Full on Feta Salad

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This can be a meal in itself – great for lunch or supper – but I had it last night with lamb chops pan fried with garlic, lemon and parsley.

INGREDIENTS

Salad leaves of your choice

6 baby plum tomatoes halved

1 block of feta rinsed and cut into cubes

12 black olives halved

Half a pointed red pepper thinly sliced

1 stick of celery thinly sliced

3 radishes thinly sliced

Handful of fresh coriander chopped- you could use mint instead

FOR THE DRESSING

6 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

Pinch of sugar

Dash of salt

Grind or two of black pepper

METHOD

  1. Make the dressing by whacking the ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Toss all the there ingredients together in a large salad bowl.
  3. Just before serving , which the dressing once more and pour over the salad. 

Get a fork and tuck in!

 

 

Zucchine, limone e fagoli

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Courgette ribbons with cannellini beans and a lemon dressing

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One here for a friend of mine, Annie Mihell. Saw this recipe, made it for lunch and thought she would love it – so let’s see!

For 4

4 courgettes

1 lemon

400 gm tin of cannellini beans

Some chopped chives

A handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and black pepper

2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Slice the courgettes thinly lengthways using a swivel blade peeler. Avoid the centre of the courgettes as they are quite bitter for a dish like this. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the strips for 1 minute, then drain well. Pop into a large salad bowl.

Grate over the zest of half the lemon and squeeze in the juice of the whole lemon. Add the beans, chives and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the oil and mix well. Leave to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

Serve at room temperature with crusty bread. Summer squeezed and sliced for a salad!

Lentil Bolognaise

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Lentil Bolognaise

It was Nigel Slater’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to cook one of his newer dishes to mark the occasion. His writing, his cookery programmes and his approach to all things food is so encouraging and inspiring to writers like myself. The way he creates dishes like this one has given me so much confidence in creating my own recipes.

Hey, ok, enough of the eulogising!

This is a really tasty dish and a fab way to eat lentils.

For 4

2 carrots finely diced
1 onion finely sliced
3 tbsps of olive oil
230 gm Puy lentils (or any green ones will do if you cannot get Puy)
1 litre of chicken stock or veg stock
400 gm pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
2 tbsps crème fraîche
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50 gm lardons – you could leave these out if you wish – esp. vegetarians!

Heat the oil in a pan – I used a non stick wok – and fry the onion and carrot until both are soft and the carrot lightly browned.

Rinse the lentils then add to the pan. Stir and add the stock

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Lower the heat and simmer for around 35 – 40 minute until the lentils are just soft. Season with a little salt. Cook the pasta. Whilst this is happening remove half the lentil mixture, including liquid and add to a blender. Blizt to a puree. Return it to the pan. Stir it in along with the crème fraîche and the balsamic vinegar. I then pan fried the lardons separately and added them also.

This is a really cheap and satisfying dish. It tastes, as Nigel Slater says, wonderfully ‘earthy’ and I cannot tell you how amazing the flavour is considering how basic the ingredients are – it is a marvellous example of the the alchemy of food!

Please, please make this!

Salmonchanted Sunday…!

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Salmonchanted Sunday...!

I think I may have used that gag before but hey…I’m only human. This is nothing special as such – in so far as it is ridiculously easy to compile but, my wordy word, it is stomach-fillingly marvellous and toothsome in the extreme. I was cognisant of the fact that we had not consumed much fish of late, so, today was the day to put that right in a very easy way. I already have two ham hocks simmering away for tonight’s supper – more of which later – I can smell them from where I sit in front of my log burner and goodness me do they smell fabulous. Anyway, back to lunch, I chopped up 4 freshly cooked and cooled beetroot and added two or three splashes of a French shop bought vinaigrette as I was desperate to eat! The French ones are always so much better than anything one can buy here. (I love making my own but I was on a mission to eat asap)

In a dish I broke up three hot smoked fillets of salmon and added my own mesclun – mizuna, rocket (arugula), endive. Then a swirl of lemon balsamic creme to round off. A poppy seed baguette from our bakers and a few baby plum toms and hey billy whizz…lunch!

Food need not be complicated or expensive – just good quality ingredients and an eye to keep it simple.

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Beanz do not have to mean Heinz!

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Beanz do not have to mean Heinz!

This is a recipe I first came across in Tuscany, though I have had similar hearty soups in Rome and Sicily. Nonetheless, it is redolent of all that is fabulous about the Mediterranean and its warmth permeates every mouthful. Close your eyes and you will be sitting by the sea sensing the magic of the Med through every pore.

And it is, as ever, so simple. Why oh why does anyone ever contemplate buying a tinned soup? I am at a loss for an answer. Speed? Cost? Certainly not flavour.

Anyway, here we go. Do this one. Please.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick chopped
1 onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 litre of chicken or veg stock
400 gm can of cannellini beans drained
400 gm can of borlotti beans drained
Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
8 rashers of prosciutto – or you could, at a pinch, use streaky smoked bacon
4 good Sicilian sausages – or, frankly, any top quality bangers with flavour

Heat the oil in a large casserole pan or stock pot. Add the vegetables and a little rock salt and black pepper. Cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the stock, beans, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for another ten minutes.

Lift out the herbs with a slotted spoon. Bin. Use a stick blender and whizz to a rough chunky but creamy texture.

Cook the sausages how ever which way you fancy – grilling possibly best for this recipe. Allow to cool a tad, then slice each sausage into 4 or 5 pieces.

Add to the soup, and pan fry gently the prosciutto until crispy. Add a rasher or two to each bowl. Serve this dish of the Gods with crusty bread and a good hearty glass of pinotage or other suitable firm red. The sausages are not necessary but make it a real tummy rumbler of a meal. 

Enjoy with or without the sausage…but be bold.

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