We drove back down to London via Northallerton, county town of North Yorkshire, birthplace of John Radcliffe, historic coaching town dating from the Roman times, site of the Battle of the Standard, and our family home from 10th August, 1966 till March 1996. Tom wanted me to take Daisy on a tour of the great metropolis so I happily showed her 11 Mowbray Road (where we lived). We paused outside and I was busy pointing out which window belonged to which bedroom when I noticed the owner looking out of the window and so felt obliged to drive on. We passed 17 Mowbray Road (where Gran and Pop lived after they moved down from Kirkcaldy), and went up to see where Nicky (my closest fried) and her family had lived. Inevitably we drove past The Wall. Now I know that all of you boys know about The Wall but it has been mocked so much that I have to explain. When Nicky and I walked home from school we reached a certain point where she turned right and I walked on. We always had so much to discuss that it was hard to say goodbye. So we got in the habit of sitting on The Wall and talking, until one of us looked at our watch and then we rushed home. The Wall is significant not because it’s a magnificent piece of masonry but because it was about our friendship. Anyway, I know The Wall is smaller than any of you thought it would be, but as Nicky says, she’s only 5′ 1″ tall so it really couldn’t be that big!
We drove past the Grammar School, saw the prison (which is going to be closed and no doubt the site will be redeveloped), and drove along the High Street. We saw the Durham Ox (where I worked), the entrance to Romanby Court (where I worked), the shops (Daisy was impressed), the Town Hall (where I saw the Bay City Rollers for 70p) and parked the car so that we could go into Lewis and Cooper. Lewis and Cooper is a wonderful grocers shop. It has fantastic meats, cheeses and a superb wine section. We bought various types of pork pie and some real Yorkshire smoked back bacon for me. Yummmmmm!!! We nipped into Betty’s so that I could buy a Fat Rascal, The Betty’s recipe is of course a secret, but I have found this online together with some information about their history. Fat Rascals. I haven’t been to Northallerton for a few years and I was surprised at how prosperous it was looking. There didn’t seem to be as many banks and building societies on the High Street, and for once I didn’t look around and think how small everything was. It was really nice to be there again. We met Nicky and Izzy for lunch and talked for two hours – it was lovely. From Northallerton we went to Ainderby Steeple for a cup of tea and scones with more friends before wending our way back south. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed being in Yorkshire.
So to today’s recipe. Well it has nothing to do with Yorkshire except that Daisy and I were discussing it during the drive. One of the few things Dad doesn’t like is tinned fish – tuna or salmon – but I like Salade Nicoise, traditionally made with tinned tuna. Some years ago, I substituted fresh salmon for tuna and it was a hit with Dad. Since then we have made it with fresh tuna which was even more of a hit with Dad ….. until he gave up carbs. It’s simple, healthy and tasty – perfect.
Salade Nicoise – Ingredients
- 450 g / 1 lb cooked fresh tuna or fresh salmon, cooked as you like, or two tins of good quality tuna. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
- 225 g / 1/2 lb new potatoes, cooked and cut into bit sized pieces
- 12 cherry tomatoes – traditionally this should be large tomatoes quartered but I yuck raw tomatoes so this is how I co-exist with them
- 115 g / 4 oz French beans, topped, tailed, cooked and drained
- 2 Little Gem lettuces, separated into component leaves and washed and drained
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 12 black olives
- 1 tin anchovies, drained
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp wine vinegar, preferably red
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
Put the lettuce leaves in a nice shallow bowl. Add lettuce, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, salmon/tuna, anchovies, eggs and olives. Make it look pretty and then drizzle the dressing over the top.