My granddad Do used to keep me and my cousins entertained all summer long on his boat with fishing, crab races and stories about pirates, deep-sea treasure and the biggest fish he ever caught! He liked his food, but never cooked – on our summer adventures with him, we were always under strict orders to bring sandwiches! One day, I caught him sitting below deck slurping peaches in syrup from the tin, one of his favourite after-lunch treats, so this recipe is dedicated to him!
Ribollita is an Italian soup that was traditionally seen as peasant food. The great thing about this soup is that it makes an ideal base for any additional ingredients that you might want to add. Think of it as an opportunity to give a last moment of glory to any miserable veggies left at the bottom of your fridge! I keep leftover Parmesan rinds in my freezer, which I add to sauces and soups like this to give a unique rich flavour. Add a couple while the soup is simmering and simply fish them out before serving.
During my search for the perfect whoopee pie, I was sent this recipe by a reader of my blog, whose mother in law, Mrs Linda Daunt, has lived all her life in Maine, New England and is a fantastic cook. Mrs Daunt's special touch is to add buttermilk instead of regular milk, to give the pies a richer taste. The original recipe uses a marshmallow-type filling, but I prefer to stick with regular buttercream frostings.
People panic a little bit about the measurements for cocktails, but it really is a case of making them to taste and remembering simple rules like one part alcohol to three part mixer for each person. Then just add the flavours! Get your hands on some fresh summer mint for these babies – it's one of the easiest herbs to grow, so just pick up a plant in the garden centre and pop it in a pot for fresh mint all summer long!
Swedish cinnamon buns, or 'Kanelbulle', were the first thing I learned to bake when I stayed in Sweden. Pearl sugar is sprinkled on top to give it that distinctive finishing touch, but if you can't get your hands on any simply sprinkle a little Demerara sugar to finish.