20 JUNE 1992, Page 51

My royal scoop I

TODAY (20 June) is the Feast Day of Saint Alban. He is the protomartyr of Eng- land and should really be our patron saint. He was beheaded at Verulam, now St Albans, for the faith of Christ, under Dio- cletian, 286 AD. While yet a pagan, he gave hospitality to a priest, which was nice of him since the priest's life was in peril. His good deed was rewarded with the gift of faith so he offered himself to suffer death instead of the priest. Some centuries later, King Offa of Mercia founded the great abbey of St Albans, where the relics of the saint were enshrined. Nice, noble tale. It is also the day of the London Orato- ry's fête, running from 11.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. It is a very good fête with a licensed bar and lots of goodies, so bring the chil- dren (the garden is walled so they can't escape) and have an amusing day.

Instant success for my request for the receipt for the egg dish being searched for by Kenneth Wagg. Tom Price of Norfolk Place has provided the answer, and guess what, it is one of the Royal Family's stand- bys, so I expect they are having quite a lot of it at the present time to comfort them.

Drumldlbo eggs

lobster 41b of prawns 8 good tomatoes 8 hard-boiled eggs Fresh mayonnaise Tomato ketchup Tabasco 2 tablespoons of melted aspic

Cook the lobster and the prawns. When cooled, dice the flesh of the lobster and the prawns (if they are the large sort). Dip the tomatoes into boiling water, skin and de- seed them. Chop into dice and add to the fish. Remove the whites from two or three of the eggs, dice the rest of them and add to the mixture. Mix all the ingredients with sufficient mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and tabasco to be delicious and of a good con- sistency, season with a little salt if neces- sary. Melt the aspic in a little boiling water or white wine but do not let it boil. Mix into the lobster and eggs, making sure it is thoroughly distributed. Pour into a mould and chill until set. When ready turn it out and garnish. Serve for a first course, I sup- pose. I must say it is a good way to eke out the lobster, but it would take a royal chef to add ketchup to the sauce. As Tom Price remarks, 'It is rather like an upmarket prawn cocktail.' 1 think I would substitute tomato purée. I was delighted that Elisa- beth Luard won a Glenfiddich Award but horrified to realise that I had not seen her book, The Flavours of Andalucia. This has now been rectified and, as Spain is the flavour of the month, nay the year, here is a great dish from Cadiz.

Atun con pimenton (Fresh tuna with paprika) 2 lbs thick-cut fresh tuna steaks 4 large garlic cloves, skinned

1 teaspoon of sea salt 2 tablespoons of paprika 8 tablespoons of olive oil 2 tablespoons of sherry or wine vinegar 2 bay leaves 1 lemon, finely sliced

If you can't find fresh tuna make this dish with skate or monk-fish, but try for the tuna as it has a marvellous meaty quality.

Wipe the tuna steaks and lay them in a casserole. Crush the garlic with the salt and paprika. Mix in the olive oil and the sherry or vinegar (I would definitely go for the sherry). Pour the aromatic oil over the tuna steaks, tuck in the torn-up bay leaves and lay the paper-thin slices of lemon over the top. Put on the lid or cover with two layers of foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at Gas 7, 425F, 220C for 20 to 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through. You can cook it gently on top of the stove if you prefer, but make sure the casserole is flameproof. The pink fish coated with scar- let sauce and decorated with lemon makes a stunning dish. Serve it warm with quar- tered lemons, red peppers fried with oil and garlic, and a crisp green salad. Feeds six.

To continue the pink theme, have a refreshing watermelon to follow. For exam- ple, Sandia al ron (watermelon with rum).

Cut a neat round lid from the stalk end of a smallish watermelon. Scoop out all the flesh. Cut into chunks, discarding the seeds. Mix the flesh with a small glass of rum, 1 glass of sugar (about 6 oz) and the juice of a lemon. Return to the melon skin and replace the lid. Chill until really cold. Delightful, delicious, and d'Iovely.

If you are mad for Indian food go to the Indian Food Festival at the St James Court Hotel, Buckingham Gate. Excellent and cheap at £18.00 for the full menu.

Jennifer Paterson