Summer is finally here and the food markets are already starting to fill with colourful juicy fruits that have just come into season.
With an array of fresh fruits at your fingertips you have no excuse for missing out on your five-a-day this summer! Raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, apricots, gooseberries, peaches and watermelons… the list goes on. As well as being sweet and delicious all these fruits offer some great health benefits.
Summer fruits are proven to contain essential nutrients and anti-oxidants that can help to make your skin clearer, your hair shinier and your heart stronger! Watermelon is one of my favourites. Aside from being sweet and refreshing on those hot summer days, it is also a great source of beta carotene and vitamin C. Watermelon is an unusual fruit source of the carotenoid lycopene and a rich source of antioxidants. Watermelon contains cucurbitacin E, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrient, and unusual amounts of the amino acid citrulline. Citrulline is easily converted into anther amino acid known as arginine, which is then acted on by enzymes to produce nitric oxide. This allows blood vessels to relax and improve blood flow so can be great choice for runners (it’s a similar way to how beetroot juice works).
Here are some of my favourite fruity recipes for you to try this summer.
Melon, raspberry and spinach smoothie
2 handfuls of baby leaf spinach
1 tsp of chia seeds
Juice of a lime
200ml coconut water
Place the rest of the melon in a blender. Add all the other ingredients and whizz together.
Cherry and green tea smoothie
Steep and green teabag in a mug of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove the teabag and pour the tea into the blender with the cherries. Add 2 tbsp of plain Greek yogurt and 1 tbsp each of almonds and flaxseed. Add a couple of ice cubes if you prefer your smoothie to be ice cold. Whizz everything together.
Grilled peaches with lime, yogurt and hazelnuts
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Handful of mint leaves, torn
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, and cinnamon and whisk to blend. Set aside.
Split the peaches and remove the stones. Lightly brush the peaches with the marinade. Place under a hot grill, turning once and basting once or twice with the remaining marinade, until tender and golden, about 3-5 minutes on each side.
Serve a grilled peach with the yogurt, scattered with the raspberries, hazelnuts and mint.
Tuna with spicy mango salsa
1 large mango mango
2 tuna steaks
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 small avocado
1 small red onion
1 red chilli
Handful fresh coriander leaves
Handful mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
Dice the mango, avocado, onion and chilli and roughly chop the herbs. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and add the lime juice and olive oil and mix lightly to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Drizzle each tuna steak with a little olive oil and rub all over the fish; season well with salt and pepper. Place a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and add the tuna steaks. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side until charred and just cooked through.
Mackerel and gooseberry salad
4 thin smoked mackerel fillets, flesh flaked
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tbsp walnut pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
150g gooseberries, halved
2 spring onions
2-3 large handfuls of rocket leaves
Assemble all the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with a little honey and mustard dressing.
Low sugar blackcurrant sorbet
2 tbsp coconut sugar
Large handful of fresh mint
200ml boiling water
2tsp liquid glucose (available from most supermarkets or chemists)
juice 2 lemons
Place the sugar and mint in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mint to steep until the syrup is cool, then discard the mint.
Cook the blackcurrants in the syrup with the liquid glucose for 5 minutes, until the fruit is soft. Purée the blackcurrants in a food processor, then strain through a sieve, rubbing with the back of a spoon to remove the skins and pips. Add the lemon juice and cassis.
Cool-freeze in an ice-cream machine, until it becomes a thick slush, then scoop into a freezer container and freeze.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, pour the blackcurrant mixture into a shallow freezer container. Beat the mixture three or four times as it freezes. Before serving, let the sorbet soften in the fridge for 10 minutes.