THERE’S a lot of watermelon in the shops at the moment so I’ve been keeping a good stock of it at home and in the restaurant for when I feel like a tasty snack.

I always forget how refreshing and delicious watermelon is, and it always tastes so good on a hot and sunny day. Made up of approximately 92 per cent water it’s easy to see why it’s so popular in hot countries. What’s more, the fruit contains high levels of vitamins A, B6 and C and serves as a valuable source of potassium and lycopene – so enjoy it with wild abandon like me!

Watermelon cultivation favours hot, sunny weather so, needless to say, you’ll find it difficult to find a home-grown variety. China is currently the world’s top producer, however, watermelons are imported from numerous places around the world and for this reason are available year-round. It never tastes quite as good on a gloomy day in winter though!

I had a box-full of watermelons at the restaurant this week so I got thinking about how I could incorporate the fruit into our summer menu.

Watermelon is a great addition to salads and pairs well with salty foods like Feta cheese and Parma ham. It’s also great in fresh smoothies and juices, can be added to cocktails and can even turned into wine!

But, did you know that the watermelon rind and seeds are also edible? Although not generally consumed in Britain, pickled watermelon rind is popular in parts of the US and roasted watermelon seeds are a favourite in China.

For the perfect refreshing summer dessert try my watermelon and strawberry jelly, which is great for parties and loved by adults and kids alike.

The addition of fresh mint and lime juice gives it that extra special zing and makes it a really sophisticated treat. Serve with some fresh berries and a glass of fizz and sit back and enjoy the sunshine!

Watermelon & Strawberry Jelly

(makes 4 jellies)

Half a watermelon

100g strawberries, hulled

200g caster sugar

4 gelatine leaves

Juice of half a lime

Handful fresh mint leaves

Cut the watermelon into small chunks and remove the rind. Slice the strawberries in half. Blitz the fruit in a food processor and blend together to create a smooth puree.

Pass the puree through a fine sieve to remove any pulp and seeds and pour into a saucepan.

Add the sugar and mint and gently heat the mixture for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves, maintaining a low temperate throughout to ensure it doesn’t boil.

Remove from the heat and discard the mint leaves before adding the lime juice.

Prepare the gelatine leaves according to the instructions on the packet and add to the fruit mixture. Stir well so that the gelatine is thoroughly mixed in.

Pour into four glasses then place in the fridge overnight to set. Serve straight from the fridge with some fresh fruit.