Published July 2018
The Scottish Car Show is on at Ingliston on 15th July. As the youngest of 8 children with four older brothers, cars were the constant chat. I’ve many many memories of bashed up cars thankfully no bashed up brothers. When one of my fathers Rovers arrived home at the end of a tow truck, my eldest brothers excuse was he didn’t see the bus! 50 years on and he’s still getting stick for that one.
Your early years form who you are as an adult. For me, I’m a pleaser. I love making the people I love happy. That constant cuddle or hug of reassurance when you did something good has made me try and work very hard in all I do to keep the people around me happy. It comes with pros and cons as you can imagine.
One of the pleasing tasks I set myself when I was about 5 was to save up to buy my brother (yes the one who was expert at everything, even crashing cars) a Ferrari. Yes the expectation was set high even from that early age. I may have got to a windscreen wiper by the age of 18 and decided there were other things more fun than saving for my sibling. I’ll never afford a Ferrari but the Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin of our Scottish larder has to be our Shellfish.
A meal of Lobster, Scallops or my favourite langoustine would give me far more thrills than any fast car. Growing up between two harbours shellfish was part of our diet particularly over the summer. I think it was my mother’s way of bribing us. A dozen langoustine (anyone brought up along the coast of Scotland would called them prawns) boiled and then deep fried in the chip shop was our weekly wages. Who needed money when you got fed like a queen. Deep fried prawns, proper scampi, are still my favourite food.
A few weeks ago dear Roy Bret of Ondine opened The Fish Market down on Newhaven Pier. The original Victorian fish market has been given a new lease of life and we’re all able to enjoy real scampi on the harbour. This will be a treat worth saving up for. Sorry Cesidio, the Ferrari fund has just crashed; crashed and fried and I’m loving it.
GRILLED LANGOUSTINE with GARLIC and CHILLI BUTTER
The Rolls Royce of shellfish has to be grilled langoustine. Elegance on the plate, a price tab to match and the taste that once you’ve tried you really don’t want to try anything else. Many believe deep frying them into scampi is a sacrilege, it’s also very difficult if you don’t have a chip shop fryer so this recipe is easier to manage at home. The little bit of chilli is like the ejector seat so feel free to leave it out if you feel safer.
4 – 6 large fresh langoustine per person
For the garlic butter
1 clove of garlic crushed or very finely chopped
1 dried chilli crushed with seeds removed
60 g of unsalted butter
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of salt
- Melt the butter with the garlic, chilli and lemon. Seeason. Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley
- To prepare the langoustine choose a chopping board and secure with a damp tea towel to stop it slipping. Place a langoustine belly down on the board and with a very sharp knife cut through the back of the prawn to make a butterfly shape. Remove the digestive cord and the head membrane. Rinse under cold water and place on a tray lined with kitchen towel. Continue until all the langoustine are cleaned.
- Transfer the prawns to a baking tray and brush generously with the melted butter.
- Grill until the meat has changed from translucent to white. Don’t over cook.
- Serve with a lovely fresh leaf salad, some new potatoes and a enjoy.
I love the taste of crisp slightly green tomatoes. The Italian variety is called Camone and they are grown in Scotland if you can get your hands on them. Any variety will do, but homegrown is of course the best.
2 small new-season courgettes
1 small fennel bulb
10 small slightly green,crisp tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, peeled,deseeded and thinly sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded andvery finely chopped
large handful of mint leaves
Handful of youR favourite seeds, I love sunflowers for summer
4 wedges of lime, to garnish
For the dressing
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g basil leaves
juice of 1 unwaxed lime
- Using a mandolin or the slicer on your grater, slice the courgettes and fennel onto a large serving platter.
- Scatter the tomato quarters and sliced cucumber on top.
- Scatter with the chilli and mint, seeds and season with a little salt.
- For the dressing, blend together in a jug the olive oil, basil, a little more salt and the lime juice. and drizzle over the salad.
- Serve with a wedge of lime.