Summertime recipes - Annie Stirk's recipes

Some of the top spots in the country for perfect alfresco dining are found in Yorkshire. Take your pick of the beach, a grassy meadow, the moors, the Yorkshire Dales or even the grounds of a stately home - as we did for a fabulous summer picnic.

We set out our delicious food and drink at Sutton Park, an 18th century manor house with award winning gardens just outside York and home to Sir Reginald and Lady Sheffield. And with such a perfect backdrop we just couldn't resist cracking open the champagne.

Danny Cameron, wine consultant to Lewis & Cooper recommended Blanquette de Limoux - France's oldest real fizz. The Princesse Aimery comes from a highly respected producer, and many of the world's top wine writers have formed an orderly queue to sing its praises, citing it as far superior to many things bearing the magic champagne word. It's great for a picnic, tastes utterly delicious and will happily match up with almost any dish you put in your hamper.

So choose your favourite picnic spot, spread out the rug and make the most of these lazy, hazy summer days.


This is perfect picnic food for a hot summer's day. If you keep the melons chilled until the last minute, they will be deliciously thirst quenching. Knives and forks are not needed; just make sure you have plenty of napkins at the ready.

Serves 6

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2 ripe melons, use contrasting colours if possible i.e. Ogen, Charentais or Honeydew

16 slices of prosciutto

A good handful of rocket salad leaves

75g pecorino cheese

Olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper



Cut the melons in half, remove and discard the seeds and then slice each melon into 8 or 10 pieces. With a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin from each slice.


Arrange the contrasting colours of melon on a serving platter. Carefully peel off the slices of prosciutto from the pack and gently arrange in random 'curls' over the melon.


Scatter the melon slices with rocket leaves.


Using a potato peeler, shave the pecorino cheese over the salad.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper before serving.