For the next three months we will be running a series of features on our website celebrating seasonal Fife. This aims to help everyone get the most out of the food and drink that is produced here. Here Christopher Trotter explores August’s bounty.
August is an abundant month. In farm shops like Ardross, Pillars of Hercules and Balgove Larder you will find beetroot complete with stalks and leaves – all of which can be eaten. There are beans of all sorts broccoli, chard, courgettes, and salad leaves of every hue and flavour. Onions and main crop potatoes will be just starting, and tomatoes will be in abundance. This is just a taste of the wide variety of what’s available but hunt around and above all, ask in the local shops or get in touch with our members online. On the wild front look out also for sorrel leaves to sharpen up a salad.
Fife’s soft fruit farms are amongst the finest in Scotland. I learned recently that soft fruit came to Fife because of the monks at Lindores Abbey, who realised that the fertile land there would support these crops. This gem came from Helen Mackenzie Smith who owns the Lindores Abbey Distillery. Fife produces renowned crops of strawberries, raspberries and the luscious Tayberry, a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry developed here in Tayside. Black and red currants are available as well as gooseberries.
Lamb is particularly good at this time of year – the perfectly matured with juicy prime cuts perfect for the barbeque and pieces like the shoulder and shanks delicious in a long slow cook. Game is good just now with pigeon and rabbit plump from feasting on our farmers’ hard work and roe deer are also available.
There’s also a rich harvest from the sea. Mackerel from the Forth is very good just now, and lobster and crab is perfect for summer eating. The waters around the coast really are perfect for high quality shellfish.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what to look for in our wonderful region in August.
Here is a recipe to try…
Tomato salad with kale and aubergine
This is an idea that photographer, Caroline Trotter adapted from a newspaper and I’ve tweaked it again. I love the use of raw kale and the colours and textures are just great, making it as good in the kale season in winter as it is in the summer. To make it even more colourful, sprinkle over some pomegranate seeds.
1 aubergine, diced
2 tblsp harissa paste
100g cooked quinoa
1 cucumber, diced
300g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tblsp chopped fresh herbs – parsley, marjoram, fennel
1 red pepper, diced
2 handfuls of kale with the stalks removed and torn into “bite-size” pieces
1 tblsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1 spring onion, finely chopped
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
Gift of Oil, Alentejan premium olive oil
1 Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6
2 Mix the aubergine with the harissa and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden; allow to cool.
3 Mix all the dressing ingredients with enough oil to form a coating.
4 Mix all the ingredients together with the dressing, finishing with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.