Home Made Summer

I don't write about books very often on here. I don't know why as they are such a huge part of my life. I read all the time, particularly contemporary fiction and crime fiction. But I thought that maybe I'd start posting occasionally on my love of books and show some of my current favourites. I'm passionate about saving our bookshops - I worked for many years as a bookseller and it was one of the best jobs I ever had. I don't read e-books as I like to hold a real book in my hand and devour it's pages. I even like the smell of library books!

But I have to say that it's a rare thing for me now to buy a cookbook. I love browsing for them and can happily while away the hours looking at recipes and dreaming of recreating them in my own home. But I don't often purchase them, they are expensive and take up a lot of room in my very tiny kitchen. Occasionally though, one comes along that I must have, one that I know will be well used over many years, one I know that I'll still want to savour and enjoy for it's beauty and simple seasonal creations.

It was to my utter delight then that I stumbled upon Home Made Summer by Yvette van Boven. Yvette is a food stylist, recipe writer and restaurant owner in Amsterdam. She is also a quirky illustrator and many of the  pages in the book feature her doodles and papercut designs. The photography is fun too and all pictures were taken by her husband, Oof. This book feels cared for and loved by them both.

But of course it's the recipes that should always be the star of the show and even though a book can be beautiful and full of lovely ideas, it might not be the easiest to replicate at home. Home Made Summer is perfect for the amateur cook. There are no flashy ingredients and it's full of quick, simple ideas to get food onto your plate. Yvette knows that on a hot summer day, no-one wants to spend ages in a hot kitchen.

I'm keen to try lots of the recipes, strawberry shortcake, cherry and blueberry jam with orange & basil, raspberry blueberry and coconut cake - these are all top of the list! But then there are also lots of recipes for storecupboard essentials, from raspberry vinegar to coriander & cardamom oil. I'd say about 80% of the recipes are vegetarian too.

Today I thought I'd try out one of the drinks recipes - Mint Lemmo. It's basically a lemonade with a mint twist. As I'm not the biggest fan of garden mint I decided to use some more of my ginger mint.


Bring 50g mint leaves with 300ml water, 200g sugar and 1 sliced lemon to a boil. Turn off the heat after 5 minutes and let it stand for 1 hour to steep.

Strain the syrup, return to the pan and bring it to a boil. Over a low heat let it simmer for about 15 minutes until you find it syrupy enough.

Pour the syrup into an ultraclean bottle. Pop it in the fridge and it'll keep for months.

Serve it with ice cold sparkling water, fresh mint leaves and slices of lemon.

Cheers! x