Lobster and apple salad with dill mayonnaise

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It’s a very special day at church tomorrow as a couple of our younger congregation members have decided to declare their faith to the world and be baptised! After the service the celebrations will continue with a Jacob’s Join (or potluck to my American friends) lunch. To me nothing screams celebration food more than lobster, and thanks to my lovely Daddy who brings me a steady supply of his home caught Pembrokeshire lobsters, I was able to¬† dig a few out if the freezer ready to adorn with some simple, but scrumptious ingredients.

Firstly, I made a simple mayo using three egg yolks, half a teaspoon of mustard, some cold pressed rapeseed oil, and some good old vegetable oil (which also happens to be rapeseed, it’s just more heavily processed than the cold pressed stuff), white wine vinegar and lemon juice. I’m afraid I can’t really give you quantities as I made it by sight, taste and texture, but there are plenty of recipes on the Internet should you prefer. The basic method is whisking the yolks and mustard together, then adding in oil (very very slowly initially to avoid splitting) until a very thick consistency is reached, before adding the vinegar and lemon juice.

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Once you’re happy with your basic mayo you can start adding flavourings of your choice. I used garlic, salt, pepper and a large handful of freshly chopped dill.

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Delicious! This will keep in the fridge for about a week, although it’s so good I doubt it’d last that long!

Now that the dressing is made, it’s time to remove the meat from the lobsters and start to assemble.

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This is a rather messy job, but well worth it. Break the claws off the body and remove the head from the tail. Cut down the underside of the tail with sharp scissors and remove the meat in one piece by gently pulling it out. Score down the top of the meat and open to reveal the vein. Remove the vein and any rowe which may be in there and chop into small chunks. Set aside.

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Now to the claws. One at a time cover the claw with a clean tea towel to prevent splattering, and gently tap with a hammer to crack. If you’re careful it possible to remove the claw meat in one piece like this:

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Don’t worry if it breaks up though, it’ll just mean you might need to use a skewer to pick the meat out of the ends of the claw. Inside the claw meat is a flat oval bone, remove this whilst breaking the meat up into smaller chunks.

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Now, if you can be bothered you can squeeze meat out of the legs, however this is a tedious task and not one that I had time for today unfortunately. You’ll be left with all the shell and the heads which would make an incredible stock for a bisque or soup, but again, time didn’t permit it today, so the chickens feasted on lobster heads instead and I’m sure they’ll be eternally grateful!

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A little treat to cheer up our very soggy hens on this miserable British day!

Now wash a crisp Granny Smith apple and cut into short matchsticks. Put in a bowl with the chopped up lobster and dollop on a couple of spoonfuls of the dill mayo.

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Combine well and taste. Mine was lacking acidity so I spiked it with more lemon juice.

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I piled the salad into little gem lettuce cups to make them easy to pick up and eat in a couple of mouthfuls, sprinkled over some more chopped dill and served. Delicious!

Monkfish with black olive tapanade

I picked up a couple of monkfish fillets the other day and wanted to try something a bit different with them…cue Jamie Oliver’s Monkfish with Black Olive Sauce.
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It’s an easy to follow recipe, using ingredients we usually have in anyway. He suggests pairing it with lemon mash, but I fancied something lighter so went for roasted mini hasselback potatoes with wild garlic butter, and did a simple salad using rocket, lettuce and baby chard from the garden, dressed with some of the excess juices from the olive sauce.
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It was delicious. Phoebe thought so too!
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Enjoy.

Sack off the sarnie

I love a good sandwich (or sarnie as us Brits like to call them), as much as the next person, but I don’t, and quite frankly wouldn’t like to have to, eat them on a daily basis. My lunchtime repertoire generally includes homemade soups, fresh eggs from the farm down the lane, or an interesting salad. However, lately I can’t seem to get enough of these little beauties…
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Rice rolls stuffed with salad, prawns and hot sauce. Traditionally there would be rice noodles in there as well, but for the carb conscious there’s no reason why they can’t be omitted.

The variations of what you fill them with is endless. Shredded chicken, pork, tofu, fish, avocado, chillis, raw crunchy veg, salad. The choice is yours. I would always suggest having a couple of aromatic herbs in there to give them a real flavour boost. I generally use fresh mint and coriander.

This time I used shredded crunchy romane lettuce, mixed salad leaves, sliced spring onions, coriander, mint and prawns.
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In this house we’re also big fans of this Itsu hot sauce…. Delicious!
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I get my spring roll wrappers from our local Asian supermarket. They only require dunking in hot water for a couple of seconds then they’re ready to roll!
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Start layering up the filing along one side of the rice roll.
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When you’re happy with your fillings roll up tightly, tucking the ends in as you go.
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There you go! Easy as a sandwich but way more interesting! Depending on your appetite I’d recommend three as a lunch portion. Enjoy!