For all you guys out there who like quick and simple fodder with loads of flavour, this is for you. Put on your apron, amp up the barbecue and take charge in the kitchen. For those who love the hunting and gathering part of preparing dinner, take it a step further and source your own cockles and mussels. It will make the dish taste even more satisfying.
Also, as the gardens are so dry at the moment and we are having to water constantly, now is a good time to pick your herbs to make pesto and sauces. Likewise, tomatoes and courgettes are at their best so I can't resist adding them to dinners most nights - simply saute in a pan with garlic and olive oil, delicious.
You can make today's coriander dressing for the mussels and cockles well ahead of time. To keep it vibrant and green, blanch the coriander then cool in iced water. Drain before placing in the blender and combining with the other ingredients. With the shellfish, remember if any don't open when cooked, throw them away. And bread is essential for slurping up the delicious juices.
I am not a huge fan of over-marinating meat. I like to taste the main ingredient. A leg of lamb, a barbecue and a few simple flavours found in most kitchens is all you need. The key is to ensure the lamb stays moist and tasty. Serve hot or at room temperature with mashed new potatoes and a drizzle of your finest olive oil - scrummy.
In the garden this year, it has been a race between me and the birds to get to the juicy figs. I just love picking them and eating them right there and then in the shade of the tree.
I also love to grill them and eat with mascarpone, mint, masala and honey - a combination to die for and one that works well with other grilled fruits. This dish takes me back to happy days in Italy, where the food is so simple yet full of flavour.