Raw and local

Enjoy the delights of raw and local food this summer, with these tips from Richard Buckley

There is no better time to eat raw than the British summer. From the smell of the spring herbs in May to the sweetness of the apples and pumpkins in October, we are spoilt by the variety, freshness and abundance in the fields all around us.

Produce is so abundant at this time of year that we really have no excuse to not embrace the multiple pleasures and benefits of being raw and local. Just think of the pleasures of podding fresh, raw peas from your own garden, shredding courgettes plucked from the plant that morning and dressing them with a raw cider vinegar made on a farm up the road. Perhaps you want a raw pesto made with local walnuts or hazelnuts, or a salad topped with sunflower seeds. We have no need for cashews, mangoes and pineapples when we have walnuts, cherries and apples on our doorstep.

Of course, I am exaggerating – the reality is we live in an international age and produce as well as culinary ideas can fly around the globe faster than ever before. I couldn’t live without my olive oils, almonds and chocolate but there is a serious thought here. We all live busy, modern lives and don’t always have the time or space to tend our own garden or visit the local farmers’ market once a week to ensure that everything we eat is beyond reproach. But, especially where fresh produce is concerned, we owe it to ourselves and to the planet to look at our own fields first before turning to Instagram or California for inspiration. When we are in the mood there is no reason not to have a mango or a cashew cheese and in the depths of winter a local raw diet would have us starving in the streets, but when there is a choice, and the choice is a good one, then local is always best.

The best ingredients for a raw local summer

Asparagus – peel it thinly and season lightly

Peas – fresh from the pod in a nice nut dressing

Tomatoes – simply sliced with oil or dehydrated with your favourite nut cheese

Courgettes – grated with a dash of oil and cider vinegar

Peppers – use in a raw romesco sauce

Herbs – basil, parsley and tarragon for a dizzying array of pestos

Leafy greens – with every meal

Blueberries – best eaten as they are with a little shredded mint

Raspberries – delicious with a little raw cocoa butter

Onions – Thinly sliced in every salad

Kales – rubbed in cider vinegar and salt

Summer beets – sliced thinly

Apples – eaten whole or sliced with kohlrabi

Hazelnuts – for the best raw pestos

Sunflower seeds – make fantastic dressings

Click here for Richard Buckley's Gazpacho recipe... and his Raw pesto recipe...

Richard Buckley is chef proprietor of the award-winning Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath. To find out more, visit www.acornrestaurant.co.uk

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