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Seasonal July Produce & Summer Cocktails

by Laura Donnelly on July 09, 2022

A few weeks ago I found some sachets of herb seeds in the shed and a couple of large planters so Eva and I had a great time planting them! I'm no expert but we kept our fingers crossed and hoped for the best! Voila! We have basil, coriander, oregano and you can also see rosemary, mint and purple sage from last year.

Home-grown coriander and oregano Home-grown basil Home-grown rosemary and mint


It is extremely rewarding using home-grown herbs in your meals and, in my opinion, they taste so much better. We would love a vegetable patch in the garden but this will have to wait until the cabin is built (big announcement coming soon about this!). A delicious sauce we made this week is a sage butter using home-grown purple sage. We poured this over some porcini and truffle triangoli pasta. Simply heat up some butter, add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a few sage leaves. You can chop the sage leaves or keep them whole. Fry for a couple of minutes. It is a simple but delicious addition to any fish, meat, vegetable or pasta dish. 

 Sage butter sauce

Did you realise that it is cheaper to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season rather than when they are bought out of season? You are in luck this month as July is a wonderful month for seasonal produce. It can be up to a third cheaper and don't forget that eating locally produced food reduces your carbon footprint, as it has not been imported. 

Seasonal fruit this month includes: blackberries, blueberries, Bramley apples, cherries, apricots, plums, kiwi fruit, mango, pineapple, nectarines, peaches, raspberries and strawberries to name a few. 

Some of our favourite seasonal vegetables this month include: beetroot (don't forget our beetroot risotto from our 'Family Meals Part 1' blog), carrots, courgettes, lettuce and other salad leaves, new potatoes, peas and mangetout, radish, tomatoes, spinach, spring onions and shallots.

We have a heatwave coming up this week so it's a great time to relax and unwind in the garden, especially if you're missing out on a holiday due to the travel chaos and troubles we are faced with at the moment. I couldn't think of a better time to share some summer cocktail recipes (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for you to enjoy:

Blackberry Mint Julep (Courtesy of Bay Kitchen Bar, New York)
2oz Bulleit bourbon
.5oz Chambord
.75oz Fresh lime juice
.5oz Demerara syrup
5 Muddled blackberries
6 Mint leaves

Muddle the blackberries first of all in a shaker (muddle = lightly mash the blackberries with a pestle as this will release the essence from them). Add the rest of the ingredients, mix and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a blackberry.

Non-alcoholic Blackberry Virgin Mojito (Courtesy of 'delish')
For the mint syrup:
15g Fresh mint leaves
200g Caster sugar
240ml Water
For the mojito:
150g blackberries
1 tsp. Caster sugar
120ml Lime juice
700ml Sparkling water
Fresh mint, for garnish

Crush the mint leaves in a small pan, add the sugar and water and bring to the boil over a medium heat whilst stirring. Boil for 3 minutes, let it cool then strain out the mint leaves, pressing with a wooden spoon, to release the liquid.

Add the blackberries and sugar to a small bowl and crush until broken down. Divide the blackberries between 4 glasses, add 2 tablespoons of the mint syrup and 2 tablespoons of lime juice to each glass. 

Fill the glasses with ice, pour in the sparkling water then garnish with mint.

Blackberry mint julep

Apple & Elderflower Gin Cocktail (Courtesy of BBC Good Food)
250ml Gin
200ml Elderflower Cordial (recipe below)
1l Cloudy apple juice (recipe below)
Apple slices and ice, to serve

In a jam jar, mix gin with the elderflower cordial. Divide the mixture between glasses, top up with the apple juice, apple slices and ice.

Non-alcoholic Bramley Apple Smash 
Elderflower cordial
Lemon juice
3 Bramley apples
50g Caster sugar
50g Butter
Small bunch mint leaves 

Peel, core and slice 3 Bramley apples (leave a few slices to use as garnish). Tip the apples, caster sugar and butter into a pan, cover with a lid, place on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the apples are broken down into a purée. Let this cool.

Add all of the ingredients to a tumbler, filled with crushed ice then stir well to combine. Garnish with a few mint leaves and a slice of Bramley apple. 

Apple cocktail

Elderflower Cordial 
20 Elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
85g Citric acid (from the chemist)
2 Unwaxed lemons
2.5kg White sugar (granulated or caster)

Put the sugar and 1.5 litres water into a large saucepan. Gently heat, without boiling, until sugar has dissolved. Stir every so often. Zest the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons.

Bring the pan of syrup to the boil then turn off the heat. Fill a bowl with cold water and give the elderflowers a swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift the flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup along with the lemons, the zest and the citric acid. Stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.

Line a colander with a tea towel and sit over a large bowl. Ladle in the syrup, letting it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel. Transfer to a bottle and the cordial is ready to drink straight away.

Elderflower cordial

Cloudy Apple Juice

18 Apples (choose the variety depending on how sweet/tart you wish your juice to be. If they are waxed, remove this by dipping the apples in hot water with distilled vinegar for a few seconds then rinse with cold tap water)

Clean and chop the apples, discarding the core and the seeds. Add the apples to a blender with 1/2 cup of water then blend to a smooth consistency.

Apple juice

We hope you enjoy the above recipes and make the most of the beautiful fruit and vegetables we have in season this month. As always, share your photos, hints and tips with us across social media @littleboxofhygge. 




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