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A time of bounty

Summer is a time of bounty in the garden and our long evenings encourage gatherings of friends. My yellow pole beans have reached the top of their two metre stakes in a week!  My frilly lettuces are soft and luxuriant. Get out those recipes for tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, chili and eggplant.

Summer is the moment for fruity dessert. Do ask around – and maybe you will discover that a neighbour or a friend has a backyard tree or a passionfruit vine dripping with more fruit than can be used.

Here are a few of my quick ideas for summer platters. Cherries with fromage frais and a crisp biscuit; simple fruit tarts with the fruit settled onto a layer of lightly sweetened smooth ricotta; upside-down cakes with plums, or peaches, or pineapple; halved stone fruit, stones removed, drizzled with orange juice and a bit of brown sugar and baked; chilled watermelon with torn mint and a few drops of rosewater; fruit salads with scooped passionfruit added to the mix.

I hope your gardens are dripping with beans and basil and beetroot, and that your tomatoes are growing strongly. There is stunning buffalo mozzarella for sale in markets at the moment. Ripe tomatoes, mozzarella chunks, torn basil leaves, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil has to be one of the all-time great summer lunches.