CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Tim Maddams: Unusual distractions

PUBLISHED: 14:38 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:38 03 July 2017

flowers and coriander seeds are outdoors

flowers and coriander seeds are outdoors


Former head chef at River Cottage, Tim Maddams is a private chef, author, teacher and presenter

Finally the strawberries are really at their best, courgettes are kicking off and the tomatoes are just about on the way. This is high summer and from here through to November, like pedlars at the market, there are so many things to distract us that I fear I will miss something. I have tried to be less worried about this and just enjoy everything that comes my way, but I did wonder if I should look at a few less obvious choices for the table; so here is an ‘alternative’ list for July. I hope you like it....

1. Love-struck coriander

Now this one is definitely ‘out there’. If you have grown coriander you will know that it goes from leaf to flower almost immediately. Bolting faster than the proverbial horse with the unlocked stable door, its desire to reproduce is second only to that of a love-struck teenage boy. This is a good thing though, as the green seeds have just the most pungent crossover in flavour between the soapy-fresh and pungent leaves and the brilliantly spicy, aromatic seeds. Used in fresh salads they pep things up like little cluster bombs of exuberance. Cooked into curries, stews and soups they can’t fail to impress.

2. Zingy jostaberries

If you have never met this charming fellow, do allow me to introduce you. If you like either gooseberries, blackcurrants, or indeed both, then the jostaberry is the season’s berry of choice, as it’s a cross between the two, with a hint of the American black-gooseberry thrown in for good measure. Used in any way you like, these fellows really add zing to life: sorbets, granitas, crumbles, fools or messes, the choice is yours. However, I would strongly advise the experimentation with a not-too-sweet but strongly flavoured syrup which you can make from jostaberries, served over ice with a good, light and sparkly cider. It’s out-of-this-world classy and so far removed from a cider and black of old that no one will raise an eyebrow. Class.

Jostaberry. Hybrid of a gooseberry and currantJostaberry. Hybrid of a gooseberry and currant

3. Sea salty samphire

You may not know it but if you are able to get hold of marsh samphire commercially, either via the fishmonger or the veg shop, it’s quite likely it’s come all the way from Israel or indeed a European country such as France or Holland. This seems a little crazy when it’s there for the taking down by the seaside. Not that I want to encourage a region-wide harvest of this tender plant. For one thing it often grows in protected habitats where you’d need permission to collect it; secondly it’s very easily up-rooted by mistake and so care and a pair of scissors are needed for a sustainable harvest. I love this succulent plant, with its mineral-rich, salty taste that seems the most natural of veg for the time of year and, as is so often the case, it works very well with its seasonal bedfellows like wild mushrooms, rabbit and pigeon. They’re all on the cards, as well as the more fishy companions that it’s traditionally associated with. The season is only just getting under way, but it’s best picked early on as it goes tough and very stringy once it starts thinking about flowering. (The stringiness is impossible to get around as the tough fibre runs right to the top of the plant.) Toss it raw into tomato salads (seriously good) and add a small amount of chopped tomato leaf too, along with a few anchovies. Heaven!

dish full of fresh green rock samphire. samphire, a naturaly occuring coatal green, is a traditional accompaniment for fish and is agin growing in popularity in northern full of fresh green rock samphire. samphire, a naturaly occuring coatal green, is a traditional accompaniment for fish and is agin growing in popularity in northern europe.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

SU CARROLL breaks bread with charismatic Devon restaurateur Edmond Davari as he embarks on a new venture

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We hooked up with RACHAEL JOWITT, head roaster for leading South West coffee roastery, Voyager Coffee, to hear how the business is developing

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

From pale ale and real cider to craft beer, Devon is home to a number of real ale breweries and CAMRA award-winners, meaning a good pub is never far away – we pick 16 places to go in Devon to find the best pint

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Devon Life’s readers and followers have been voting for their favourite food & drink stars and we can now reveal our winners who were honoured at our glamorous ceremony at Sandy Park on November 15

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Public Houses are a cornerstone of life here in Britain, dating back as far as the Roman invasion in 43 AD. Devon is no different and its humble establishments are steeped in history and nostalgia. We’ve taken a look at 11 of the county’s most historical pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A traditional Christmas pudding recipe, served with clotted cream and a brandy Crème Anglaise with a dash of cognac

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea, we’ve found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

We’ve spoken to award-winning chef Michael Caines MBE to find out more about Lympstone Manor’s wine celebration evenings and when their new vineyard will produce its first bottle of wine

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Check out Michael Caines’ column in the latest issue of Devon Life where you can read more about what this recipe will be perfect with

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year. Sponsored by Radio Exe

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of Devon’s Best Sunday Roast. Sponsored by

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of the Pub of the Year award. Sponsored by WBW Solicitors

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search