In fact by the time I have got around to finalising this post it is more like "There went the sun". However, we Brits are well used to the phenomenon of the three day summer and making the most of what little sun Mother Nature throws at us.
So, on the second of three consecutive sunny days last weekend, the barbecue was dusted off and I set about collecting some of my favourite summer(ish) foods. Amongst my favourite barbecue items is the (shell and head on) king prawn. I usually just marinade the raw prawns for a short while in some oil and lemon juice but on this occasion, as I had a bunch of coriander on the verge of wilting in the fridge, I chopped this up too and added it to the marinade. Prawns cooked like this are a full on sensory experience - you get the crackling spit of the barbecue and the sizzle of the prawns, you get the sight of the prawns turning from dull shiny grey to a papery pink, you get the amazing smell as the prawns singe here and there, you get the tactile delight (or chore in the view of my son) of peeling the shells and pulling the heads off the hot, cooked prawns and the delight of licking your sticky, lemony, oily fingers (enhanced on this occasion by the coriander) - and all this before you even get to the main event of tasting the prawns themselves! Whilst they are not cheap, you get a lot of bang for your buck in my view.
Usually I eat these prawns just with some nice, crusty bread (torn not cut), a green salad and some garlicky mayonnaise. However on this occasion I had also bought some Jersey Royal new potatoes. I don't know what it is about these potatoes but they always remind me of what new potatoes used to taste like when I was a child. When they are in season I find myself eating them several times a week, whereas at other times of the year I can resist the lure of a new potato with little difficulty and seldom, if ever, find myself blown away by them when I do eat them - give me a chip, a roast potato, potato dauphinoise (or practically any other form of potato) any time. Not so, however, with the Jersey Royal. I can, and often do, eat vast quantities of these little beauties, so it is probably as well that the season for them is rather short. By far the best way to enjoy them, in my book, is simply boiled for about 15 minutes and then drizzled with (ok, I admit it, "drowned in" is often a better description) melted butter and some chopped mint. With the butter, I tend to avoid the usual spreadable Lurpak I keep in the fridge as there seems to be too much water in it - what you want is the potatoes bathing their bottoms in a golden oily layer at the bottom of the saucepan rather than paddling in a watery oil slick!