Archive for category Salads

Chickpea, Tomato and Kale salad

I love chickpeas any which way, cooked in stews and curries, cold in salad, even sprouted. This salad happened one evening when I realised I had no pitta bread to go with the falafel we were having for dinner. The tomato salad I was making now needed substantiating as it was now going to be the only thing to be served alongside the falafel, especially if I was going to try to keep my husband happy. Somehow I felt just falafel and tomatoes would be too healthy and not enough for my hard-working man! The can of chickpeas I saw in the cupboard was the answer.  Happily we both liked this salad so much it has now replaced the pitta when we have falafel.

I admit the addition of kale goes in at the end only for me, that would be a healthy step too far for my green fearing husband! That is how I know that this salad also works with out the kale but it is better with it, my husband doesn’t know what he is missing! Spinach, if kale isn’t available, makes a good substitute.  Chickpeas are a good source of fibre,  low in fat and can help lower cholesterol levels so I’m so happy that my husband not only eats but likes this dish!

The tsp of chilli flakes make this fairly hot, use less if you don’t like so much heat.

Chickpea, Tomato and Kale Salad

Serves 2

  • 1 can Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, at room temperature, rinsed
  • 3 Spring onions (scallions), trimmed, rinsed and sliced into small rounds
  • 1 heaped tbsp Basil, rinsed and chopped finely
  • a handful of Kale, rinsed and chopped into small pieces
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Sea Salt to taste
  1. Cut each cherry tomato in half and add to a bowl along with the chickpeas.
  2. Add the spring onions, basil and the kale to the bowl.
  3. In a jug mix together the lemon , vinegar and olive oil until blended.
  4. Add the chilli flakes and salt, mix in and pour over the salad.
  5. Toss together and season more if necessary.

This stores really well in a Tupperware in the fridge and the recipe can be doubled to make a good make ahead lunch to take to work, the kale leaf is robust enough not to wilt too much, in fact some may prefer it a day or so after it has softened a little.

 

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Fresh Salsa

Cinco De Mayo (the 5th of May) doesn’t mean much in the UK, unless you are my cousin Celia whose birthday it is today! In America Cinco De Mayo is a holiday celebrating Mexican heritage. Growing up I remember doing the Mexican Hat Dance at school and looking forward to whacking the pinata at the end of the day, the eventual explosion of sweets/candy so exciting! We had tacos for dinner at home, it was a day of yummy food, like most celebrations!

As it is Cinco De Mayo today I thought it was the perfect day for a little salsa! This is just a few ingredients which quickly combine to make a salsa that will liven up anything from crisps to sandwiches or as a little spice on the side of your plate! Fresh salsa does not compare with the ready-made version in a jar, this will blow your taste bud socks off! It’s easily played around with if you want it hotter, milder, less onion. The olive oil isn’t essential, not traditional but, I think, adds a nice flavour and softens the sharpness of the lime and onion.

Salsa

  • 1 large beefsteak tomato (or 2-3 medium), chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped, seeds too if you dare
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Small handful of fresh Coriander, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Add all of the chopped ingredients to a bowl and gently stir to combine.
  2. Test for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

This will keep for several hours, covered in the fridge. It is best eaten on the day its made.

With the coriander used in this recipe in mind I am linking this with the Herbs on Saturday blog challengeon @KarenBurnsBooth blog Lavender and Lovage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guacamole

I’ve had a real Mexican theme going on with my cooking recently. The theme wasn’t planned but I went to Leith’s cookery school for a Mexican cooking class on Friday so I think subconsciously I’ve been in the mood for all things Mexican. I have memories of eating wonderful Mexican food while growing up in California, my father made the best tacos! While I was the happiest girl ever when “Old El Paso” came to the UK it’s the fresher, more authentic, less processed Mexican food I really want so I was really excited about the cookery class! We cooked some lovely things on Friday, one of the most impressive things was the whole box of ripe avocados they had! When do you ever see that here? I can hardly ever get avocados from the supermarket for use on the same day, I find markets better for having riper and cheaper avocados otherwise I have to be organised and buy them a few days before I need them. We made chilled avocado soup in the class, it was good but to be honest not really my thing also the lovely teacher did ask that her recipes not be published. So today I am writing my recipe for guacamole. I adore avocados, apparently I was weaned on them! Guacamole is one of my favourite ways to use them. It’s so easy to make your own, all you need is a chopping board, knife and a bowl! Chop everything, add to the bowl, mix and its done! If you have never made your own do try it, it’s so much fresher and nicer than ready-made guacamole. I use it in tacos, as a sandwich filling, as a healthy lunch with some chopped carrots and celery. Its delicious spread on crispy toast. As well as being delicious avocados are really good for you too they are a good source of potassium and folate as well as vitamin E. They apparently have anti cancer properties, can help lower your cholesterol as well as lowering the chance of strokes and heart disease.

Once the avocados are cut they do go brown, the lime juice in the recipe does help to prevent this. A long time ago I read that if you put the avocado stones back into to the guacamole when it’s prepared it wont go brown. I don’t know why but this really works so don’t throw away the stones, pop them into the guacamole when its done, cover with cling film/glad-wrap and it will happily stay in the fridge until you need it.

Guacamole

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, (red or green as you prefer), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • a small handful of coriander, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. Halve the avocados, reserving the stones. Scoop the avocado flesh from the skin with a spoon, put into a bowl and roughly smash with a fork. Do not puree the avocado you want some chunks and texture.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and give a quick stir to incorporate everything.
  3. If not using right away pop the stones into the guacamole and cover with cling film. Store in the fridge until needed.

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Chipotle Coleslaw

Coleslaw reminds me of summer, of barbecues and sunshine. As a child my favorite coleslaw was from Kentucky Fried Chicken, yes I grew up in those days where fast food was a regular part of our diet!  When I came to England one could get coleslaw but the disappointing overall taste was of mayonnaise. For years I didn’t eat it, before it occurred to me that I could make my own coleslaw! I tried lots of recipes and finally found one on the internet that replicated the KFC taste, it was good but a rather long-winded recipe and as the only coleslaw eater in the house, too much just for me. I recently had lunch in the Mexican restaurant,  Wahaca.  Alongside my meal was some coleslaw, well it was the best coleslaw I’d had for ages! It had the usual cabbage etc but had a spicy, smoky taste. I have no idea what was in it but a day later I was trying to make it for myself at home! Here is my version, it’s fairly hot, with only a little mayonnaise which is lighter on the calories. The taste I recognized in the Wahaca coleslaw was the hot and smoky chipotle.  I’m lucky enough to have some chipotle powder that I bought on holiday in Florida. In the UK you can get a chipotle paste made by Discovery. To get chipotle chilli powder you may have to shop online.

Using a food processor to slice the cabbage makes this come together really quickly. Although as its such a small amount it wouldn’t take very long to chop and grate by hand. A little red cabbage looks nice in this but for such a small portion I wouldn’t rush to buy 2 cabbages!

Chipotle Coleslaw (makes approx 3 servings)

  • 1/2 a small White cabbage,  thinly sliced
  • 1 Carrot, grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle powder (if using paste use 1 tsp) this is quite hot, you may prefer to add less to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Add the cabbage and carrot to a large bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and vinegar, stirring well to coat all of the vegetables.Add the chipotle, stirring well to combine.
  3. Add the Chipotle and salt, stirring well to combine.

Serve immediately or keep covered in the fridge, this will last for 2-3 days.

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Tomato salad

After a two week holiday of over eating unhealthy types of food I am in need of cleaning up my diet.  All good things must come to an end!  One of my favourite summer dishes is tomato salad. So easy, tasty and healthy. It goes with everything.

I first experienced tomato salad many years ago on a holiday to Greece. We were served the most delicious tomatoes and bread with every meal. This was back when mass-produced tomatoes in the UK had lost all flavour, thankfully, if you look carefully tomatoes have improved since then.  I asked in one of the tavernas how they made the salad and was surprised to find only 4 ingredients, yep just tomatoes, local olive oil, salt and local oregano. This was also back in the day when you could bring litres of olive oil home in your hand luggage, which of course I did! If  I can get it I like to use olive oil from the Kalamata region of Greece, its peppery taste takes me back to Stoupa every time!

I recommend having tomatoes at room temperature, the fridge kills their flavour!  Any tomatoes will work, large or cherry just choose the ripest/reddest you can find, the cost doesn’t matter as long as they are good and ripe. If the basics range in the supermarket look redder than the organic, best of range then get the cheap ones! Even expensive tomatoes can be duds!

Tomato salad for 2 (easily doubled)

Ingredients

  • 300 gram (11 oz) room temperature tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pinch dried oregano (Greek if you can get it)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes into large chunks or is using cherry tomatoes chop in half, add to your bowl.
  2. Pour over the olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, oregano and pepper.
  4. Stir gently and leave for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the flavours infuse. The salt will also draw the tomato juice out which is delicious for dipping bread into.

Serve with bread as a simple lunch or alongside grilled chicken or fish for a healthy main meal.

 

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