SUMMER now flees from our grasp as fat fruits drop in the orchards. And, although memories of chilled white wine at beachside tavernas recede, this Seafood rice salad may keep the season alive for a little longer. Frozen cooked prawns are fine here; just defrost them in a sieve under a cold tap. Other seafood can also be added, to taste.
420g (1 lb) basmati rice
330g (11 oz) sweetcorn/2 small tins, drained
350g (12 oz) cooked, peeled prawns
6 seafood sticks, chopped
1 250ml jar seafood cocktail sauce
2 tablespoons chopped chives
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Place the rice in a large bowl or jug, and cover with water. Stir gently, drain, and repeat two or three times until the water is clear. Leave the rice soaking for 1 hour or overnight. Before cooking, drain and place in a saucepan with 1.25 l (1½ pt water. (This is the absorption method; so water is ×1.5 the amount of rice.) Bring it to a rolling boil and, after ten seconds, turn off the heat, place a napkin or tea towel over the top, and clamp the lid down. After 20 minutes it will have cooked, and will cool. Hard-boil the eggs, cool, then peel and chop.
When you’re ready to assemble the salad, put the rice into a bowl, and fork through. Tip in the sweetcorn, and stir through the prawns and seafood sticks. Mix in the egg chunks, pour over the cocktail sauce with the chives, lemon juice, olive oil, and paprika, and blend. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve, garnishing with lemon wedges and a twist of black pepper.
An old pudding has been appearing on numerous menus; in honour, here is a recipe for Lemon posset cream biscuits. If you feel adventurous, add a teaspoon of ground ginger or ground cardamon seeds with the lemon.
200g (7 oz) butter, softened
200g (7 oz) sugar
200g (7 oz) clotted cream
400g (14 oz) plain flour
200g (7 oz) cornflour
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas 2½. Blend the butter and sugar together, then, on a lower setting, mix in the cream. Grate in the lemon rind, add the juice, and mix together. Combine the flours with the salt, and, with a spoon, blend them through the butter in two batches. Once you get to a ball, cover with clingfilm and chill for an hour or so.
Roll the dough out to the thickness of a £1 coin, then use a pastry cutter and put each disc a reasonable space apart on lined baking sheets and dredge lightly with sugar. (You should have 40-plus biscuits.)
Bake for about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on them. The top will stay quite pale, and the underneath will colour golden brown — that is the sign for them to come out and be carefully lifted on to a cooling rack.