When it is sweltering in the garden nobody wants to be slaving in a hot kitchen so it is a good time to stock up on salad ingredients and accompaniments that can be hastily thrown together to provide a satisfying al fresco repast. Tins of tuna fish and anchovies can readily be combined with boiled eggs, red onion, gem lettuce, fine beans, black olives and new season's potatoes to produce an impromptu Salade Niçoise; which is a quick and (fairly) cheap way of feeding people without expending too much effort. Haloumi, lardons and frozen prawns are also good to have on stand-by for adding protein to saladings. Wine-wise nobody wants anything too taxing. A white Chinon such as that made by Domaine Raffault or ultra-pale rosé like Gérard Cordier's delicate Reuilly: Pinot Gris 2014 would fit the bill perfectly.
If you must cook the obvious option is the barbecue. Mr Yapp senior has handed down his recipe for a boned and butterflied (ask your butcher) leg of lamb. You stud it generously with garlic and then marinate it over-night in a mixture of chopped mint, crushed garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and natural yoghurt. You then grill it for 20-30 minutes on a barbecue that has been lit well in advance. It should get a bit of char on the outside but be pink and juicy in the middle. Serve it with tabbouleh or potato salad. It will do justice to quite a substantial red such as Denis Durantou's 'La Chenade' Bordeaux: Lalande de Pomerol 'La Chenade' 2011 which wouldn't be harmed by being poured into a pre-chilled jug or decanter.
For pudding Summer berries are the order of the day. Strawberries can be poshed-up into an Eton Mess with the addition of fresh cream and meringue or just enjoyed as god intended perhaps with a small glass of Jurançon Mœlleux in accompaniment.
By: Jason Yapp