A couple of weeks ago or so our builders packed up their tools and headed east for the last time. They haven’t been any trouble but, as they predicted, we were happy to see them arrive on Day 1 and more than happy to wave them farewell. We vacuumed and scrubbed the floors, paintwork and furniture to within an inch of its life then within 24 hours it was almost back to square one. The project had reached the decorating phase so over to us – or should I say, the man of the house.
The shower area was off limits for a day whilst the caulk (beloved of builders and other tradesmen) cured after which, to a virtual drum roll we pressed all appropriate buttons and… received a distinctly, lukewarm shower. Even in above average temperatures it was not a welcome experience. To cut a long story short, after a few days delay Mum was very pleased to take possession of a fully functioning shower room.
Meanwhile, despite the weather returning to more normal British summer conditions (with a little welcome rain and more moderate temperatures), I continue on my quest for interesting salads. The first, Leon’s sausage ditalini, named for its diddy finger sized rigged pasta which I discovered in Waitrose. The sausages were cooked in advance and cold and the whole thing came together very nicely with honey and mustard dressing and crisp butter-fried sage leaves.
The next salad (also Leon) which also provided us with a picnic lunch the following day was fabulous. It comprised, amongst other ingredients raw grated beetroot in an orange and caraway dressing, freekeh (similar but tastier than bulgar wheat) and hot smoked salmon. Eric scored both salads 8/10 and agreed that the robust flavours of the latter would support the much cheaper smoked mackerel very well.
An observation. On my quest to discover delicious new salad combinations, I’ve noted that Yotam Ottolenghi is not exclusively responsible for long lists of ingredients (previous post). Clearly it’s an advantage to have a well stocked store cupboard and herb garden, but in my view, the resulting textures and flavours of these dishes are unquestionably worth the extra effort.
Postscript – a baked potato with grated cheese and regular English salad ingredients still has its place – just not on Eric’s plate!