OLIVE MAGAZINE - Summer Edition

For some reason the July edition of Olive has been called the 'Summer Edition' and has had a total redesign that includes new style typography, new layout and a louder colour scheme. All the regular features are there, plus a few new ones, but with the complete re-vamp, everything looks fresher and more attractive in presentation. I like the re-modelling and it marks the introduction of the 'colourful, bright and sunny summertime' edition, which features lots of inspiring summer recipes, cocktails and outdoor dishes that excite the taste buds.  We had our first outdoor dinner party two weeks ago and eating out of doors somehow makes everything taste fresher and tastier and there are many new ideas for dishes that I can't wait to try out at our next al fresco dinning extravaganza in a few weeks time. We don't do BBQs, but we do a 'Darling Buds of May' table under the trees with large plates of exciting salads and  dishes of chicken and salmon. However, seeing the recipe for Lamb, lemon and pecorino meatballs with orzo (below), in this edition of Olive, I cant wait to get it on our menu for 14 June. The pecorino though has to be the non-salty type from Umbria or Tuscany, as oppose to the more common salty Roman version. That said, I also loved the recipes for Melting onion, pine nuts and curd cheese tart and Double-swiss and green chilli relish burgers.

Of the new articles this month, there is 'Trend-Spotting With Carl Clarke' - chef and DJ Carl from a London eatery, looks at the craze for 'Doughnuts' and next month will do 'Cocktail Jellies'. There is also 'Anywhere but London' which features the Hillside Bistro in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight - it's good to see Olive venturing outside the Home Counties! But as for 'People We Like', it's James Lowe, chef of Lyle's in Central London, and 'Restaurant of the Month' is Mayfields in London's Hackney. 'Pro versus Punter' takes us to the Barnyard in Central London and there is a two page feature on the Trishna Indian restaurant again in Central London! However, I must admit the balance with the rest of the UK is somewhat redressed in an excellent 'Summer hotspots' article on alfresco dining, with Barnsley House in Gloucestershire recommended for its kitchen garden (below), Reds True BBQ in Leeds for grills and The Neptune in Norfolk for being beside the seaside. They all look splendid places for that special summer occasion.

It is ironic that I keep 'rabbiting-on' about Olive's preoccupation with eating places in London and the Home Counties, yet this month, Proper Pub Food author Tom Kerridge, judges Britain's Best Pub Pies. And the winner was The Chestnut Horse in Yorkshire with the runner up The Hare Arms in Norfolk and the  shortlisted pubs, The Blue Flame Inn in Bristol and Y Ffarmers' in  Aberystwyth. Where were the London pubs then, Olive?

A summer mini-mag is a welcome addition to Olive this month - it features in pictures and words,  seasonal cocktails, stylish picnic gear, beers to put on ice, afternoon tea, summer ice cream flavours and lots more. Sadly, most of the food is from one or other of our major supermarkets and there is no suggestion that you could make your own ice cream or bake your own savouries or sweets. Considering it's not advertising feature, Olive has certainly put plenty of summer business to the top five stores! Nevertheless, there are plenty of seasonal dishes to inspire us as the strawberries, artichokes, broad beans and peaches arrive on the shelves of our supermarkets. The Strawberry vacherin (below) looks yummy.

This month's ''Cook like a local'' highlights Southern Thailand and includes a menu de-coder, so you know what unusual dishes like Yam sa rhai and Moo yang wuang really are, when ordering them in Phuket. There are also three simple Thai recipes to try, that use easy-to-get ingredients (below). Summer food festivals get three pages and Olive claims that those listed are the 'best' for this and for that. How they have reached their judgements is not clear. Most of them were new to me!

The 'Weekender' page features Athens, offering everything from artisan cocktails to souvlaki. A postcard from Toulouse shows food lovers where to get the best truffles and the tastiest cassoulet. There are plenty of new cookery books reviewed this month and alongside some delightful cocktails and scrummy desserts, Olive's summer edition is well worth the price.

Finally, 'using up the left-overs' (my forte) article, is always a disappointment for me and this month is no exception, with the left-over ingredients being as exotic as ever - Asian peanut dressing, chilli butter, oyster sauce, cardamom cream and sherry vinegar. Not the kind of left-overs in my fridge!

The next issue is out on 20 June.


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