Column: The joys of summer eating in the sunshine

Enjoying an al fresco drink at the Pointing Dog, in Ecclesall Road.
Enjoying an al fresco drink at the Pointing Dog, in Ecclesall Road.
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I’m really not a fan of summer.

It’s hot, it’s sticky and I burn so easily that I automatically head for the shade whenever I’m out.

Despite all of this, I get giddy for this time of year.

I check my weather app at least sixteen times a day and won’t be happy unless there are a few big fat suns scheduled for the week ahead.

But, as with most things in my life, my love for summer is linked to food and drink and those big fat suns mean two things to me - a fresher take on cooking and beer (or gin).

Summer completely flips my way of eating upside down. Long gone are the shin of beef stews, the hotpots and the comforting roasts slathered in gravy.

Now it’s all about seasonal salads of courgettes, fennel and asparagus with quick cook lamb chops, ribeye steaks and chicken drumsticks.

My only regret is that I don’t make more use of our barbecue.

It’s currently sat in the cellar waiting for the next party or family gathering.

Sure, it’d be great to use it as an extension to my conventional oven and I’d love to start experimenting with different chips and smoking meat, but it just all seems like too much effort when I just want to prepare a quick tea for the two of us.

But it isn’t just what I eat that changes in summer, it’s how I eat and I will make the most of every opportunity I can to sit outside come meal time - as long as I can have the shady spot! So even if I’m still in my pjs, if the sun is out and I’ve got time for a leisurely breakfast, I’ll be enjoying it outside.

You have to believe me - there is nothing more luxurious than taking time out to enjoy breakfast properly.

And it isn’t just my garden that I like to spend time in over the summer.

Here in Sheffield we are blessed with lots of greenery - but I tend to like mine attached to a pub!

If my husband and I happen to have a sunny day off together, my favourite thing is to take the dog for a stroll down to Kelham Island. There are lots of traditional pubs with fantastic beer gardens, and even better beer.

So, if you ever spot me out and about, looking whiter than ever and lurking around in the shade, don’t you worry - I’m loving every second of the summer.