Wholesome Happiness

Summer Days

Anyone that knows me will be able to tell you that I hate being hot. I blame my Scottish blood, but stick me out in the sun on a hot summers day and a happy chappy I am not. I can’t stand that feeling of a big hot air hug, and the way you open the back door and it feels like your walking into a giant furnace. Most people I know love the heat – a perfect excuse to go to the beach, eat ice cream and get a tan. But as someone that burns to crisp at the mere mention of a hot summers day, it’s not so fun. I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent three months in England at the end of last year/start of this year just to escape the heat. Although that makes my life sound adventurous and exotic – I promise it’s not.

One thing that makes summer almost bearable to me are the summer fruits. I wait eagerly around all year, until the very first sign of juicy, ripe peaches, and deliciously sweet mangoes hit the markets and from then on my fridge will heave with fruit. Is there a better thing that a cold triangle of watermelon when you’ve been out in the sun all day? Or cutting a juicy mango cheek into a hedgehog? My favorite thing to do with these fruits is to make a big fruit salad, stick it in the fridge and forget about it for a day, and when I come to find it again the juices have mixed together, the fruit has softened, and it tastes of the tropics.

Fashion wise, this season I have been inspired by all of these summer fruits, and have started to introduce brighter colors into my wardrobe. I am usually a maroon, brown, white and black girl, but lately I’ve been loving yellows, oranges and hot pinks.

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Hat – Dotti, Lipstick – #10 Kate by Rimmel, Top – Zara, Jeans – Dotti, Sandals – Target

This particular outfit is a summer favorite as it combines rouge lips, a bold orange top, and sunflower yellow sandals, coincidentally, the same colors as the beautiful fruit salad I am about to share with you.

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This fruit salad is barely a recipe, but I feel as though I needed to share it with you. It combines all that is great about summer fruits into one bowl, and is best served cold from the fridge.

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Makes enough for 2 fruit lovers

You will need:

1 large navel orange

1 white nectarine (you can use yellow, but I find the white variety to be sweeter)

1 white peach

1 ripe mango

4-5 fresh mint leaves

 

Start by cutting the orange into sections and adding to a bowl. Make sure to get as much juice in the bowl as possible.

To cut the peaches and nectarines I run a knife all around the stone, as you would with an avocado, and if the fruit is ripe enough it should fall away. If not, cut around the stone. Slice into segments and add to bowl.

To cut the mango, slice the cheeks and sides off. Create a grid in the cheek with your knife, then grab a spoon on scoop out the middle. Be sure to do this over your bowl to catch any juices.

Slice the mint leaves very finely and add to bowl.

Give it all a stir and place in the fridge (or eat straight away).

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I generally leave this in the fridge overnight, then will eat it within the next day or two. Strawberries also make a wonderful accompaniment, however it will need to be eaten a bit sooner.

This fruit salad is fantastic for breakfast paired with some natural yoghurt (or even better, coconut yoghurt), by itself, or with some vanilla bean ice cream as a simple dessert.

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Food as a means of Travel

What I love so much about food is that it can take you to places you’ve never been before, and moment you’ve only ever dreamed about. It is a way to connect you to the past and present, an old memory, or a faraway land.

 

One of my earliest food memories is from when I was about five, and staying at my Grandmothers house in England. I remember making a fabulous fish pie, that confused and excited me all at the same time. we made the creamy, mustardy filling, and rolled out pastry to lay over the top. I made fish out of the pastry scraps, and drew my name in the top. It was such a delightful, bonding experience for my grandmother and I, in which I started to uncover this love for food and connection. And the fish pie was delicious. 

On this same holiday I experienced the potato waffle – not a fancy food by any means (in fact, I think it may have come frozen from a packet), however it excited me all the same. Embellished with Heinz tomato ketchup and I was in heaven. I still crave potato waffles to this day, which I believe is probably down to me no longer having access to them. I think they’re better left in my memory thought.

One last food memory from this holiday was the glory that is Sticky Date Pudding. We had gone out for a ‘grown up’ meal and a fancy restaurant, and, as a five year old, I was very excited to be treated as an adult. I don’t remember much about the main meal, but I do remember the hot, sweet pudding, that was the perfect contrast to the white snow outside. It tasted like magic, and to this day I have never had a sticky date that could top it.Image

This morning I was able to tour Europe simply from the breakfast plate. Armed with the ingredients of a perfectly exotic breakfast, I got to work. I layered dark sourdough bread with a scrape of fig and cinnamon jam, and a thick layer of fresh ricotta and felt as though I had been transported into the streets of Italy. I then topped it with slices of the ripest figs, bursting with sweetness, and I was wandering a Turkish food market. As an added extra I sprinkled the top with walnuts straight from the shell, and wondrously golden orange blossom honey. A true taste of the Greek Islands.

A Taste of Europe on Toast

– A slice of sourdough bread (I used a wholemeal, but any will do, just make sure it’s fresh)

 – Fig and cinnamon jam (optional)

 – Ricotta cheese (roughly 50 grams, but please don’t bring a scale out)

 – 2 ripe figs

 – 3 shelled walnuts (or 2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts)

 – A drizzle of the best honey you can get your hands on

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350F)350F.

Start by slicing a nice thick slice of bread and adding a thin smear of jam.

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Then top with a generous layer of the ricotta cheese.

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Layer the sliced figs on top (you may not be able to fit all of the slices).

 

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Crush walnuts and sprinkle over the bread with a drizzle ofhoney, and place in the oven for around 10 minutes. This is a good time to eat the slices of figs that didn’t make the toast.

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Go travelling.

*Note – this is particularly good on a cold winters day served with a rich hot chocolate made simply from 70% dark chocolate squares mixed with warm milk.