Summer holidays in my grandmother’s house. Sunshine and light, butterflies and flowers, fresh sweet strawberries and endless fun.
My cousin and I were playing in the garden. My grandmother has just put buckets of water in the heat of the sun to get warm for our afternoon swimming pool play. I do not remember how the idea came along, but suddenly we had decided to make lunch for ourselves. Two years older than me, at seven my long, golden haired cousin with beautiful blue eyes full of mischeif, was the centre of my world. I still remember watching with fascination her leading the way to the open area kitchen, washing the vegetables and instructing me gently how a salad was being made. “She could already cook…!” was my only taught. After chopping the vegetables, she made the sunflower oil and vinegar dressing, first tasting then adding the salt. Satisfied, we sat in the shade, balancing the plate on our feet and using two forks we dipped bread into the salad dressing already rich in flavour absorbing all the juices of the the fresh garden picked ripe tomatoes and we ate.
Thirty years later and I still remember the taste.
Thirty years later and I close my eyes and still see the sun-shade veranda and the vibrant salad colours of reds and greens.
To make a good mediterranean salad these days, I start by choosing fresh ingredients from the market. For today’s salad I am using grilled red paprika, cucumber, feta and three varieties of cheery tomatoes: yellow, red and purple. The red tomatoes hint of freshness and acidity, the yellow are full of generous sweetness and the purple add a special depth of flavour. Mixed all together they are transformed into the most magical salad you will ever try.