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Summer food

"So you can enjoy the little things a little easier. After all, they may well turn out to have been as important as the big things all along." Coles Magazine

It's going to be 32 or 33 degrees tomorrow, so we have cancelled the cooking lesson. Far too hot. Besides all the cousins are gathering at my younger son's house because he has a swimming pool. And to continue the summer thing, having missed picking up this month's Coles Magazine, I perused the online version yesterday and found this gorgeous piece of advertising.

In the magazine it is a double page spread and the left-hand page has a warm and homely blurb full of reasons for why you should shop at Coles including their all-round sainthood:

"It’s a commitment to respecting the oldest living culture on earth, to helping our farmers and fishermen produce ethically and sustainably and to helping vulnerable Australians in need."

I mean we all know deep down that any supermarket is in it for the money, but those words do show that opinions about what we consume are changing and so they do at least have to appear to do the right thing, by their customers, their suppliers and the world. The blurb finishes with the words at the top of the page. It's all very romanticised Ozzie but you know what - it worked on me. Well probably not in terms of me wanting to only shop at Coles, or believing they are warm and fuzzy people only in the supermarket business to make everyone happy, but certainly because of the beauty of the family scene and the barbecue on the beach and the gorgeous food being cooked on that barbie I felt inclined to approve. And yes the little things are more important than the big things. Brilliant marketing.

Moreover as you turn the pages you will find all manner of tempting summer food. Mostly I was not that interested - been there, done that mostly, but there is always something. And I will share what tempted me here - they are little things - like the simple things I was talking about yesterday. But so suitable for those friends and family gatherings where there are lots of things to pick at.

Pineapple - Pineapples are cheap at the moment - $2.50 the other day and I was sorely tempted although I always get put off by the problem of peeling it. I really should heed a friend's advice on this. Peel the whole thing when you get it. Cut it up and keep it in the fridge, and then it's ready for use any time. And really fresh pineapple is one of the world's great treats I think. So maybe next time I am in Coles I will get one. Anyway what they did with it was to grill slices which have been sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on the barbecue and then serve with mint, cream, coconut flakes, caramel and pistachios. Well, of course you could make your topping up yourself. And maybe not such big slices because you would need a knife and fork for that. Simple though. Easy too. Just make sure you have a good pineapple. I was taught to judge this by pulling out one of the inner leaves at the top. If it comes out easily it's good. However, these days those leaves have often been chopped off, so I'm not sure how you judge now. Press it gently I guess.

Mango - there were two suggestions here. One savoury , one sweet. The sweet was Salted mango and coconut ice cream crumble bars. It's an assembly job this one. You don't need to make the ice cream, but you need to make the crumble - very easy, just mix the ingredients together and roast, and the mango filling just a matter of stirring three things together in a saucepan. Now how could that go wrong as Neil Perry warned us it would? Well I suppose you could burn the crumble. I suppose you could burn the mango. But no, it isn't hard. And to be honest I can't wait to make this one - particularly if we get back to Queen Vic Market and David buys a whole tray of mangoes leaving me with the dilemma of finding something to do with them. I think I still have some frozen in the freezer from last year. So maybe I can have a go at this one tomorrow or some time soon anyway.

Mango savoury is Mango and pickled fennel crostini. Curiously the recipe for this one is not online. Well the Coles Magazine is online so you can catch it there. You pickle the shredded fennel in vinegar, lime juice, sugar and salt, toast the bread with marinade from marinaded feta and garlic, top with a feta mix and mango. I suppose this is not that simple, but it's not that complicated either, and an interesting flavour combination. Which is possibly an Australian thing, the mixture of fruit and savoury stuff. Well tropical fruit and savoury stuff anyway. Again, now that I look at it, potentially tricky to eat though.

Pickled radishes - really really simple and easy both, because you don't even have to worry about the quality of your radishes here, because it's a suggestion for using up leftover radishes. Slice thinly and put in a jar with 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, whole cloves and peppercorns. Combine 375ml red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp caster sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp salt and pour over. Then you can do all sorts of things with it. They suggest serving it with salmon. It will keep for a couple of weeks, probably longer.

Oh dear I seem to be just giving Coles some free advertising. I think it's more the prospect of lazy lunches in the sun, or the shade, but outside definitely, with the grandchildren running around being silly, and the adults chatting over a glass of wine or corona beer. The supermarkets, of course have heaps of money that they can splash on these glossy foodie magazines. Every other page is an ad for somebody's product, and presumably those producers pay hugely for the privilege, which means that Coles can employ top food photographers and stylists, let alone Curtis Stone and other up and coming chefs who must be on their in-house team. The magazine probably pays for itself.

They say we are all suckers for advertising even if we don't think we are. I might not be a sucker for ads for cars, but I confess to being a sucker for classily produced arty ads. I even like Snoop Dog and Ubereats although I don't think I would therefore rush to use Ubereats. Ditto for Coles really. I do admit to a slight preference for Coles over Woolworths but it's not logical and not followed through, because my husband has a preference for Woolworths, and besides there's always Aldi. And on our trip to Doncaster the other day I finally got some Sichuan peppercorns from Colonial Food Stores. It took me a while to find them and while to get out but I knew they would have them somewhere. I probably don't even notice that I am being seduced by advertising when it comes to the ones that actually make me buy the product. That's the power of advertising.

Anyway summer is here, and whilst we may not heading for a barbecue on the beach, I'm sure we shall be barbecuing at home before long. And some of those recipes will be worth trying.


Just a couple of photos from today's walk, but I rather liked them.


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