I have lovely neighbours. They gave me four small lobsters yesterday. They had been cooked the night before just after being caught. We had lobster salad for tea last night, just the best. One lobster each. We are going to do the same tonight. It is one of those things where simple is best.
1 small to medium lobster per person, around half a kilo weight.
1 lemon, allow one decent wedge per person
Salad – include tomato, cucumber, lettuce. Optional extras include rocket, spinach leaves, celery, chives
Mayonnaise – this could be plain, or flavoured with lemon or tarragon.
If you are cooking the lobsters yourself, plunge them into boiling water, and simmer for around 10 minutes. Drain them, and when you can handle it, remove the heads so they drain and cool faster. Keep the claws and discard the heads. Once cool, pop them in the fridge.
I serve the lobster in a bowl on the table, with a plated salad, mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon for each person. I also like a slice of brown buttered toast with this.
If you have people who can’t sort out a lobster, I remove the meat from the tail and claws, chop it into pieces around 1 cm cubed and stir in a good squeeze of lemon. I then mix this with the mayonnaise. Sometimes a little chopped celery or chopped chives can be added at this stage. The resulting mixture can then be served on a bed of lettuce, rocket, tomato and cucumber, with a side serving of hot buttered brown toast.
This year has been a good year for me growing beetroot and carrots, so I made this salad. I think you could also add other root vegetables, for example celeriac. I also thought about adding pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch.
Around 600g of root vegetables, for example carrots and beetroot
1 red onion or 2 shallots
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
mixture of chopped herbs – parsley, mint, coriander leaves
1/2 tsp salt
Peel and grate the vegetables on a coarse setting, and mix in a bowl
Finely chop the onion, and mix them with the grated vegetables
Toast the cumin seeds for about a minute and add to the vegetables
Chop the herbs and add them to the vegetables
Mix the salt, olive oil, lemon juice and pour over the vegetables. Let the mixture sit for around half an hour before serving.
It’s courgette season. I love raw courgette, so crunchy. I love it sliced into long strips and grilled, with lemon dressing. I love this salad, from Madhur Jaffrey. It is really easy and quick.
2 courgettes, around 350 to 400g
3/4 tsp salt
1 red onion
350ml plain yoghurt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste and garnish.
Use a food processor to grate the courgette coarsely. Put the grated courgette onto a tea towel in a heap and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt.
Peel the onion, halve it and then slice thinly across the way.
Beat the yoghurt in a bowl and add 1/4 tsp salt, a pinch of cayenne and a grate of black pepper
Wrap the tea towel around the grated courgette and wring out any excess water. Use your fingers to separate any clumps.
Heat the oil in a pan, and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds start to pop, add the onion, and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the dried courgette, and fry for another three minutes or so. When it is done, turn the heat off and let it cool a bit, before stirring it into the yoghurt. Decant to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
This can be served as a side dish with just about anything. It is as good cold from the fridge as it is warm.
This looks so beautiful, adding flowers to salad, and the extra flavour that they bring just lifts the whole thing. I usually make a basic Greek-style salad and layer the flowers on top. The ingredients depend on what is available. I add the ingredients in layers, only mixing together when serving.
This is my version of a greek salad, it is quick to make and one of my favourites. I don’t usually refer to a recipe, so it is probably not that authentic. It has a lot in common with the Persian summer salad.
Half a cucumber
About the same weight of cherry tomatoes
About four or five spring onions
A small little gem lettuce
50g feta cheese
Oregano or chive flowers
Salt and pepper
Line a large salad bowl with lettuce leaves
Dice the cucumber, chop the onions, cut up the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, in layers with the tomatoes on the top.
Add the olives and crumbled cheese, and garnish with herbs.
Just before serving, season and add a drizzle of olive oil.
I’ve been eating a lot of salad this summer, this is a good one to serve with some of the other dishes that I’ve posted this year. It is from Nightingales and Roses by Maryann Sinaiee. I have adapted it a bit, because we don’t get a lot of pomegranates on South Uist, but you can add these for an extra burst of colour and flavour.
Half a long cucumber
About the same weight in cherry tomatoes
About the same weight in spring onions
A couple of sprigs of fresh mint
A good squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Peel the cucumber and dice
Cut the tomatoes into 8 (half, half and half again)
Chop the spring onions into small circles
Chop the mint finely
Mix the chopped ingredients.
Just before serving, mix in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cooking quickly to avoid being inside when the weather is good. I combined a 400g bag of new potatoes, boiled in their skins and chopped, with a bag of beans from East camp, cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water. I added some chopped dill, spring onions and mayonnaise.
Some of you will know that I spent some time living in Teheran when I was a child. Zara used to work for our family as a housekeeper, and she used to cook wonderful Persian home-cooking for us. Our favourite was a dish called Loubia Pollow, made with rice, beans, tomatoes and lamb. We also used to eat the most delicious barbari bread and thick plain yoghurt sold in blue earthenware bowls.
I have sought to recreate the flavours of the food we ate there, and have never managed to get it quite right. Persian food is very complex and sophisticated, from ancient civilisations, combining the herbs and spices of east and west.
There are a few sites online where you can look up Persian recipes, but the flavours and end-results are unfamiliar to most. I have one recipe book, A Taste of Persia which is aimed at the US market, and has all the ingredients in cups. I’ve been working my way through the recipes and re-jigging them to suit local ingredients and UK directions.
1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1 500g tub of full-fat plain Greek Yoghurt
A bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill or fennel leaf, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp dried tarragon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Garnish of fresh mint, rose petals, dill leaf, chive flowers, chopped walnuts, chopped radishes etcetera
Combine all the ingredients, mix well and adjust the seasoning.
Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, and up to four hours before serving. Take out of the fridge ten minutes before serving and garnish.