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Nectarines, peaches and apricots are all at their juiciest

These fragrant fruits with soft flesh centred on a single, almond-shaped stone all have their own appeal. In recipes, peaches and nectarines are largely interchangeable. Both are natural partners to raspberries, and work equally well in a savoury context: with air-dried ham and mozzarella, for instance. Apricots  retain a vivid sharpness when ripe, giving balance to creamy puddings, sweet cakes and meringues. They add brightness to grain salads and are a refreshing peach substitute in a bellini. And, of course, they make great jam. 


It's time to revel in the flavours of a Mediterranean summer 

Aubergines are a sponge for all kinds of flavours, whether the tomato and cheese of Italy’s melanzane parmigiana, the smoky dip of Middle Eastern baba ganoush or the curries of Asia. Courgettes are wonderful raw, with citrus, garlic and herb dressings, as well as grilled and bathed in salsa verde, fried as chips or mixed with sharp cheese to fill tarts and omelettes. And then there are peppers, their fruity flavour like chillies without the heat. Grilled and peeled, they need little more than olive oil, garlic, salt and a splash of acidity.

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