I make no apologies for placing this, my latest paperback, alongside some summer fruits and geranium flowers, the colours look so good together.
The weather here, in the south of England, has been unbearably hot and, as such, neither husband nor I have felt particularly well. Not ill, but listless, hot, achy and, at times, even short of breath. And so we have taken things very easy, rested, and drunk water.
Here in the UK we used to think that ‘foreigners’ living in France, Spain, Italy, Greece and so forth, not to mention the West Indies and Africa, were just ‘lazy’ because they took long lunch breaks and rested for much of the afternoon – having a siesta – but as the song goes, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Now we have experienced some blisteringly hot weather, we know that it’s almost impossible to work in such heat unless a building is air conditioned. We don’t usually have air con in the UK; we usually require heating, not cooling!
And so, with such hot weather, and not requiring as much to eat as during cold weather, I have spent much of my time, either lying on one of the steamer chairs in the garden, in the shade of our walnut tree or, when the sun even creeps up the lawn making even the area under the tree too hot, lying on our bed in order to try and keep cool. And while I’ve been resting I have also been reading, and have been loving the novels of Nicky Pellegrino.
As I say, we’ve not wanted much to eat. Breakfast, both yesterday and today, was a bowl of porridge for husband (only a small bowl) and fruit for myself, followed by a croissant and apricot jam.
And today we enjoyed a salad for lunch. It’s lovely when Sunday lunch can be prepared in 20 minutes – just a few new potatoes to boil and serve with chopped fresh mint from the garden, and a lovely tomato salad (plus beetroot salad and coleslaw). We had slices of ham and salami, but only a small amount because, as I say, we don’t eat much this weather.
I love tomato salad, it’s so simple to make. I used two large vine tomatoes, half a small red onion, a couple of spring onions, and some small fresh basil leaves.
With a sharp knife I finely slice the tomatoes and the red onions, chop the spring onions, and place them in a dish. You can add cubes of Feta cheese if you wish. Then I add torn basil leaves, and a vinaigrette dressing. Mine is easy, I’ve mentioned it before … 3 parts cold pressed rapeseed oil (or quality olive oil) to 1 part white wine vinegar, a dollop of wholegrain mustard (I use French Maille mustard) and perhaps a little squeeze of runny honey and a little sea salt.
I put these ingredients into a small lidded jar, screw tight the lid and then give it a vigorous shake and that’s it, pour over the tomato salad. You can use lemon juice instead of white wine vinegar if you prefer, or leave out the mustard and add some chopped fresh herbs. I also then grind some black pepper over the salad. The mint in the photo was chopped and used over the new potatoes. This is an easy meal for a hot day.
Until next time.