(above: Ottolenghi's spicy pulled pork vindaloo)
Spicy food doesn't always have summer connotations here in the UK – but did you know that it can cool you down on a hot day? So as the temperature soars, don't shy away from your spice rack but embrace the heat.
Though it seems counterintuitive, eating spicy food raises your internal temperature to match the temperature outside, which increases your blood circulation and actually helps keep you cool. What's more, a spicy chilli dish can trigger something known as 'gustatory sweating' which causes you to prickle and as the sweat evaporates it cools you right down.
So, instead of a sandwich and a scotch egg, why not try Ottolenghi's pulled pork vindaloo ... and round it off with a bowl of strawberry and fennel ice cream?! To get you started we've listed some of our favourite tried-and-tested, summer recipes below.
1. Anna Jones' tomatoes on toast with chilli and fennel seeds
We love this recipe for its simplicity. Perfect for this time of year where you can get your hand on some really quality tomatoes. Sneaky tip – spreading a layer of hummous on the toast is really quite delicious.
2. Helen Graves' (new!) adana kebab recipe
Adana kebabs are something of a speciality for BBQ queen Helen Graves (editor of Pit Magazine). This is her latest version and it's sensational. We recommend either Aleppo Pepper or House Blend for the '1tbsp chilli flakes'.
3. Ottolenghi's spicy pulled pork vindaloo
Pilfer your spice cabinet for this sensational recipe: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds ... it's not short on flavour and a real crowd-pleaser. Put a tin of House Blend on the table, to garnish.
4. Sophie Godwin's BBQ sardines with chermoula sauce
Though this recipe is specifically for sardines, it's a versatile sauce which works for all different types of oily fish. We've served it with pan-fried mackerel and even drizzled it over anchovies on toast – sensational!
Note, we use House Blend for the '1/4 tsp of chilli flakes' but Aleppo or Urfa Pul Biber would both work just fine.
5. Meera Sodha's strawberry and fennel seed kulfi
This kulfi-style Indian ice cream is made with condensed milk, which we find always makes for a better-behaved ice cream, which is softer than a rock-solid custard ice cream which needs churning. If you're struggling to grind the fennel seeds into a powder, try introducing a bit of granulated sugar or even use a coffee grinder ... it introduces a natural sweetness and pairs beautifully with the strawberries to make a really special dessert.