Tag Archives: Salad

Summer Salads, Spanish Omelette

24th July 2013

I am always happy when I get to tick recipes off my very long ‘to make’ list.  

I was meant to be meeting N and K for drinks last week, but given that every restaurant and bar with outside space in London is full to bursting at the moment, we made a last minute decision to cook at home.

I decided on two summery salads and a Spanish omelette – a light colourful dinner that we could eat in the garden.  

The first salad is a simplified version of Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate.  The second is a recipe I found on BBC Food.  And the omelette is a Jamie Oliver classic.  Here’s how to make them…

Chop red and yellow tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, red onion – and chuck it all in a serving dish.

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Drizzle the mixture with good olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Finally, garnish with pomegranate seeds and oregano leaves.  (Hint – you can buy pomegranate seeds packaged separately from Waitrose.  It’s way easier and quicker than getting them from the fruit yourself!)

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Easy to do, but it looks beautiful.

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Next salad up!

Lightly toast some almonds in a pan – this will only take a few minutes.

While the almonds are toasting, lay out some mixed salad leaves – ideally spinach, watercress and rocket (the bitter flavour will contrast well).  

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Chop up some crumbly feta…

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The almonds should be ready by now, so take them off the heat.

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More pomegranate seeds go on this salad as well, so make sure you have enough. Shake the feta, seeds and almonds onto the green leaves.  

This one also gets a dash of olive oil, but add some sesame oil too (just a little).  Season, and squeeze half a lemon over everything before tossing it.

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Last but not least – the omelette.  I wanted to add a bit of body to the meal, and this is a good option – not too carb heavy, but still satisfying.  

Boil a few potatoes until cooked, and then cut them roughly into slices/chunks.  While you’re waiting for the potatoes to boil, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl with a fork.  I used ten eggs and this was plenty for four people as an accompaniment to the salads.

Cook the potato pieces and a bit of chorizo and onion in a large frying pan until they’re golden.  Add some fresh rosemary after a few minutes.  

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When the rosemary is crisp, pour the egg mixture into the pan.

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Cook on the hob for another minute or so, and then pop the frying pan into a preheated oven (about 200ºC).  When the omelette is cooked through in the middle, it’s ready.

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Take everything outside and serve with white wine (and in our case, Summer Fruits squash as well – why not hmm?!).

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A plate full of goodness…

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And what else to finish?  Strawberries, of course.

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It was a lovely girly evening of food, gossip… and snapchat.  Everyone loves a bit of snapchat.

Here are the original recipes if you want to browse:

  • Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate recipe
  • Leafy salad with feta and pomegranate recipe – BBC Food
  • Jamie Oliver’s Potato and Chorizo omelette recipe
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A Weekend In Provence

19th June 2013

I had a perfect long weekend away in the south of France.  Food, weather, location – it was all idyllic.

E’s parents live in the beautiful Provençal countryside and so when H and I were invited to visit, we jumped at the chance.

Our arrival was met with a chilled bottle of rosé wine… and not just any rosé.  This was the much discussed Miraval – the vineyard born baby of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  The wine is made on their estate in Provence, Chateau Miraval.

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As it should be, the Jolie-Pitt bottle is rather sexy – and the wine is delicious.  It’s that very pale pink which is somehow bright at the same time.

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We sipped our wine, admired the garden, and settled in to that holiday feeling.

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And before we knew it, it was time for lunch (I promise it was just about midday when we started on the rosé…)

E’s Maman spoilt us all weekend with delicious fresh food, as you’ll see.

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Simple and healthy – ideal when you’re going to be slipping into a bikini later on.

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Grabbing a couple of apricots and bottle of water, we headed for the pool…

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Later on in the evening, we wandered around the garden – which is stunning.

Lavender

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Roses

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Poppies

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Isn’t this the loveliest place to sit?

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Before cocktail hour by the pool – freshly made margaritas.

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We slept very soundly after a dinner of salmon and sweet potato (which I forgot to photograph because I’m naughty – although this post will be pretty long as it is!).

It’s amazing how quiet it feels in the country when you’re used to being in London.  And it’s the best feeling in the world when you wake up and can sense the heat outside – stepping outside in pyjamas and eating croissant before the sun gets too hot.

After catching some sun the previous afternoon, we set off for a drive through the local villages.  The scenery is gorgeous, and the villages are shady and full of little cafés and dappled light.

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We picked a square with a fountain, and E selected a restaurant because it had grey chairs (the secret indicator of a good restaurant).  It turned out to be an excellent choice.

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That platter of amazingness that you can see is made up of four exquisite little dishes…

Le gaspacho de melon au basilic – I have never had melon gazpacho before but it was so refreshing.  I am definitely going to have a go at making it myself.

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Les petites tomates provençales farcies

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Le maquereau en escabèche et ses copeaux de légumes – mackerel is so good for you and the dressing was really crisp.

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La salade fraîcheur au magret de canard des Landes et ses framboises – I think this was my favourite.  I adore duck!

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E had foie gras and we finished our lunch with lychee sorbet and macarons. 

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The restaurant we were at is called La Place, and it is the ‘little sister’ restaurant of Oustau de Baumaniere in Les Baux.  We stumbled upon it completely by accident (thanks grey chairs)!  You can find it in Maussane-les-Alpilles – read about it on their website.

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The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, reading, swimming, and of course, eating.

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Muggy, cloudy London can’t really complete right now can it?

At least I’ve got Glastonbury to look forward to!  Fingers crossed for the weather…

A massive thank you to E’s parents for looking after us so well.

Bisous

Asian Salad & Tempura

21st May 2013

When I’ve had a naughty day at work like today (snacking constantly on wine gums and chocolate) I want to make something healthy for dinner.  The thing is, I often can’t face proper ‘health food’, as it just doesn’t seem like enough of an incentive to get in to the kitchen and cook.

This salad is an ideal compromise – lots of vegetables, but a bit of batter thrown in for that indulgent kick.  The best thing about it is that making the tempura is really fun.  So it’s a nice wind down activity as well.  I think it would be great to serve for a summer dinner party, you’d just have to make sure to get all the prep done first and the timing of the tempura right.

For the salad:

Finely chop spring onions and carrots, and quarter some tomatoes.

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While you’ve got the veg board out, dice a couple of cloves of garlic and a bit of ginger (for the dressing).  Cut a lime in half and roughly chop some mint.

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Mix up the dressing in a jug/bowl/mug… whatever’s handy.  These are the ingredients – don’t worry about exact measurements, taste it when you’re done and see if any little adjustments are needed.

  • Juice from the lime (no pips please)
  • The chopped garlic and ginger
  • Couple of tablespoons fish sauce
  • Couple of tablespoons soy sauce
  • One tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
  • One tablespoon of sugar

Throw in some fresh chilli if you like it spicy.

Place a generous handful of the carrot, spring onions and tomatoes on a bed of crispy salad leaves on each plate you’re serving up.  Sprinkle with some mint.  You can probably get 3 good servings from these quantities (or starter sizes for 6).

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Put those to one side somewhere cool, and whip up your batter.  This is really easy – whisk together 100g of plain floor, a pinch of salt, an egg yolk, a teaspoon of baking powder and 150ml sparkling water.

It should end up looking something like this…

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Now the fun part!  The next couple of steps need to happen fairly quickly, so it’s helpful if you have someone around to join in.  You can slow it down a bit if you’ve got a hot plate or an Aga to keep the tempura warm on, but they’re really best served as fresh as possible.

You can use this batter for anything – meat, veg, even cheese (yes, I tried it!).

For this salad, I did a mixture of prawns and chicken.  Heat up 1/3 of a pan of vegetable oil or similar.  It’s ready when you chuck a crumb of bread in and it sizzles.  PLEASE be careful, hot oil is very dangerous.  Do not flick any water into the pan by accident.

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Use two forks to dip the prawns and chicken (bite size pieces) into the batter, and then cook in the oil for 1-2 minutes.  When they’re golden, lift them out of the oil (carefully, again) and place them on a plate covered with kitchen towel.  Work through them in batches of 5 or 6 at a time – if you do too many the oil will cool down and they’ll get soggy.

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About half way through cooking the tempura, put a packet of fresh white noodles in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and zap them in the microwave for a minute (I know.. cheating..).

You can start arranging and serving your salads while your lovely assistant finishes the rest of the tempura.  This way the batter should still be hot and crispy, the noodles warm, and the salad zingy.

I placed noodles around the outside of the leaves and then put the tempura on top of the noodles in a ring.  

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Pour some dressing evenly over the leaves, tempura and noodles.  You can see the bits of garlic and ginger, which are slightly softened after marinading.

And it’s ready!  A guilt free, treat of a salad.

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And if you didn’t eat your body weight in wine gums today, enjoy the extra tempura with some sweet chilli sauce or any other dip that takes your fancy.

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