One of my favourite months for ingredients is July - it’s all about soft fruits like peaches, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and nectarines, delicious salad ingredients like rocket, fennel, chicory, radishes, cucumbers, artichokes, tomatoes and spring onions, and some of the best ingredients from the sea such as crab, mackerel, sea bass and sardines.
I am pretty passionate about eating seasonally and I realize that many of us in the Middle East take numerous fruit and veggies for granted, especially since almost everything is imported. So I thought that I would take some time each month to write a blog post sharing the ingredients currently in season, plus a delicious recipe idea or two to inspire you to eat more seasonally :)
Download the full list of July's seasonal druit, veg and meat here.
But in the meantime, here are 3 of my most compelling reasons why we should all be eating seasonally:
Freshly picked produce is undoubtedly at its peak in flavour when it's in season. And besides, you can’t beat a freshly ripened strawberry straight from the bush, or a tomato straight from the vine, ripened in the sun :)
More exposure to the sun means the higher the food is in antioxidants. Seasonal fruits and veggies are picked in their prime and are therefore at their most nutritious.
Its simply more economical to eat what’s in season – when there is an abundance of produce, the price decreases and more hard to find items (usually because they are out of season) will be more expensive.
Last night I made a delicious Mediterranean vegetable pasta bake using the courgettes, aubergines, onion, peppers and garlic from the garden. All the fragrant fresh herbs meant this dish was packed with flavor, nutritious and delicious for all the family to enjoy. Plus the local goat's cheese added some gorgeous depth to the dish.
- 1 diced aubergine
- 2 diced courgettes
- 1 red onion quartered
- 1 bulb of garlic halved
- 8 large tomatoes halved
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 yellow pepper sliced
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. drained rinsed and copped capers
- 4 anchovies chopped
- Sprig of thyme, rosemary, oregano and basil
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tub of local soft goat's cheese
- Grated parmesan
- 300g Rigatoni
- Preheat the oven to 200'C
- Put all the diced vegetables, chopped onion and halved garlic on 2 trays and coat in olive oil and the torn herbs, except the basil and season.
- Roast in the oven for around 25 minutes (oasting the vegetables first really helps bring out their flavor).
- Meanwhile empty the tinned tomatoes into a pan and bring to a simmer, add the chopped capers and anchovies and simmer until reduced.
- Boil the water for the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Add the roasted veg to the tomato sauce and stir.
- Tip the drained pasta into a large oven-proof dish and the vegetable sauce and combine.
- Dot the goats cheese and grate the parmesan all over, cover lightly with foil and bake for around 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Serve immediately and enjoy :)