Extract from Nigella Summer.
Summer food, even when eaten in deepest winter, contains within it the idea of simple cooking. But the best recipes are never blueprints, only ideas hungrily mooted. The ones in this book have come to me the way they always do, plundered from friends, from family, grown out of an idea of what might go with what. As the Australian food writer Maggie Beer has written, “cooking is all about osmosis – a mental note made about a flavour combination or a technique, a memory of a dish”.
Cooking is not just about applying heat, procedure, method, but about transformation of a more intimate kind; none of us cooks without bringing our own character to bear on the food in front of us. Just as the recipes that follow have been toyed with, changed, fiddled with to become my food, so I expect them to be remodelled in your own kitchen.
I have only one rule when I decide what to put in, what to leave out. However successful a kitchen experiment might seem to be, if I don't feel the urge to cook something again, and soon, I ditch it. The one-off spectacular is not my style, nor ever could be. And, if at any time I'm still wondering if this or that particular recipe is worth keeping, I set myself a scene: a friend, a reader, a fellow-mother at the school gates, is coming up to me, telling me that tonight she's going to cook my... If I'm not filled with impatient, evangelical enthusiasm at the imagined exchange, if that recipe doesn't inspire that same, unwavering, bossy confidence, then out it goes. I want to write only about the food I love, and I want you to love it, too.
Want more from Nigella? Check out her ultimate Summer Entertaining Menu here, and click here to discover more summertime recipes in Nigella Summer.