Tomatoes – Part 1

It’s not always possible to find a decent tomato in the north of Scotland. Even in the height of summer, homegrown ones can be insipid and have an odd chalky texture. And raw tomatoes are one thing I’m very fussy about. They have to be good or they have to be cooked.

There will be no turning my nose up at tomatoes this summer, however. There are beautiful, ripe, flavoursome specimens to be found everywhere and I’m eating them at most meals.

This was today’s breakfast.

The tomatoes need to be ripe, the olive oil needs to be good and the flavours need some time to fuse.

Chop or slice a handful of ripe tomatoes and place in a dish. Season with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Pour over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of cider vinegar. Stir and leave to sit for half an hour.

Toast a bagel (or other bready item) lightly. Use a spoon to gather up the tomato-infused oil at the bottom of the bowl and drizzle evenly over bagel. Top with the tomatoes, another sprinkling of seasoning and, if you fancy, some shaved Parmesan cheese.

Also good with balsamic vinegar rather than cider vinegar.

Handa Island

Handa Island is a nature reserve off the west coast of Scotland.  I’d never heard of it until this summer when I decided I wanted to see a puffin.  These beautiful wee birds tend to leave Scotland late July so at the beginning of August I knew there was a chance I’d be disappointed.  Half way round the island I’d accepted that puffin spotting would have to wait until next year – and then there he was.

We’ve been out and about in the Highlands this last month and it’s been rather spectacular.   First up was a walk up Meall a Bhuachaille (pronounced meal-a-bookle), a popular Corbett near Aviemore.

Click on the photos to see larger versions.  (Regular visitors – do you like this way of showing photos or prefer the standard one after another?)