Whilst the strawberry may be the first fruit we think of when we think of Albion, it is more temperamental than that other equally red fruit the Raspberry. Whilst the strawberry can sulk like a moody adolescent if it is too cold, too wet, or too anything for that matter, the raspberry quietly gets on with things. Indeed some of the finest raspberries come from Scotland, where the climate is generally cooler and wetter.
The first of my summer fruiting canes ripened this week, heavy and luscious, with a fruity yet honeyed flavour. Delicious picked as they were, they also cook exceptionally well, from the classic jam (50:50 ration of fruit to cane sugar, nothing else but a delightful wobbly set) to something all the more beautiful.
Apricots are also now ripening, heavy with their juice. When stoned, a mix of raspberries and crushed amaretti biscuit fills the cavity wonderfully, and baked with a drizzle of lavender honey (I buy mine from the incredible Market Quarter in Elizabeth St) gives a heady blast of fragrant fruit when you open the door.
As I write this now, at the end of a hot day, the lavender is smothered in bees. Grown in pots against the white painted exterior wall, it positively soaks up the sun. I pick the new flower heads, and make a thick syrup infused with them. Delicious mixed with tonic water, or poured over stoned peaches, which equally roast well; just tuck in a sprig or two of rosemary so the resinous notes mingle with the floral: you could be sitting in Provence.