vegetables can be enhanced with homemade vinaigrettes or dressings, local cheeses, oils and grains, to make the perfect summer salad.

We’ve compiled a collection of our favourite recipes for this month, which embody the best of summer; light, refreshing and energetic. Take a look below for some inspiration this August.

Black Forest Pavlova

Although often associated with the dark, wintry forests of central Europe, Victoria Glass cleverly reinvents the classic combination of cherries and chocolate to form the perfect summer dessert. Cherries are only in season for a few months in the UK, and August is the perfect opportunity to gorge on one of the most luscious fruits that Britain has to offer.

Charred mackerel with tomato ceviche

Robert Thompson’s charred mackerel is the perfect dish to prepare after a relaxing, sun-soaked day as it hits all the notes of summer. The light and refreshing ceviche is the perfect way to enhance the humble tomato, with the lime and coriander providing an added zesty note. Although not obligatory, it is hard to resist firing up the barbecue to grill these melt-in-the-mouth mackerel fillets, which not only adds texture with the crisp skin, but also a smoky flavour to the already exquisite fish.

Piccolo cherry tomato, watermelon and mint salad

This simple but delicious salad is ideal for when it’s just too hot to cook. The combination of tomato and watermelon is often seen in cold soups (such as gazpacho) or even in sorbets. Here, however, Danny Kingston combines these sweet and juicy ingredients in a refreshing salad, perfectly complemented by the rich creaminess of goat’s cheese and the crunch of crushed pistachios.

Poached peach with strawberry granita

August is an incredible month for British fruit, and Adam Bennett’s dessert is a great way to use two of the most versatile fruits that the UK has to offer. The combination of delicately poached peach, ice-cold strawberry granita and tangy crème fraiche is the perfect summer treat. As an aside, Adam suggests a grown-up twist which involves marinating the strawberries in either strawberry or peach liqueur.

Baked halibut with pea mousse and sauce vierge

Graham Campbell’s dish explores the intriguing combination of halibut and pea. Halibut is a very light fish, and Graham cleverly ensures that the different elements of pea (mousse and sorbet) don’t overwhelm its delicate flavour. Peas are at their best throughout the summer, but especially during the month of August. Although more time-consuming than some of the other recipes on this list, this subtly flavoured dish is well worth the effort for a dinner party.

Redcurrant ripple baked cheesecake

Often overlooked for more popular berries, Chris Mosler’s cheesecake brings the humble redcurrant back into the limelight. The biggest issue cooks have when working with redcurrants is their sourness, but Chris turns this flaw into a strength, as the rich, creamy cheesecake filling is juxtaposed by the tangy redcurrant ripples. Sat on a buttery biscuit base, this decadent dessert is the perfect way to end a summer meal.

Sea trout with ruby chard and clams

Alan Murchison’s dish perfectly encapsulates the feeling of a summertime seaside holiday, expertly pairing rich, meaty trout with salty clams and fresh sea vegetables. You can’t get more seasonal than this as trout, spinach and chard are at their best during August. Furthermore, Alan’s use of samphire is especially seasonal as it is only available for a few months in the summer.

Pork sausages with peas and Berkswell

Sausages are almost exclusively cooked on the barbecue in summer, but Ollie Templeton’s recipe shows that sausages are more than simple grill fodder. His sausages need a couple of days to cure and dry – so make sure you plan ahead – but the results are absolutely worth it. The process is actuallys easier than you may think – just mix the sausage ingredients, rest a little, then fill the casings (with either a stuffer or a simple funnel). The sausages are then roasted and served with a light emulsification of peas, lettuce and mint, with a final sprinkling of Berkswell cheese.

Damson mess

Damson mess
Damson mess

Damsons come into season in late August – keep an eye out for damson trees with ripe purple fruit, they’re very common all over the British countryside! Though damsons contain a lot of sugar, they’re also highly astringent – they need cooking to release the sugars, otherwise they’ll be very tart. Louise Robinson breaks her damsons down into a fruity sauce, which is then rippled through softly whipped cream and earthy hazelnut meringue pieces.

Blackberry and lemon upside-down cake

Blackberries are among the latest of the summer fruits – they don’t usually rear their heads until late August, but when they do they appear in their droves, sprouting forth from hedgerows all over the country. This blackberry and lemon upside-down cake is one of the first things we make with our first blackberry haul – line the bottom of your cake tin with blackberries, pour over a lemon sponge batter and bake for forty five minutes. Simple, delicious and summery.


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