Recipes - Salads

This page will introduce you to some of my traditional recipes I have been lucky enough to sample on my travels.  Some old family recipes, some new, and some traditional meals TWISTED to suit new styles, dietary issues and sometime religious concerns.  It will be said that there are times when something should be left as it is, and in my view I would agree, but there are those can work well with some imagination and a little bravery.  Cooking is all about having fun, and twisting can be just that.  If your not successful the first time, try again, but you may just amaze yourself whilst trying something new. 

Lifestyles change,  and time is something many of us feel is far too short, so for some cooking is simply a challenge.  I m hoping that some of these ideas may just inspire and help those that just cant boil an egg! Even that can be fun. I m not big on measuring as I truly believe taste is everything.   So lets begin. 

Dressing or glaze, you decide

Bunch of Mint leaves

Bunch of corriander, stalks & all

Rock salt

Szechuan or Sichuan pepper (red) desert Spn

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp honey

A drop of sesame oil

2/3 cup of light olive oil

Optional adds - tsp chipolte powder, chilly jam or five spice

Throw it all in your pestle & Mortar and start pounding.  Sing a little to pass the time until it becomes a paste. If you choose to try the chilli jam this is when to add it.  

Spread over salmon, chicken or beef, its pretty much an all rounder and grill or simply use it as a dressing for a spiced slaw or cucumber salad.

Tomato Tartare & fig Arancini

1 x ring mould if you want to be fancy

Ramequin if thats easier or build in glass tumbler that you can invert

I grill pan

oil for frying

Left over sticky rice -after all this is a salad. 

1/2 cup Smoked Gouda or any smoked cheese, grated small

Panko crumbs & parmesan for rolling

1 red onion finely diced 

2 figs 

2 sun dried tomatoes finely diced

A squeeze of lemon & chopped flat parsely & a dash of olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

A mix of red & green tomatoes.  Beef I like better (Blanched quatered, defleshed & then diced)

To Blanch boil a kettle and cover the tomato in a heat proof bowl for approx 2 minutes.  Drain and peel.

The twist - a frozen green grape, green chilli or jalapeno, ground chicken

 

Take a very small pinch of the rice in your palm, flatten slightly and add a pinch of cheese. Place another small pinch of rice on top and mould into a ball. Roll in the breadcrumb & parmesan mix.  Add spices to the cheese if your twisting. Shallow fry the balls until slighlty golden turning on occassion.

Place diced tomato, seasoning, onion and oil/parsely mix in a bowl and mix carefully.  Load up your ramequin and gently press down, not hard but just enough to hold its shape.  Place in the fridge.  The oil will solidify slightly and help hold the tartare in place when you either remove the ring mould or invert the ramequin.

 

Whilst that is chilling, heat a grill pan till its smoking. carefully grill the figs on each side for approx 1 minute.  You want a good char grill line but do not want to over cook the fig. Take your tartare,  add your halved Arancini ball & place the figs on top. Delish.

Picture to come 

Hail Ceasar

Romain Lettuce

Anchovis 3 or 4 salted and oiled

A block of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano -

"Be generous with yourself as there is a high chance of some tasting as you go."

1 x cup Croutons

"so many choices here but I will twist some for you below"

Traditional Dressing 

Word of advice, if you are adding the anchovis to your salad then remove the rock salt but if your anchovis are going on a side plate then the dressing will be better with the salt remaining.  Remember salt to taste.

Olive oil, lemon juice, more of that parmesan cheese, garlic, tsp honey & salt & pepper

The twist - Greek natural yoghurt, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, crushed roasted garlic clove, rock salt 

                                                                                             or.........

Olive oil, dst spn of mayonnaise, rice vinegar, parmesan, grated horseradish, tsp honey & rock salt & pepper

Croutons - rip some bread, white does work better or go for the complete opposite with some dark rye.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and throw in the oven until golden.

If you want to liven this salad up further, add some sweet smoked Spanish paprika, brown sugar, rock salt,                                                                                                         or

sesame oil, finely chopped crystalized ginger, five spice & rock salt

Rip the lettuce, use a peeler to shred the parmesan cheese, break up the anchovis and add them to the leaves.  Add a small handfulof the croutons, and only dress this salad seconds before you are taking to the table or about to dive in.  After dressing you can add a few more croutons and some additional cheese. The star of the show.

Chorizo we luv you pasta salad

The Spanish export of Chorizo is a hard one to compare, and almost if not impossible to beat. Indulge yourself in a pletherer of favours that combine so well and make this a staple salad for when you feel you should eat a salad but need substance.

A good chorizo sausage, sliced thinly.  

"Chorizo bleeds that red tinted grease when cooked, but its full of flavour, so thin slices tossed in a hot pan will work better for this pasta salad."

Mozzarella di Bufala but if its too pricy then the regular mozzarella will be just fine. 

Ravioli with sun dried tomato - fresh if you fancy but..... 

"you can buy packets of premade fresh ravioli these days. Butoni is easy to source in most supermarkets

Small leaf spinach + 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsely

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 lemon

1 x small finely chopped red onion 

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional extra but so worth it - pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, flax seed knob of butter, demerera sugar & rock salt

Cook off your ravioli pasta, normally no more than 2 minutes in boiling water. You dont want it to burst.  Transfer into iced water and set aside for a couple of minutes.  Drain, and place in a larger mixing bowl.

Saute the red onion until soft and then add the slices of chorizo and toss over a high heat for about a minute. The chorizo will slighlty darken around the edges and start to very slighlty curl. Add the olive oil, the juice of one lemon and throw over the drained raviolis.  

Place all the ingredients for the nut mix in a frypan and again keep the nts moving around the pan until the sugar has melted and the pine nuts gain a light golden colour.  Set aside on some paper towel to drain any excess oil.  When your ready to eat, toss the small leaf, washed spinach and parsley with the ravioli. Rip the mozzarella & finally add the sauteed nuts at the end.

Fresh Mint & basil Jelly

Its an English thing!  Mint jelly will accompany many a Sunday roast lamb, but I love it with so much more.

Add a tsp to Amuse Bouche of goats cheese & grape. Add to your homemade samosa filling or twist a hollandaise sauce with a tiny tsp right at the end.  Its great with Artichoke & grilled courgette.

 

1 x large bunch of fresh mint -Roughly chopped

1 x handful of sweet Thai basil

(Thai basil is the smaller leaves, sweeter and no need to chop)

40g of Agar Agar

(Agar is a seaweed based product used instead of gelatine)

1/4 cup soft brown sugar

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar

1 litre of water

Green food colouring - optional

So easy - put everything into a saucepan, stir to dissolve the Agar and then slowly bring to the boil.  Slowly will ensure the sugar has disolved into the water.  Boil for approx 1 minute but watch it does not boil over.  Switch off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.  Pour through a sieve and divide into your jars.  I like the bits so I add the leaves afterwards.  Leave to chill.  If you have added the leaves then turn a couple of times during chilling to stop them staying on the top of the jelly. 

Chilli, Red Pepper Jam

This jam is great for cheese, its also a great addition to gravy s & try adding it to your homemade burgers.  The recipe can be tricky to get right simply because we all have differnt levels of heat that we like, especailly when we are eating chilli.  This recipe is not too spicy but definately has a kick.  If your a fan of the chilli then simply add more seeded chilli to the mix.

1 x cup of seeded red chilli - chopped

1 x Cup of pulsed char-grilled sweet red pepper

(Both the above are available in supermarkets if time is short.  You will find the grilled red pepper in jars almost everywhere, but the red chilli if you find it marinated in vinegar is amazing for this recipe.  If not then add the vinegar in the recipe instead.  Also if you cant find Agar then just use jam sugar. You may need to double it though and the sweetness will be noted.)

1 x cup of white wine vinegar

1 x cup of soft brown sugar

1 x finely chpped red onion - sauteed till soft

1 litre of water

40g of Agar Agar

Pinch of rock salt

The Twist - finely pulsed chorizo sausage - saute and drain the oil on paper towel

                    1 heaped tsp of smoked sweet paprika

                    Raspberry vinegar 

Saute off the red onions till soft and slighlty brown. Add the red chilli, salt and the red pepper & cook for about a minute.  In a separate pan put the Agar in the litre of water to dissolve.  Add the water mix to the pan of Chilli and pepper, add the sugar and let simmer until half of the liquid has dissappeared.  From here on its about tasting and watching the consistancy of the jam.  Remember when it cools it will set. so you still want a relatively wet mix when you start to load your jars. (If you are twisting replace the vinegar with the raspberry vinegar & add the chorizo & paprika to the red pepper mix.) Enjoy!

Carrot & Corriander salad

It's  BBQ winner, a great lunch time addition & can be twisted so many times and each time tastes great.

Carrots - grated (large grater on your magimix, large grater on a hand held or cheat if time is short and buy a bag of pre shredded carrot from the supermarket)

Pea shoots - if you can find them, if not finely shred some sugar snap peas

1 x cup of unsalted raw cashew nuts or shelled pistachios

1 x large bunch of coriander

1 large bunch of mint

Optional extras - Fresh thai water chestnuts, shredded, bamboo shoots, shredded, or shitake mushrooms, sliced

Dressing - 

1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp fish sauce, 2 x tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 x tbsp dark brown sugar

Rock salt & pepper to taste

Method - 

Throw it all in your new Mason Cash bowl and toss.  Mix the dressing and pour on just before serving.   Easy. 

Autumn salad with lavender, goats cheese & Cocoa nibs

4 x long courgettes - ribboned

1/4 cup brussel sprouts - blanched & shredded

2 x fresh red chilli - finely shredded

1 x lemon - rind grated & juiced

1/4 cup flat parsely - chopped

1/2 cup shitake mushrooms - finely sliced

1 x whole goast cheese

or

1 x homemade goats cheese as per my recipe on family favs page

1/4 cup of cocoa nibs

1/4 cup sunflour seeds, pine nuts & walnuts  

1 tsp honey

Rock salt to taste

Dressing - 

1 x tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 x tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp Creme freche

Method - 

Pan fry the seeds, cocoa nibs and nuts in a knob of butter, with the honey.  Keep moving them around the pan so they dont burn. When they turn golden in colour remove from the heat, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with rock salt.

Throw everything in a bowl, add the cooled nut mix.  Add the dressing just before serving & mix gently with your hands to ensure the goats cheese remains a crumbly texture throughout the salad.

Candied  Walnuts

for salads

Candied walnuts make a great addition to salads, cake decorating and just simple snacking. Dont be fooled they are great protien providers and are the good fatty acids.

2 x cups of walnuts - shelled

4 x tblsp butter

4 x tblsp soft brown sugar

1 x tsp rock salt

The twist - cinnamun, vanilla pod- scraped, ginger, chilli flakes, cumin, five spice

These are also great mixed with pumpkin seeds and pine nuts too.

Method - 

Melt the butter and throw everything into a bowl.  Mix gently togther and put in a hot baking oven 180deg for about ten minutes.  Check regularly after that giving them a shake.  When they are slighlty golden they are ready.

Lucy s Pickled Walnuts

Pickled Walnuts - what can I say.  If you have just read my latest Shoutout, 15th September 2016, you will know by now that I luv walnuts.  Pickling is just way to keep those "Wet Walnuts" last a little longer. So here are two recipes to pickle walnuts and preserve the wet ones.  This is a timely affair but worth the wait.  Jars at the ready. 

The pickled ones - 

1 x kilo fresh green walnuts - these are green and picked before the shells are formed.

1 x cup of cooking salt

4 x cups of rice wine vinegar

2 x cups of soft brown sugar

8 x cups of water

1 x pinch rock salt

1 tsp pumpkin spice or 5 spice

1 x tsp black peppercorns

Method - 

Take a knitting needle or metal squewer and piece the nuts.  If the nut has started to form a shell, then discard it as its too far gone to be pickled.   Place the nuts in a large pickling jar, take half of the salt and water and pour over the nuts,

shut the lid and leave for a week, turning daily. After a week, drain and repeat the process with the remaining water and salt. Next drain the nuts and place on a layer of paper towel.  Weather permitting these can dry outside although you will need to cover them with wire netting as those birds will think its Christmas, however if not then dry them inside, until they turn black in colour. 

Place all the remaining ingredients in a pan, and bring to the slow boil until the sugar has disolved. Place the blackened nuts into your sterilised pickling jars and pour over the strained pickling brine. Shut tight and stack your shelves.

Char-grilled Beef & Pineapple salad.

When its not quite cold enough to want a hot lunch but the slight chill in that morning air makes you feel the need for more than leaves, this salad is a cracker.  You will need a char-grill pan (as per my kitchen tools page) but if you still have a BBQ staring at you from the garden then fire her up, because you can never beat grilled meat.

Beef fillet 

1 x large pineapple

1 x cup bean sprouts

1 x cup pea sprouts (shoots)

1/2 cup sugar snap peas - shredded

1 x cup small baby spinach leaves - washed

1 x cup carrot - shredded

1 x cup of mixed fresh mint, basil & coriander leaves

Dressing - (mix everything together)

1/4 cup light olive oil

1/4 cup sweet soy 

3 x tsp Chinese five spice

3 x garlic cloves - crushed

2 tsp sesame oil

1 x red chilli - finely sliced

Method - 

Place the steak in a bowl and marinate in half the dressing. Best left over night but two or three hrs minimum.  Heat your grill pan until smoking or light your charcoal grill and wait till hot.  (please be aware and never leave your grill pan or BBQ whilst heating or cooking) Place the steak on the grill and cook for about three minutes on each side.  This salad is best served with rare or medium rare steak and this method with accommodate this, but should your preference be well done then dont stress.  When you press the top of your steak you should have firm outer edges but the centre will still be a little squashy.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool off.  When this is slightly warm slice into thin strips and add to the remaining dressing.  Whilst this is cooling, take your pineapple, cut off the top and bottom, trim off the outer skin and then cut into quarters   Place these quarters onto your grill pan or BBQ and cook for about two minutes on either side. Again remove from the heat and leave to cool.  Throw all the salad ingredients into a bowl and toss together   You can choose to add the steak at this point or simply serve the salad on the plate and place the steak on top, alongside the pineapple slices.  - Delish.

Smoked Lentil, Garlic & Broccoli salad

Autumn to winter this is a lunch special or a great side dish for an evening meal.  There are some added optional twists here so you can very much adapt this salad to your likes.

1 x cup lentils

(1/2 finely chopped carrots, I x red onion, 2 x finely chopped sticks celery)

or

1 x vegetable stock cube

3 x cups water

1 x whole garlic - roasted

2 x tsp smoked Spanish sweet paprika

1/4 cup olive oil & 1 Tbsp melted butter

1 x head of broccoli

1/2 head cauliflower

Rock salt & pepper to taste

Cashews - toasted & optional

Optional extras - cubed pumpkin & feta with baby spinach leaves or Mandarin & chorizo

Method - 

Firstly break down both the broccoli and Cauliflower into the small florets.  Toss in your olive oil & butter, then roast in a hot oven, (200 deg) until the edges of the cauliflower are a golden brown. This can be as quick as 10 minuted so keep watch.  

Place the vegetable stock in a pan with the 3 cups of water, add the lentils or, sauté off the stock veggies, and when softened add the lentils and then the water. Place the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for ten minutes.  Remove the lid, add the smoked paprika,  and stir the remaining lentils until the water has all been sucked up by the lentil mix.  They should be soft but still have a little texture too them.  Be careful not to over cook. Leave to cool.

Crush the cashew nuts, and add the cauliflower & broccoli to the lentils and careful fold together.

(If you are making of the optional extras, replace the cauliflower with the mandarin & chorizo, or the broccoli with the pumpkin and feta. )

Beetroot Carpaccio

Three large whole Beetroot - cooked but not too soft

1 x large green apple

2 x Korean, sweetened Seaweed tubes

Mini Mozzerella balls

Fresh basil leaves

Marinade - Equal measures (2 tblsp) - Olive oil,Rice wine vinegar,Honey,Ginger juice

Drop of sesame

1 x finely sliced red chilli

Method - Mix all the marinade ingredients and place in a zip lock bag over night with the beetroot.  The same day as serving slice the beets with a mandolin and place carefully on a serving tray. Preserve the marinade.  Roughly chop the green apple with the skin on, slice the mozzerella balls in half and place over the beetroot. Add the basil leaves, dress with the marinade and crush the Korean see weed tubes over the salad.

Bruschetta 

(salads best friend)

Sometimes a salad just does not fill the gap!  Bruschetta is a great way to add depth to any salad, soup or simply as a small starter.  Known tradionally as part of Italian cuisine its base is made from toasted breads, topped with chopped tomatoes & mozzarella cheese, but why stop there.

With a little imagination you can turn Bruschetta into an all season plate. 

For me there are two necessary Bruschetta steps, the first being the need to char grill those stripes firmly on your toast, and the second to have that all important garlic clove to simply rub over the toasted choice of bread and provide the almost perfect base for your choice of topping.  

I have a favourite tomato, being the sweet plum cherry but the choice is yours.

 

 

The original - Tomato, finely diced red onion & mozzarella, drizzled with virgin olive oil & rock salt

The Chorizo - Blackened chorizo, diced vine plum tomato, fig & drizzled with ginger oil

The French - Ripened brie with plum tomato, drizzled with olive oil & ground black pepper

 

The Greek - Tomato, black olive, fresh anchovies, cucumber & crumbled feta

The Twist - Plum tomato, sliced strawberry, raspberry balsamic glaze & chpped WET walnuts

 

 

Burmese salsa

After working with a lovely young man named Jo who is originally Burmese, I noticed he had a daily salsa that accompanied many of his meals.  I watched, sneaked a taste and soon became hooked.  Its that mix of sweet and salty but very subtle flavours that works so well with meat, fish or just vegetables.  I now have a jar in my fridge at all times. And so should you. 

6 x red chillis (frozen as they are easier to chop without loosing all the juice)

5 cloves garlic

20 corriander STALKS

3tsp fish sauce

1 tsp palm sugar

1 tsp tamarind paste

peanut oil or olive

Method - Finely chop chillis, garlic and corrander stalks.  It takes a while so be patient, add the remaining ingredients to a jar and mix. Simples

Mozzerella Salads

Traditional salad that includes mozzarella is of course the salad caprese.  The loved Italian tomato salad with fresh basil, mozzarella or Burrata and drizzled with virgin olive oil and seasoned with rock salt. These days however tomatoes have procured some amazing colours, shaped and flavours enhancing the traditional plate and chefs have realised quite how Fab that ball of cheese can be with so many other fresh seasonal ingredients.  So now, whilst we can purchase the mozzarella year round,  we can now eat it, guilt free with seasonal produce.

The Tomato - 

Mix them up - Tomatoes. Green, Orange, Yellow, Beef, Cherry 

Buffala Campana - its the best and needs no messing

Fresh basil leaves

Dressing - Pomegranate balsamic, Pesto, Raspberry vinegar, sesame & virgin olive

The Twist - strawberries & shredded brazil nuts, or fresh parsley & roasted lemon 

There are so many tomatoes available to us now that making a salad with just one seems bonkers to me.  Along with mixing them up and drowning in the colour on your plate, slice them differently. Treat this salad like an artistic canvas. Slice in half, Cut in quarters, make 4 thick slices from one beef tomato, leave the cherry ones whole.  Rip the mozzarella and fill in the gaps. Add the fresh basil and your done. 

The Fig - This little beauty is an enigma year round.  Depending where you find your perfect fig, size and flavour vary.  Eat them raw, or char grill the bigger ones to get that smokey flawless flavour, before topping with a ball of burrata, some mint leaves teared roughly with some small leaf basil, and seasoned oils.

The Courgette Flower - delicate and a little time consuming but worth the effort.  Why ruin those leaves and stuff  the flowers when you can smoke them or tempura them before draping over the burrata ball. Coconut flour is a great alternative base for your tempura mix.   Try deseeding some simple chilli and slice some garlic as thin as your mandolin can go, before tossing in some hot oil.  Dont let the garlic burn as it turns bitter, so after one quick toss of the pan add a tbsp of white wine and honey previously mixed, and throw over a previously plated seasonal rocket and your mozzerella balls.

Poached Tomato in Maple & Raspberry Burrata

There is something about tomato which I cant quite work out.  Whilst many love them, I am not a devout fan, although I do appreciate they are diverse & can transform a plate.  Its only in the last two years that I have very oddly decided that I love the oval shaped cherry tomatoes, Not the round, (please do not judge), and ever since I have been adapting and changing recipes up to learn to embrace and love the tomato with all my friends.  This recipe is one that sort of materialised when I was set a challenge & its one I have now repeated many times with great results and agreeable smiles. So here it is.

Take a vine of tomatoes and place them in a sauce pan with enough water to almost cover them but not quite.  Add a pinch of salt, and then enough maple syrup equal parts raspberry vinegar to cover them completely.  Carefully bring to the boil, switch off the heat and let sit for about 3 minutes. Remove and place on paper towel and carefully start to peel the tomato of its skin.  Whilst these are left to cool reduce the water in the pan until its a thickened jus.

Place the tomato over a burrata, drizzle over the cooled jus and add some fresh basil leaves. 

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