Yesterday, on the summer solstice, we were informed by the Met Office that we’re experiencing the hottest June since 1976. We awoke this morning to grey skies, a middling breeze, and a temperature of 18ºC. Compared to the recent heatwave with temperatures of 30ºC+, believe me that’s more than acceptable.
We have 3x 3metre skylights in our south facing kitchen and I’ve been reluctant to use the blinds with so much brick dust about. As a consequence, the work surfaces have been red hot and it’s been as much as we can do to prepare our early breakfast – eaten outside, and our a snack lunch. Eric, lover of the cheese sandwich has been lucky to get it without the bread drying out in the process.
Inspired (although in truth it’s been too hot for inspiration) by the heatwave, I’ve been on a mission find tempting salads for my darling non-salad-eater husband. He’s never going to be a convert to the humble British lettuce, cucumber and insipid tomato version as he’s a fresh tomato and cucumber hater. But nowadays salads are so much more exciting and as much as I adore an Ottolenghi creation, he does tend to use a week’s shopping list of ingredients which I find a little off-putting especially when I want to put something together quickly.
This week I’ve turned more than once to a favourite cookbook of mine – Diana Henry’s Cook Simple. I LOVE that book! I can recommend the, middle eastern influenced warm chicken, roast pepper, chickpea and preserved lemon salad on P103 and the hot roast salmon, bacon and potato with buttermilk dressing on P102. I’ve also invested in my first cookbook in the Leon series – Happy Salads – and can’t wait to try out the recipes.
Perhaps it won’t be too long before we can enjoy some of our very own tomatoes which are ripening beautifully in the mid-summer sunshine.