“Summer Cooking” by Elizabeth David is amongst my favourite books, but on a day like today the title is not. I associate the word cooking with heat, so when the temperature outside is topping 32ºC the words “summer” and “cooking” are best enjoyed when not in conjunction. The air was already beginning to ripple with heat as I came down for coffee at an early hour. Perfume from a bowl of ripe nectarines rose up to meet me inducing me to take a handful of ripe cherries, from a neighbouring bowl, to eat as I opened the house. Whilst the coffee gurgled on the stove I ate some more cherries and thought about not cooking dinner. I’d bought a cornichon cucumber from the stall, a few days ago, which I had finely sliced, salted and pickled with some sugar and white wine vinegar. This sweet and sour confection would be perfect with some slices of pale pink smoked trout, together with a salad of peppery rocket leaves from the garden. A very good potato salad would only entail boiling some waxy potatoes, which use of heat would be the only gesture made towards cooking. The cooked potatoes will be each cut into four pieces and bathed in a little olive oil and white wine vinegar to absorb whilst they are still warm. The addition of a spoonful of capers, some finely sliced shallot, a sprinkling of sea salt and ground black pepper completes this dish. Not only is this good to eat immediately but it is even better by the next day. Strawberries, cherries and nectarines will make a near perfect dessert. I have just remembered that there are some crisp home made meringues that would love some fruity company this evening, and they shall not be denied.
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