Seasonal suppers

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Here are some suggestions for simple supper treats that make the most of seasonal ingredients in the shops at the moment.

Chicory and asparagus bake

Wrap chicory and little bundles of new season English asparagus in Wiltshire ham, alternate in a row in a baking dish, pour over a tin of chopped tomatoes with herbs, and top with grated gruyere or cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven until the chicory and asparagus are tender, and the cheese is bubbling. Serve with French bread and a glass of chilled white wine. Interestingly, Waitrose have both white and red chicory in this week, which makes a lovely refinement. Maybe save a few leaves to top a salad later in the week.

Wild salmon and Jersey royals with watercress salad

Sainsbury’s have fresh wild salmon in for £3.99 for two steaks this week. Have a lovely romantic dinner by sprinkling dill over the salmon, frying each steak on one side only for 7-10 minutes in a non-stick pan, drizzling with olive oil and lemon, and serving with Jersey royal potatoes tossed in butter and sea salt, and a watercress salad.

Strawberries and marscapone

Many shops are getting half price English strawberries in now, ranging in price from £1.79-£1.99 for 12 oz. Cut off the tops and cut them into quarters long ways, and then squeeze an orange over them to bring out the flavour. Leave at room temperature for a while, to macerate. Then serve with a teaspoon of marscapone and a shortbread biscuit if you have one.

Iced tea

Instead of mainlining on sugary juices in the hot weather, make jars of iced tea for the fridge. Put ice cubes into a large plastic jug and pour over 2 pints of black tea. You can add slices of lemon and sugar if you want, or alternatively bundles of mint leaves (preferably grown in your own garden). Wait until the tea is lukewarm and decant into a glass jug and chill in the fridge. A nice touch is to dip the edge of a serving glass in egg white, and then sugar, before carefully pouring a glass of the mint tea and adding a few ice cubes and a straw, along with a lemon or mint garnish. Excellent with little coconut sweets, preferably while sitting on a lounger reading an indulgent novel.