july in my kitchen & making dukkah

In my kitchen this July……


  …….I’ve been making lots of elderflower cordial. There have been several  batches (I put a few in the fridge then freeze the rest in plastic bottles so I have a year round supply. Lurking in the corner looking like one of Ruby’s dubious potions, I stir it when I remember then decant through muslin. So refreshing on these summery days diluted with fizzy water or in ice lollies. Lovely too in gin & tonic. And the borage is flowering at last for pretty ice cubes. The recipe I use for elderflower cordial  is here.


In my kitchen this month I’ve been slow-cooking lamb. Marinated in lots of garlic, rosemary and olive oil then cooked for hours in a really low oven. Perfect to put in the oven with hardly any preparation time, leave to cook while I picked Ruby up from school and spent a sunny hour or two at the playground. We returned, dug a few new potatoes from the garden, picked some greens and mint and had a really easy, totally delicious dinner. Savoured all the more as it was a gift from our farming neighbour who said it was a thank you for favours. All we remember doing is making some pigeon scarers out of sticks and old cds for his field of Swedes growing next door to us – and this was an evening’s entertainment for Ruby. So we were totally grateful for lovely generosity and several tasty dinners.

The lamb flaked off the bone tenderly and the leftovers were great the next day with the flatbread I made here (it freezes well), houmous, tsatsiki and salad. The salad was a sort of fattoush, with lots of parsley, mint and radish from the garden added to tomatoes (not home-grown yet) toasted flat bread and lots of lemon juice.


It seems just right for the prolonged sunshine we’re very much enjoying at the moment and I enjoyed a similar salad with my friend Chava, who took the lovely pictures in this post. We had it with flat bread and dukkah, which was very tasty with lots of fresh mint.


I base my Dukkah on the ever-inspiring Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s version in River Cottage Everyday. This time I used almonds instead of Hugh’s hazelnuts (I bet English cobnuts would be great in this later in the year though) and golden linseeds for the seeds (my own laziness urging me to use what I had in the cupboard rather than going shopping). Of Egyptian origin this blend of coarsely ground seeds and nuts, fragrant with mint, is also lovely on fish, with halloumi or just with olive oil and flatbread as a snack.



A handful of nuts of your choice

½ tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons seeds such as seame, linseed, even sunflower.

½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

½ teaspoon sea salt

A handful of mint leaves, shredded

Toast the nuts dry in a frying pan (Hugh toasts them in the oven, which you can also try) until they are slightly coloured. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds until they just begin to release their appetising aroma. Bash them with a pestle and mortar until broken up coarsely.


Toast the seeds until golden too. Add the nuts, seeds, chilli and salt to the spice mix and bash until the nuts are broken up into small pieces. Stir in the mint and prepare to dip.


This can be kept for a few weeks in an airtight container, although I then add mint to half of it and use this portion first then add mint to the rest fresh when I’m about to use. It makes a nice gift, in fact I’ve made it with Ruby before for family Christmas presents as she’s quite partial to a bit of pestle and mortar activity.

In my kitchen I’ve also been enjoying having the glass doors open most of the time – how lovely to have the sunshine streaming in (Is this really an English summer?!!), and to savour a little breeze. And try not to notice the large patch of weeds that I STILL need to get round to clearing. I let them get too established while I enjoyed the prettiness of the pretty buttercups. Until I get round to finishing this pesky job, I try to keep my gaze firmly fixed on the lush flowers and veggies.

In my kitchen there are still daily bowls of strawberries and regular colanders of gooseberries.



In my kitchen there’s lots of podding activity. Ruby’s purple podded peas and tender little broad beans.  As my daughter hasn’t been keen on peas lately it’s great seeing her enjoying the sweetness of freshly picked home-grown ones. Of course the pretty flowers and beautiful purple pods help.


While I lazily pod broad beans for risotto, I think that this has to be one of my favourite months for food from the garden. Topping and tailing and podding are such relaxing things to do in the kitchen too – allowing my mind to drift into daydreams of my favourite broad bean pasta with lots of parsley and garlic….

I’d like to include this in Celia’s lovely Fig Jam and Lime Cordial In My Kitchen gathering for July.



16 thoughts on “july in my kitchen & making dukkah

  1. Wow you are having such a busy and lovely time in the kitchen.
    I wish I had all you elderflowers, or better still your cordial 😉

    • It feels like a very lazy time at the moment to be honest, the sun has totally slowed me down. Toppin and tailing gooseberries is about as frantic as it gets!

  2. Oh I so love reading about all the wonderful food you pick, prepare and cook. All of it utterly fabulous! I can’t believe I’ve yet to make dukkah, but it’s so on my ever increasing To Make list. The lamb sounds heavenly, especially served the next day with fattoush and flatbreads. Gorgeous post Andrea, though my tummy’s now rumbling!

    • Thanks so much Louisa – I always feel the same when I read about your lovely meals though. Dukkah is one of those easy to make things that lasts a little while and is so handy to add flavour to lots of different dishes, a bit like all your lovely pesto recipes.

  3. This has to be the most beautiful ‘in my kitchen’ ever.

  4. Lovely post.
    From the garden to your table- just lovely!
    I love your green bowls- and your style of presenting and writing- Thanks for sharing!

    • I do love popping out to the garden and deciding what to eat, so much easier than going anywhere in the car in this hot weather too. Thanks lots for lovely comments.

  5. The dukkah sounds great – we’re trying lots of Eastern Mediterranean recipes just now, so I’ll add this to the list. I haven’t got around to making any elderflower cordial this year – citric acid has been impossible to find in the shops here… must remember to buy some in advance of the ‘elderflower rush’ next year!

    • Eastern Mediterranean food seems to suit the heat at the moment perfectly doesn’t it, look forward to hearing more about yours.

  6. Great post. Didn’t get round to elderflower cordial, despite all the flowers winking at me to pick them and reading this I wish I had!

    • Thank you. I can see the elderflowers starting to fade already in the hedge next to our kitchen and already starting to wonder if I should’ve made more, it’s going down quickly in the lovely sunny weather.

  7. Your food looks ideal for this wonderful sunny weather and the photographs are wonderful. The elderflowers were numerous around here though I never seem to make enough cordial before they start to die back. It seemed a very short season this year.

    • I know, the elderflowers are fading fast here too and I’m wondering if I’ve made enough to last – if this amazing sun continues, stocks will disappear fast.

  8. It’s just so wonderful to see your summery kitchen, thank you for sharing it, especially with those of us in winter at the moment. I adore dukkah and haven’t made it for ages, thanks for the reminder! Your lamb sounds divine, and I bet it was even better the next day with that fabulous fattoush! We grow purslane to put into our fattoush – it’s a weed, but a deliciously edible one… 🙂

  9. Great idea re the purslane Celia, must try it. And yes, the lamb was lovely the next day – it’s funny how the leftovers are often the most delicious meal isn’t it.


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