No, the Husband and I aren’t sitting by sea, in hot sunshine, nibbling on tapas and sipping wine, thinking “Shall I have a swim before a snooze – or after?” We wish! We are, however, thinking of it and when to go and how to get there whilst we look out of the windows at another wet, drizzly day (dreich, as is said in Scotland). This got me thinking of glorious summer food, salad and tapas, all the lovely nibbly bits you can be served with in any of the Mediterranean countries. And this led me to thinking that, sometimes, when you are on your own, cooking a big meal for one is just a complete faff, if you are not in the mood – and tapas could be the answer! Make a couple of the recipes below, add some olives, some parma ham and salami, a glass of wine and pull up a chair (back to the window so you can’t see out!) and imagine the sea lapping, sand in your toes, soft guitar serenading . . . you’re there, aren’t you?
First make some Labna – put a piece of muslin (or thin old teatowel) over a bowl and secure with an elastic band. Add 2 cups of greek yogurt and leave to drip through overnight. You will be left with half the quantity and a little ball of white yogurt cheese. You can mould it into little balls and leave them to dry out for 48 hours in the fridge then serve with a drizzle olive oil combined with some harissa (buy it in a jar found with the spices in the supermarket). Or you can make it into some interesting dips to serve with pitta bread, toast fingers or tortilla chips:
a) beat with crushed garlic (to taste), some finely chopped mint and a drizzle of olive oil b) beat with crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon harissa and finely chopped coriander and serve in a bowl with salt and pepper and a drizzle of honey c) beat with crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, salt and pepper. Fold in finely chopped dried apricots and sprinkle with ground pistachios to serve
Grissini (thin breadsticks) wrapped in smoked salmon – mix 50g cream cheese with chopped dill and lemon zest and season. Spread some of the mixture onto 3/4 of the length of each stick and wrap thin strips of smoked salmon
Garlic prawns. Preheat oven to 250oC. Combine 40g melted butter and 3 fl oz olive oil and put into an ovenproof pot. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic. Put in the oven for 10mins until mixture is bubbling. Add (however many you can eat!) raw prawns and another garlic clove and return to the oven till cooked. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices!