Clarence likes to cook.
He has thousands of recipes stored on his computer.
He used to pick fresh ingredients from the garden and the greenhouse at the cottage he shared with his Mum.
Now she’s gone and he’s moved into Samantha’s apartment he uses the supermarket for ingredients instead.
This is one of Clarence’s favourite recipes which he’s just added to his database.
Summer salmon salad
275g small tomatoes (Home grown are the best)
1 tbsp of olive oil
I crushed garlic clove, two if you’re feeling adventurous
I whole bunch of spring onions
250g of puy lentils (You can buy these in packets ready cooked from the Tesco Express across the road)
I tbsp of red wine vinegar
A handful of rosemary picked from next to the strawberry beds high up where the cat can’t get to it
A twist of thyme from the trough outside the kitchen window
One small chilli pulled from the plant on the coffee table
Or all/any of the above bought from the shop
70g of rocket or spinach leaves
2 salmon fillets already cooked and chilled (Tesco’s do these too)
1. The Aga needs to be hot. If you don’t have an Aga and live in on the 14th floor of a building instead where you can’t have one because it would fall through the ceiling apparently then preheat the oven to 180c or gas mark 4. Cut the tomatoes in half and put them onto a baking tray with some of the herbs sprinkled over the top. Cook for about 20 minutes. Long enough for a medium sized cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit. Take them out of the oven and let them cool down for a while.
2. Heat the oil in a big well sealed frying pan or one of Samantha’s fancy copper pots which are very heavy to lift up, difficult to clean and which you can’t get a proper stir going in. Put the garlic in and after a minute or so add the spring onions. Cook and stir as best you can for 1 to 2 minutes until they brown a little and then add the cooked lentils and fry for about 5 minutes until they’re heated through. The smell is lovely and woody. Like having a fire at the end of the cottage garden at sunset. Take them off the heat and let them relax for a bit. Its important that humans do that too sometimes they say. Don’t they?
3. Go back to the pan which is now cooler, not cold, but warmish. Now add the oven-roasted tomatoes and the red wine vinegar and mix together gently. Then put the green leaves in and stir them a little too, gently. Spoon into bowls which you’ve warmed in the Aga- no the microwave, you can heat them in the microwave- and serve with the salmon fillet on the top and the rest of the herbs. You can eat it at the dining table with someone you love. Or you can eat it on your own at the breakfast bar looking out over the city. It tastes the same in both places. It just feels different. Emptier.