Anna’s Kitchen Notes on Summer

Acclaimed chef Anna Hansen on summer’s seasonal bounty and eating al fresco in EC1

Few things are as exciting to me as the arrival of summer. This time of year signifies long, balmy days spent, well you guessed it, preparing and eating food. How is this different to the days I spend preparing and eating food at any other time of the year, you ask? Quite simply it is the abundance and variety of Mother Nature’s bounty through the summer months. It both inspires me and makes me happy.

I love summer days spent gorging on plump ripe peaches and plums, cherries and chilled watermelon. I love the endless hours spent in the kitchen preparing globe artichokes to confit in herb oil, picking crab or podding broad beans. I love the rabbit, the wood pigeon, the mackerel and the herring. The aubergines, the beetroot, the watercress, the sorrel, the figs, the greengages, and the plethora of other delights vying for a place on your table. And if that table happened to be outside, well then I’d be in seventh heaven. One of the joys of the summer months is being able to dine al fresco. What could be better than watching the world go by, sipping your tipple of choice and eating seasonal delights, all while the afternoon sun drapes itself across the horizon?

Fortunately Clerkenwell is blessed with one of the best al fresco dining scenes in London. It ranges from the courtyards of The Clerkenwell Kitchen and Bleeding Heart to the street food stalls and outside tables of Exmouth Market. On a sunny day, you’re spoilt for choice – will it be a table at Caravan, Moro or Bonnie Gull, to name but a few? If you’re in the mood for a cold pint or a glass of rosé, then The Eagle, The Well and The Coach and Horses all bring the great gastropub experience outdoors.

Finally, of course, there’s St John’s Square, home to The Modern Pantry and our new neighbours Grain Store Unleashed. I love the terrace at the restaurant, it’s set well back from the road so you can watch the world go by in style.