May Bank Holiday Monday with clear blue skies , so blissful to have sunshine and warmth at last. We had an impromptu barbecue and enjoyed eating with friends at the farm. All the roads getting out of York were gridlocked with people seeking nature and the countryside. It felt like we had been waiting for a day like this for a long time.

 

 

 

We lit the fire with rosewood and bits of willows left from the harvest and placed a few onions and an aubergine into the embers for that smoky charred taste.  I particularly loved grilling some local asparagus brushed with olive oil  in a fish grid until they lightly charred. Then I mixed them with other vegetables, which were also grilled (on skewers) and tossed onto a big herby couscous salad,. The highlight at the table were the green tomatoes my friend Horacio brought, which were delicious just sliced and brushed with EV olive oil and sea salt. The watermelon was cold and seed free, sweet and quenching. A different kind of cooking happens when the weather is warm.

 

 

 

After lunch we walked through sprouting fields fenced by blossom hedges and when we got to the river, some were tempted to take a dip. Only Pirate, the dog, dared and little Lucas buried his feet in the silty stream. A few bluebells had opened in the copse and Pirate chased a rabbit hiding under the fallen trees. Everything felt beautiful and hopeful, life exploding in flower and leaf. The kids sat under the apple tree and made potions with grass and tiny flowers, whilst the grownups soaked up the much needed sun.

 

 

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Very Simple Aubergine Dip

 

Place an aubergine in the embers of your barbecue. Using tongs, keep turning it so that the skin chars. Once it is evenly charred take it out and place it in a bowl and cover for a few minutes, or until it cools. The steam makes it easier to peel the aubergine. Remove all the burnt skin and place it in a clean dish. Mash it with a fork, drizzle with some olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, sea salt and fresh mint and eat with warm bread.

 

 

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