June is traditionally the start of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which evokes images of strawberries, cream and champagne. But whilst COVID-19 might have robbed us of the chance to watch the tennis this year, there are still plenty of ways in which to create delicious dishes using strawberries – plus a whole host of other super seasonal ingredients.
Read on to discover our favourite recipes that bring out the best of British ingredients this June.
What better way to enjoy the sunshine than with a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream? It’s simple to make and there is no need to invest in an ice cream maker either. This no-churn recipe brings out the summer flavour of strawberries and cream to make you feel like you are sitting on Centre Court enjoying the tennis.
Quintessentially British rhubarb
You can’t mention rhubarb without custard – and this delightfully tart rhubarb dish is complemented by the sweet, sticky taste of custard. But did you know there is more to rhubarb than meets the eye?
Rhubarb is a great source of vitamin K and fibre. Fibre is vital for your digestive health and can help to lower cholesterol, whilst vitamin K is essential to help your blood clot and wounds heal effectively, so you can enjoy this very traditional English fruit knowing that it’s working in harmony with your body.
Asparagus is known as a ‘superfood’, which means not only is it incredibly tasty, but it also packs a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. It’s available to buy in supermarkets and the British asparagus season begins on St George’s Day and runs to the end of June.
There are so many ways to enjoy asparagus, it can be steamed, grilled, roasted or even barbecued, making it a truly versatile veggie. If you are looking for a quick and nutritious lunch try this British asparagus grilled cheese sandwich, which combines asparagus and gruyere cheese with sourdough bread.
The best of British beetroot
Most of the UK’s crop of beetroot is grown in the rich soil of the Cambridgeshire fenlands, which yields a full flavoured, yet sweet root. And if you are watching your weight, beetroot is almost fat-free and has only 38 calories per 100g.
It’s an ideal addition to a summer salad but did you know it’s also an unusual, yet tasty, ingredient for cakes and desserts. Try this recipe for Spiced beetroot and apple muffins with crunchy hazelnut topping if you don’t believe us – we promise you’ll be converted!
Fabulous fennel – the divider of opinions
June is the start of the fennel season, which lasts until early September. It’s strong aniseed flavour divides opinion – and just like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.
If you’re a fan of fennel, choose the smaller bulbs, as they are younger and more tender. Opt for ones that look white and feel heavy to enjoy at their best.
A fennel and lemon risotto makes a fast, easy midweek supper and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. It’s a vegetarian option, but also works well with the addition of pan-fried prawns for non-veggie fennel fans.
For an indulgent summer treat, turbot is at it’s best in the early summer months when fisherman believe this flat fish move across the sandy ground of the UK coast as the sun starts to shine.
Turbot forms part of the fish family that includes John Dory and red mullet, and whilst it is not the cheapest option for fish lovers, it is on the list of sustainable fish, so you can treat yourself guilt-free.
For a special meal, try this pan-fried turbot dish, served with wild mushrooms, mashed potatoes and rich cream sauce, devised by celebrity chef James Martin.
One for the foraging fans
If you live near the UK coastline, then June is the perfect time to forage for samphire, which can be found growing freely on tidal mud flats along the British coast. You need to look for thin green spikes that resemble miniature asparagus stalks, which characteristically grow in large numbers.
Samphire bring the salty taste of the seaside to any dish and is especially suited to fish. We love this squid, samphire & pea salad, with a flavour that is reminiscent of days at the coast.
Foraging for marsh samphire is also a great way to encourage the kids to get outside and channel their inner ‘Bear Grylls’, but remember to ensure you identify marsh samphire before consuming it.
The humble new potato
Jersey Royals are the most widely recognised type of new potatoes, available from April through to July. They are characterised by their thin, waxy skin, which doesn’t need peeling.
New potatoes are incredibly versatile and can be turned into a creamy potato salad as a tasty side dish for a summer barbeque, or made into the star of the show with this new potato, spring onion & Montgomery cheddar quiche as a vegetarian lunch option.
The power of elderflower
Elderflower was put back on the map in 2018, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle enjoyed a lemon elderflower wedding cake at their wedding reception.
The flower has been used throughout history as a medicine, with recipes for elderflower-based medications discovered from Ancient Egypt. Elderflower tea is reported to help ease the symptoms of hay fever as the flower contains tannins that act as an astringent, drying up runny noses and eyes.
Elderflower can also be used to make a delicious cordial. It should be served over crushed ice and mixed with sparkling water or soda for a cool and fragrant summer refresher. Or for an adults-only elderflower pressé top up the cordial with ice-cold prosecco or champagne.