Will I jinx it if I say it finally feels like summer? Well, it does! With warmer weather and longer evenings (which makes it SO much easier to take food pictures - have you noticed more food posts than usual?) comes al fresco dining. If I had a garden I would be out there every night of the week, but as it happens I just have a tiny balcony with space for two at a squeeze (one when the deck chair comes out!)
To celebrate the start of summer, I've turned two of my favourite recipes on their heads, giving a new lease of life to sangria and bruschetta using the gorgeous stone fruit that is currently in season. Peaches, nectarines and apricots are my jam, and these recipes perfectly showcase two of the best - peaches and nectarines.
For the white sangria
3 parts white wine
1 part lemonade/soda water
2 quartered peaches
Handful of mint
Half an orange, sliced
Anything goes with this recipe and you can adjust the quantities to suit your taste, but three parts wine to one part mixer is just right for me. Previously I wasn't much of a wine drinker, but now I've discovered that white wines described as having stone fruit or tropical flavours are just right for me - crisp without being too dry. I had the Wollemi chardonnay on the tables at my 21st birthday; I picked it up for super cheap, but even at full price it's still inexpensive, which is ideal for a recipe like this.
In a jug, mix the wine with the fruit and mint, cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. I let mine sit overnight - it ended up being a little cloudy due to the fruit breaking down, but definitely added an extra layer of flavour. Before serving, fill with ice and top up with soda water or lemonade depending on how sweet you would like it.
For the bruschetta
Loaf of crusty white bread
Handful of basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Heat up a griddle pan or turn on the grill, slice the bread, brush with olive oil and grill or griddle until crisp.
Meanwhile, chop the fruit and tear the mozzarella. Assemble on the toasted bread and serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
This makes a great recipe for a party - you could use smaller rounds of baguette to create two-bite canapés or if you're pushed for time, put together a board for everyone to build their own. My boyfriend whipped up the one below while I was taking pictures on the balcony.
Sainsbury's very kindly provided a voucher to buy all of the ingredients used in these recipes, but all ideas, recipes and thoughts are very much my own.