Episode 4 What to Eat Now


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Episode 4

Valentine Warner's guide to seasonal cooking. Valentine gives his top tips on how to make memorable meals for summer lunches and creates the ultimate sweet summer treats.


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Summer, the most exciting time for the seasonal cook, has arrived.

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The shops are crammed full of Mother Nature's summer bounty

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and the choice of ingredients leaves me dizzy with ideas.

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This is looking very good!

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I'm Valentine Warner, chef by trade, greedy by nature.

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That is a summer belter.

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From barbecues to picnics, lunches and teas,

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I'm taking you on a mouth-watering journey around Britain...

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'..showing you what to eat now.' Bloody hell, that was good!

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On tonight's show, it's all about lunches. As a nation,

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we're a bit monotonous when it comes to our midday meal, but we needn't be.

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Lunches can be light, leisurely and lovely.

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That's absolutely delicious.

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I'll be hunting for herbs in the hedgerows...

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Open wide. There you are, darling. Yum yum!

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..hitting the streets on a "peasful" protest...

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-Do you like peas?

-No, not at all? No.

-Not one?

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-No.

-One tiny little pea?

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..and making meringues memorable.

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Summer is the time for taking things easy,

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and an ideal day for me always involves a long, lazy lunch.

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This is by far our most bountiful season

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and I'm going to show you summer recipes

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that are both satisfying and speedy.

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Making your midday meal memorable needn't mean spending hours slaving over the stove.

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New potatoes aren't around for long and are at their best eaten now,

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so my delicious new potato salad with quails' eggs

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is a lunchtime luxury.

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Potato salad is one of my favourite things in the world.

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These are the early potatoes that arrive between April and August.

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Waxy, firm, so they are very, very sweet,

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and they hold their own beautifully when sliced up and put into salads.

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The reason you use cold water is because they will cook more

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evenly so they will be cooked perfectly all the way through.

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'Take some quails' eggs...'

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Adorable, sweet little pebbles.

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'..and boil for a couple of minutes.

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'Finely dice half a red onion...'

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This really must be chopped super fine,

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teeny weeny, miniscule, microscopic.

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'..put into your salad bowl, then add a handful of capers and several anchovies.'

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Really just put these in, they are fantastic.

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One for...me!

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I could eat these all day like a seagull,

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gulping them down.

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'Chop up a generous amount of tarragon, curly parsley and chives.

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'Slice up the new potatoes and add to the bowl

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'along with a twist of black pepper and four big dollops of mayonnaise.'

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I know this is going to be... really, really good.

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'Add the quails' eggs...'

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Mix it properly so that when you take a bite, you have got everything on it -

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all the herbs, the anchovy, a caper sticking on the bottom,

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a piece of onion sticking on the side.

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You are getting everything with each mouthful.

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'Finally, a scattering of parsley and a touch of olive oil.'

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You can really taste the new potatoes - sweet, firm...

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delicious in texture, and all around

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are interesting little things with creamy, glossy mayonnaise.

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It's a wonderful summer salad.

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I'm mad about summer herbs and, in my opinion, they're totally under-used in this country.

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We just don't cook with them enough,

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but I know that they can liven up any lunch.

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Herbs are in season right now, and it's not just the common cultivated ones that are available.

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I've come to the holistic hotspot that is Glastonbury, to meet wild herb hunter/gatherer, Pat Barki.

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-Pat.

-Hello, Val!

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-The White Witch of Glastonbury.

-Yes, you made it.

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A great morning for looking for wild herbs and medicines.

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Absolutely, it's all full and lush!

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'Pat learnt everything she knows about herbs from her grandmother

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'and was foraging in the fields and hedgerows from an early age.'

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As a little girl, you enjoyed it or thought, "Oh God, I have got to go out herbing with Granny again?"

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That's a good question. When I was a teenager,

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and I used to smell like mucky old bits of bark and root,

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-and all the other lasses...

-Were the boys pointing at you saying, "There is the weird girl with sticks

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"in her hair, and she has always got grass stains on her knees?

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-"I can't take her to the school dance."

-You know, too true.

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Pat's convinced that wild herbs are just as tasty as the cultivated

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'ones we can buy at the shops, so she's the perfect person to show me what I can and can't eat.'

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If we stopped right here, what could you immediately pick up?

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Right here, plantain.

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Slightly bitter.

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Tastes a tiny bit of mushrooms.

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'I'm as greedy as the next man, but I've got to say, even I'm a bit sceptical about this.

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'It just looks like a field of grass to me.'

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Here's a little bit of red clover.

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-Mooo!

-There you are, beautiful milk!

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SHE LAUGHS

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Wild sorrel.

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It's not quite as sharp as cultivated sorrel.

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-No.

-But perfectly tasty.

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It is, indeed. Surprise, surprise! SHE LAUGHS

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Sticky willy. We used to stick it in everybody's hair when we were at school, or on people's back.

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I had no idea that that was edible.

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Go on, open wide. There you are, darling. Yum yum.

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Do you know something? That is really not bad at all.

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-No!

-You could simply fry it up and eat it like a vegetable with butter and black pepper on it.

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-You could, darling.

-'It's brilliant that all these things are really edible.'

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-Cow parsley.

-Cow parsley.

-But its other name is wild chervil.

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-This grows absolutely everywhere.

-Everywhere across England.

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Really fantastic. They would kind of lift dishes.

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That would go well with fish.

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Now here we have vetch. Open wide, darling.

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'I could get used to this.'

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-That has got a beany quality to it.

-Yes.

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Isn't that fabulous?

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I can still see the gate from here and I've had six courses already!

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These hedgerow herbs are surprisingly delicious,

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but I'm keen to find out what they taste like when cooked.

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So, for lunch we're conjuring up two types of ricotta and herb ravioli -

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one made with wild herbs and the other made with cultivated.

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I did expect your cottage to be made of gingerbread.

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Close. Almost except that wise women are wonderful people and we make all wonderful, good things.

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Where did wise woman come from?

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We understand the qualities of all the wild and wonderful growing things and how to use them.

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I'm making a simple pasta dough.

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It's pasta flour, semolina,

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'two whole eggs and four yolks whizzed up in a blender.'

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I want it not to be sticky, but just kind of coming together.

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'Once thoroughly mixed, roll into a ball.'

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Do you pour spells into the pot when you're cooking?

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I pour a little love into my food so, if that's a spell, yes.

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'Cover in clingfilm and leave to chill for an hour.

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'Whilst Pat sorts through our foraged herbs, I make the filling for ravioli number one.

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'The fresh ricotta cheese is simple and subtle, and will allow the flavours of the herbs to shine.

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'I'm using basil, mint and marjoram.'

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The smell of these three together is really powerful.

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Add the chopped herbs to the ricotta, along with lemon zest,

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black pepper, a handful of freshly grated parmesan and a glug of olive oil.

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Herbs in summer, I just can't stop using them.

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Well guessed.

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That's going to be our ravioli.

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Perfect.

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'Now for the wise woman ravioli.' Do they need washing, these herbs?

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They've been washed by the rain this morning.

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They have been washed by the rain. Weed on by rabbits?

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-I wouldn't have said so, no.

-OK, fine. No washing.

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And for this filling, I'm using lemony wild sorrel, cow parsley and flavourful vetch.

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That is the two ravioli fillings done.

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Witchy...

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normal.

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-No, no, no, no, no, the old wise folk.

-OK.

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'Sorry, got the lingo wrong.

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'Feed the chilled dough through a pasta maker and form the ravioli.'

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Then very simply,

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pull the top over the bottom. Hedgerow witchy ravioli.

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-Wise woman ravioli.

-'Erm, best concentrate on what I'm doing.'

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That looks like Michelin-star ravioli to me.

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-I don't know about Michelin star.

-Oh, it's...

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That one wasn't!

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'Talk about karma!'

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'The cultivated herb ravioli cooks in gently bubbling water

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'for three minutes, and is dressed with garlic-infused oil and parmesan.'

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-Mmm.

-Mmm.

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-Absolutely gorgeous.

-I have to say, I am very happy with that pasta.

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I am, too. It's delicious.

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I've never cooked hedgerow ravioli before.

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And hopefully, this is going to convince me.

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This is an exciting time.

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The wild herb ravioli is dressed with garlicky hedge-infused oil,

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parmesan and a scattering of pretty vetch flowers.

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It's a beautiful looking presentation, I think that's gorgeous.

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That is spectacular.

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I didn't expect them to deliver such an...

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..original taste. I am really pleased with that.

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That is one of the things I will always remember.

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It really delivers.

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-Mamma nature's ravioli.

-Absolutely.

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-To Mamma nature.

-Mamma nature!

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So, tasty hedgerow herbs make for a great free lunch, and you don't have to be spellbound to find them.

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If foraging's not for you, parsley and mint are fantastic right now, and there's nothing better

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on a hot day than a herby salad, and my Lebanese-inspired tabouleh is a real summer favourite.

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Soak bulgar wheat in just boiled water for 20 minutes.

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Deseed and finely dice a couple of vine tomatoes along with a small red onion.

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Now for the heavenly herbs.

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Shred a large bunch of flat leaf parsley...

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..and a small handful of fresh mint.

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Mix the whole lot together.

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Add the bulgar wheat, along with the juice of a lemon, salt

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and plenty of olive oil.

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All about summer herbs. Tabbouleh.

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Simple and totally delicious.

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There's nothing better on a hot day than a refreshing drink,

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and making your own can add a new dimension to your lunch.

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Here are my top tips for summer's tastiest tipples.

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Scrumpy doesn't have to leave you sozzled.

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Mix with elderflower cordial...

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..and soda water.

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That is very, very delicious indeed.

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Red wine can be great on a hot day, too.

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The lighter ones are fantastic chilled.

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How about a Mexican twist on lager and lime?

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Salt the rim of a glass, squeeze in the juice of two limes.

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This packs a real lime punch.

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Very, very, very zingy.

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That's what you need on a swelteringly hot day.

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And finally, top up with light lager.

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Limey, fizzy, salty.

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I tend not to drink at lunch times because I get a bit tiddly

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and can't really achieve anything in the afternoon.

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So how about a non-alcoholic elderflower cordial?

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A good bit of mint. Squeeze it a bit to get all the mintiness going.

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And it's not just cold drinks that quench the thirst at lunchtime.

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Mint tea. It's a wonderful thing to drink.

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A glass with a little handle to stop you burning your sensitive fingertips.

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Add fresh mint, sugar to taste and top up with gunpowder tea.

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Mmm. Minty and sweet.

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Nothing says summer to me more than the sound of a pea being

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popped from its pod, and they're a great lunchtime munch.

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Fresh peas are one of summer's great seasonal treats,

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but you have to pounce on them, as they're not around for long.

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And deep in the heart of the Forest of Dean, there's a Gardening Club who believe

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there is nothing quite like a fresh pea straight from the garden.

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-Hello, pleased to meet you.

-Pleased to meet you. Hi, Jean.

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-Pleased to meet you.

-You are pea fanatics.

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Rob and Jean are members of Bream Gardening Club, who believe

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in swapping seeds in order to keep vegetable varieties alive.

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It's kind of a pea jungle here. I've never seen one of those.

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We don't really know what it is.

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The seed originated with my great great grandfather and it has been passed down through the family.

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Was it written into his will that this must keep going?

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We enjoy it. It is a bit different so we want to keep it going.

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The group are growing about 20 different varieties of peas between them.

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You've got to open them the right way. Got to pop them right, haven't you?

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Lovely. Takes me back to my childhood. Really nice, isn't it?

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-When you went along grandad's pea row.

-That's right.

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Can we all try the kelvedon wonder?

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-More pea flavour.

-How do you define pea flavour, then?

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I would say that was a stronger pea in every respect. A blue pea.

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-Very interesting.

-Perhaps more of a meal.

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A little bit like broad beans.

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It's a very different flavour.

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-Is the club a competitive community?

-We do have a summer show.

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-They're always trying to outdo one another, aren't they?

-Not War and "Peas".

-No!

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Peas are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fibre.

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They lose their sweetness quickly when picked, meaning they really are best eaten fresh.

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Us Brits consume 100,000 tons of frozen peas a year and I think we've forgotten that, in season,

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they're available fresh, and taste far better

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so I'm hitting town with club member Gerald to spread the word.

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The wife says I terrify people.

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You are the most unterrifying man I have ever met.

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-I've never had them raw, mind.

-Haven't you? There is a first time for everything, my love.

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Let's see what we can do.

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Do you like peas? No, not at all? No.

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-Not one?

-No.

-One tiny little pea?

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Would you try a fresh pea?

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-Have a pea.

-No, no.

-They're better cooked, innit?

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Fresh summer peas.

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I'll keep eating!

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-The frozen ones, they say they're better than fresh ones.

-Lies.

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SHE LAUGHS

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-Eat it, yes?

-Yes.

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Not bad.

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-Now there was a boy who hasn't ever seen a pea in a pod.

-There you go.

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-Nice.

-Anything else you would like to take while you're on your way?

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They are sweet and lovely.

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-Do you buy frozen peas?

-Yes.

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-Do you ever buy fresh peas?

-No, not ever.

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-Yes. Yummy.

-That's yummy and tasty.

-Yes.

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-Are you a convert?

-Yes, no, they're lovely.

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Now is the time to be eating these. It's summertime, there are a lot around.

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I don't know anybody who don't like peas.

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-My wife ain't that keen on them...

-Oh, really? There is dissension?

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It is my fault because I love peas and I will have peas every meal.

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Do you think you should just stop talking about peas all the time?

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All right.

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Not now, but when you go home.

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No-one can deny that peas are marvellous eaten straight from the pod,

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but I want to show the Bream Gardening Club that peas don't have to be eaten just as a side dish.

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For lunch, I'm going to make them a delicious stew

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using my very favourite summer ingredient - octopus.

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How do you feel about octopus and peas?

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-I'll let you know later.

-There will be green peas and pink octopus, and it's quite a nice thing to look at.

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Well, the tasting will discover that.

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-I hope to please you.

-And I won't be too shy to say if I don't like it.

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You're a very vocal man. I'm sure I will know if you don't.

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You certainly will, I shan't beat about the bush!

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Whilst I slice up 12 large spring onions and a bulb

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of homegrown garlic, Gerald pods 300 grams of the club's various peas.

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You don't want to be out the back all the time or anything like that.

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Come on, give us a chance!

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Fry the onions and garlic in a glug of olive oil.

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Now onto Gerald's favourite.

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I'm going to cut up the octopus, this terrifying beast.

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I hope I can win you over with this.

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-I don't want to be rude and that.

-Be as rude as you like.

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-Have you rinsed it, or put it in salt water?

-It is thoroughly rinsed.

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When the onions and garlic are browned, remove from the heat.

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I want to get this nearly smoking hot.

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Yes. Like doing Yorkshire pudding.

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The sliced octopus goes into the pan.

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-What would your wife say?

-She wouldn't look at it.

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It's changing colour. It's going pink.

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Add bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns, along with the cooked onions and garlic.

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Octopus is full of water so doesn't need any extra liquid.

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Pop a lid on it. An hour-and-a-half, that will be beautifully tender.

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I seem to have gone off my food all of a sudden!

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To finish the dish,

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remove the octopus and reduce the juice until it's the consistency of single cream.

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Squeeze in half a lemon,

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return the octopus and add the peas, and cook for five minutes.

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If Gerald called this rubbery, I wouldn't believe him.

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Finally, give it a splash of olive oil and a scattering of fennel tops.

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Sardinian octopus with peas.

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Wowee.

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-Marvellous.

-Now sit down, Gerald.

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Just in case. I don't want you keeling over!

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Ooh! Those peas look beautiful.

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Come and have a taste.

0:20:370:20:39

In fairness to you, I'm going to say this -

0:20:550:20:58

it is very, very nice and tasty.

0:20:580:21:01

-Gerald, I have to say that you have made my year.

-Have I?

-Yeah.

0:21:010:21:06

It is nice, and to show you I really mean it, I'm going to have another piece.

0:21:060:21:10

My husband will never believe it. I've had garlic and...

0:21:100:21:14

whatever that is! Octopus!

0:21:140:21:17

To all of you, thanks for a really fun day. It's been brilliant.

0:21:170:21:20

-The Bream Gardening Club, cheers.

-ALL: Cheers!

0:21:200:21:24

One of my favourite light lunches, is a pea, fresh goat's cheese and mint salad.

0:21:300:21:35

Boil fresh young peas rapidly for a couple of minutes and blanch in iced water.

0:21:390:21:44

This ensures that they don't overcook and preserves their vibrant colour.

0:21:440:21:49

Deseed and chop a red chilli along with a clove of garlic and add to the peas.

0:21:500:21:55

Give it a pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

0:21:590:22:03

Crumble in fresh goat's cheese, tear in the mint, and finish with a dash of good olive oil.

0:22:060:22:12

That's a wonderful combination. Incredibly simple.

0:22:160:22:20

A great little lunch in itself.

0:22:200:22:23

I'm really pleased with that.

0:22:230:22:25

If peas don't pack a punch for you, the shops and markets

0:22:280:22:32

are overflowing with seasonal tasty treats to load into your lunchbox.

0:22:320:22:37

Keep your cool with classic cucumbers.

0:22:390:22:41

You can't beat a good old cucumber sandwich, but if you want to be

0:22:410:22:45

a little bit fancier, how about making a chilled cucumber soup?

0:22:450:22:49

For me, juicy nectarines smack of summer.

0:22:500:22:53

Great eaten simply, just as they are.

0:22:530:22:56

Lobsters are plentiful at this time of year and they can make the lightest of lunches.

0:22:570:23:03

My favourite is lobster with melon and curried mayonnaise -

0:23:030:23:08

a retro, fishy take on Coronation chicken.

0:23:080:23:11

Dispatch the lobster humanely by freezing for two hours

0:23:110:23:14

to make sure it is unconscious, and then place into boiling water.

0:23:140:23:19

Once it's bubbling again, turn off the heat

0:23:190:23:21

and leave to cook for 12 minutes.

0:23:210:23:24

While the lobster cools, make the curried mayonnaise.

0:23:270:23:30

Place two egg yolks in a blender along with Dijon mustard,

0:23:330:23:36

mild curry powder, tarragon vinegar and blend.

0:23:360:23:40

Add sunflower oil and a touch of olive oil for extra flavour.

0:23:420:23:46

The mayonnaise should hold its own, but not be rigid.

0:23:470:23:51

Add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime.

0:23:520:23:56

Remove the meat from the lobster and slice into chunks.

0:23:570:24:00

Add the curried mayo and mix.

0:24:030:24:05

Serve on a base of ripe cantaloupe melon, and finish with chives and a dash of olive oil.

0:24:070:24:13

Lobster and melon, delicious!

0:24:130:24:16

Lavender is a flower that really makes me think of summer

0:24:230:24:27

with its thick heady aroma and that fantastic vibrant colour.

0:24:270:24:30

It doesn't just look and smell good, it is brilliant for cooking with, too.

0:24:300:24:34

I'm going to use these flowers to make

0:24:340:24:37

floaty little tiny lavender scented meringues with cream in the middle.

0:24:370:24:42

Which are the perfect sweet treat to serve with coffee after a lazy, long lunch.

0:24:450:24:51

Take four heads of lavender and pound to release

0:24:510:24:55

'its scent and flavour.' You really want to give them

0:24:550:24:59

a good grinding and a pounding and a mincing and a bashing,

0:24:590:25:02

and a thorough pulverising.

0:25:020:25:04

Add two egg whites to a bowl and whisk vigorously.

0:25:060:25:09

The white should be stiff, so when you turn the bowl upside-down, they don't fall out.

0:25:150:25:20

That's about right.

0:25:200:25:22

Gradually add 100 grams of caster sugar...

0:25:230:25:26

..and the pounded lavender.

0:25:290:25:31

These meringues are certainly going to be lavendery in taste, but I want them to be lavendery in colour.

0:25:310:25:37

That is where this food dye comes in.

0:25:370:25:40

I'm using food colouring paste designed for cake decoration.

0:25:400:25:44

Spoon the luscious lavender meringue into a piping bag.

0:25:480:25:52

Put the nozzle pretty flat to the paper, give it a good squeeze

0:25:530:25:57

and then pull away fast and you will get a nice little peak.

0:25:570:26:01

Don't make them too large. The point is they should be plucked from the plate.

0:26:020:26:06

Pick up the whole thing and ram it in.

0:26:060:26:08

Whack them in the oven. Just preheat it to 130, turn it down to 100,

0:26:140:26:18

and cook them for two hours.

0:26:180:26:21

Now the filling -

0:26:210:26:23

simply whip together fresh double cream and a little icing sugar.

0:26:230:26:27

When the meringues are completely cooled, they're ready to be filled.

0:26:300:26:34

Take a little lavender half and pop on a spoonful of cream.

0:26:350:26:39

Squidge.

0:26:390:26:42

I just have to check and see they are not poisonous.

0:26:450:26:48

They're not.

0:26:480:26:50

I guarantee that these super little sweets

0:26:520:26:55

will add a little bit of sparkle at the end of your lovely lunch.

0:26:550:26:59

So, this weekend, spruce up the garden furniture, kick back,

0:27:020:27:06

and linger over summer's long, lazy lunches.

0:27:060:27:09

# I can see clearly now the rain has gone

0:27:100:27:14

# I can see all obstacles in my way

0:27:190:27:22

# It's gonna be a bright

0:27:250:27:28

# Bright

0:27:280:27:29

# Bright sunshiney day... #

0:27:290:27:33

Next time, I'll be making super quick summer suppers...

0:27:340:27:37

Wow.

0:27:400:27:41

..getting my tongue around some exotic tomatoes.

0:27:410:27:45

Amazing! That's absolutely mental.

0:27:450:27:48

..tickling trout in Scotland.

0:27:490:27:51

Whoa!

0:27:510:27:53

I didn't expect that!

0:27:530:27:55

Again, again, I panicked again!

0:27:560:27:59

..and showing you how to liven up your leftovers.

0:27:590:28:02

It's a kind of take on egg and chips. That's a cracker.

0:28:020:28:06

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:230:28:29

E-mail [email protected]

0:28:290:28:32

Chef and passionate foodie Valentine Warner continues his definitive guide to seasonal cooking and eating, and this time he shows us delicious and speedy recipes for the best summer lunches.

He gives his top tips on how to make refreshing drinks, guaranteed to keep you cool, and finds out that there is such a thing as a free lunch, as he harvests wild herbs on a field trip to Glastonbury. He meets a gardening club who share his passion for fresh peas and cooks up an amazingly tasty dish of Sardinian-style octopus and peas. He also creates the ultimate sweet summer treats - lavender cream meringues. If you want to know what to eat now, Valentine is here to tell you.