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Australia’s favourite tree­‐changer – Matthew Evans – has released a new cookbook Summer on Fat Pig Farm just in time for the silly season.

The former chef and food critic is now a Tasmanian smallholder, food writer and food activist. When he’s not busy starring in the SBS series What’s the Catch?, he’s creating incredible recipes like white peach and mint sangria (find it below), waffles with butterscotch fruit and the perfect tomato bruschetta.

So who better to turn to for the best tips to get through the silly season of Summer?

What does Summer mean to you and your family?

It means long, lazy evenings. You can have dinner anywhere – grass, damn, river, veranda. It’s heaven on earth that feeling of eating outside.

How does this (Summer) translate in the kitchen?

Everything is lighter, brighter, generally quicker and simpler to cook (or that’s what I’m trying to show in my latest cookbook anyhow). It’s not worth tampering too much with the beautiful bounty nature gives us in Summer.

What is your favourite mealtime during Summer and why?

Brunch! Because it’s usually my second breakfast and you can take the time to cherish every mouthful. Brunch possibilities are endless because any type of meal is acceptable … even a kind-of dessert!

What is your favourite dish to serve at this mealtime and why?

Breakfast Trifle. It’s simple, you can use whatever fantastic berries are in season and then it’s enriched with yoghurt and cream. FLAVOUR. TEXTURE. PERFUME – a sensory trifecta.

What does your picnic basket look like?

Bread sticks poking out, a savoury pie or frittata for a substantial meal, a tea cake, a thermos and what the hell, wine as well.

What is your ideal Summer cocktail to enjoy during the silly season?

Peach Sangria – I’m bringing back schnapps! This is so simple and can be drunk both singularly and in a group.

What’s your best advice to those planning to entertain guests over the Summer?

Hire the caterers! Just kidding! The best advice is nail the shopping list, buy good quality produce that’s in season. You cannot go wrong.

Not everyone can live on a farm – what’s one small way we can all inject a little ‘farm life’ into the everyday?

Let produce dictate what you do in the kitchen, not the recipe. That’s farm life – what comes from the group is the ultimate inspiration.

summer website

MICHELLE’S WHITE PEACH & MINT SANGRIA

MAKES A WHOLE LOT: ENOUGH FOR 6–8 PEOPLE

When my friend Michelle suggested a white peach drink for the book, I thought about it for two seconds before having one of these and becoming a convert. It took quite a lot of tasting to be sure the recipe was just right, though. Which was the end of a very nice afternoon in the shade. You could make a smaller amount, but it really is a bit of a party drink, even if you are drinking alone.

3 white peaches

150 ml (5 fl oz) peach schnapps, or similar

2 mint sprigs

750 ml bottle of prosecco, chilled

Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Cut into thin wedges.

Place the peaches in a large jug or decanter with the schnapps and mint.  

Allow to macerate for 30 minutes at least, in the fridge. Ideally, leave it for a few hours in the fridge, even up to overnight.

When you’re ready to drink, top up the jug with the prosecco, give the sangria a twizzle, and serve immediately in a medium glass, such as a tumbler.

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