Date, Apple, and Walnut Salad

Chicken, Apple & Walnut Salad2 red eating apples, cored and sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
100 g/4 oz dates, stoned and sliced
50 g/2 oz walnuts
2 sticks celery
4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp natural yoghurt
shredded lettuce (optional)

Methods:

  1. Toss the apples in lemon juice then combine with the dates, walnuts and celery.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise and yoghurt and spoon over the salad, then stir gently until evenly coated.
  3. Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce, if desired.

Variation

Waldorf salad Leave out the dates, use 6 sticks of celery and 150 ml/1/4 pint mayonnaise without yoghurt.

Spiced Bean Salad

chili-spiced-bean-salad-0024-500x510675 g/11/2 lb beans, soaked overnight: haricot, borlotti, flageolets, red kidney Dutch brown, black-eye, butter or chick-peas or black beans
Dressing
1 small onion, grated
I dried red chilli pepper, crumbled
150 ml/1/4 pint olive oil
juice of 3 lemons
salt and freshly ground black Pepper

Methods:

  1. Discard the water the beans have been soaking in and cover with fresh water.
  2. Boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes then simmer for 11/2-2 hours, until all the beans are tender.
  3. Rinse in cold water, drain and leave to cool.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together, pour over the beans and toss lightly as some of the beans will be very soft and may break up if not handled gently.
  5. If using canned beans, simply drain well and toss with the dressing.

Sweet and Sour Oriental Salad

cucumbersaladwebThis salad has an unusual sweet and sour dressing.

1 small head Chinese leaves, shredded
200 g/7 oz can water chestnuts, sliced
100 g/4 oz bean sprouts
Dressing
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x 15 ml spoonsI2 tbsp soy
sauce
1 x 5 ml spoon/1 tsp red wine
vinegar
1 x 5 ml spoon/1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 x 5 ml spoon/1 tsp salt
1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp caster sugar

Methods:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more salt and sugar, if required. Place the shredded Chinese leaves in a bowl, pour over the dressing and toss. Leave to stand for at least one hour. About 5 minutes before serving, add the water chestnuts and bean sprouts to the bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Other vegetables that could be added to this salad include: thinly sliced carrots and courgettes, sliced spring onions, sliced red pepper, bamboo shoots and sliced mushrooms. To add protein, include fried bean-curd cubes or toasted almonds or cashew nuts.

Mixed Salad

chicken-salad-ck-1173776-lThis is the classic side salad which goes well with almost every meal.

1 head radicchio, washed
1/2 head green lettuce, washed
50 g/2 oz French beans, cooked
and cut into small lengths
2 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
10 cm/4 inch piece cucumber, chopped
1-2 x 15 ml spoonsl
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Methods:
1. Break the radicchio and lettuce into leaves, wash, and dry on a clean tea-towel. 2. Mix together the radicchio, lettuce, beans, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle over the olive oil to taste, toss and serve.

Risotto Salad

F32 X 15 ml spoons/ 2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
225 g/8 oz long-grain brown rice
600 ml/1 pint vegetable stock
1 x 5 ml spoon/1 tsp oregano
salt and freshly ground black Pepper
200 g/7 oz can sweetcorn
1/2 greeen pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 courgette, sliced
3 small tomatoes, quartered
Dressing
2 x 15 ml spoons/2 tbsp lemon juice
75 ml/3 fl oz olive oil
salt and freshly ground black Pepper

Methods:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion gently until soft and clear.

2. Add the garlic and the rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Pour in the stock, and add the oregano and seasoning to taste.

4. Cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes until the rice is tender.

5. Stir in the sweet- corn, peppers and courgette and transfer to a bowl.

6. Combine the dressing ingredients, pour over the hot risotto and toss.

7. Once cool, add the tomatoes.

Variation

Pepper risotto boats Cut red and yellow peppers in half lengthwise, deseed and fill with risotto. In place of peppers in the risotto use 100 g/4 oz cooked pea

Pasta, Bean and Vegetable Salad

bean-pasta-salad450 g/1 lb pasta bows
1 x 15 ml spoonl
1 tbsp vegetable oil
225 g/8 oz mixed vegetables; broccoli or cauliflower, florets, French beans, carrot or celery sticks, thin slices of courgette, mangetout
4 spring onions, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
200 g/7 oz can kidney beans
200 g/7 oz can butterbeans lettuce
Dressing
150 ml/11/4 pint olive oil
50 ml/2 fl oz white wine vinegar
2 x 5 ml spoon/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 X 15 ml spoons/2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp poppy-seeds (optional)
salt and freshly ground black Pepper

Methods:

1. Cook the pasta bows in boiling water with the oil added until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool, set aside to drain thoroughly. Place the mixed vegetables in boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes, drain and allow to cool.
2. Place all the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake until well mixed. Combine the cooled pasta vegetables, spring onions, red pepper, kidney beans and butter beans. Pour over the dressing and toss. Place on a bed of lettuce to serve.

Greek Salad with Bread and Cheese

greek_salad_e_ayonThe pitta bread in this recipe is toasted until crisp to give the salad a wonderful array of textures.

1 pita bread
1/2 iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 red pepper, cut into rings
3 tomatoes, chopped
225 g/8 oz feta cheese, diced 100 g/4 oz black olives
2 x 15 ml spoons/2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp olive oil juice of 1 large lemon
2.5 ml/1/2 tsp ground cinnamon salt and freshly ground black pepper

Methods:

  1. Grill the bread until it is dried out and crisp, cool and break into small pieces, set aside.
  2. Place the lettuce, red pepper, tomatoes, feta, olives and herbs in a large salad bowl and toss.
  3. Combine the oil, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste in a small jar and shake until well mixed.
  4. Pour over the salad and toss.
  5. Just before serving, add the crisp bread.

Gougere with Provencal Sauce

gougeresrecipe50 g/2 oz butter or margarine
150 ml/4 fl oz water
65 g/21/2 oz wholemeal flour 2 eggs, beaten
50 g/2 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
Sauce
2 x 15 ml spoons/2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small aubergine, chopped 400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 5 ml spoon/1 tsp mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black Pepper
2 x 15 ml spoons/2 tbsp chopped parsley

Methods:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ gas 6.
  2. To make the goug&e, place the butter or margarine in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and add the flour all at once; beat the mixture until it is smooth and leaves the sides of the pan. Cool slightly, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is glossy; beat in the cheese. Spoon the pastry onto a greased ovenproof pasta or pie plate to form a large ring. Alternatively, the mixture can be piped into a circle.
  3. To make the sauce, cook the onion in the oil over a gentle heat until soft and clear, add the garlic, pepper and aubergine, and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and mixed herbs and season to taste. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the filling into the centre of the gougere and bake for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Courgette Souffle

503369130_ae128832ecThere is a misplaced fear of cooking souffles, which are really rather easy. Make sure that you whisk the egg whites well and that you fold them in carefully; don’t open the oven door half-way through cooking, and you should be fine.

350 g/12 oz courgettes, topped and tailed
50 g/2 oz butter
50 g/2 oz plain white or wholemeal flour
300 ml/1/2 pint milk
pinch nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black Pepper
75 g/3 oz Caerphilly or
Wensleydale cheese, grated
4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp chopped
parsley
4 eggs, separated

Methods:

  1. Grease a 1 litre/2 pint souffle dish thoroughly, tie a collar of lightly greased greaseproof paper around the outside of the dish so that it stands about 5 cm/2 inches above the top of the dish and secure with string. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
  2. Cook the courgettes in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool. Chop very finely or place in a food processor ( take care not to over-process).
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly; take off the heat and gradually add the milk. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until thickened. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, beat in the cheese and cool slightly. Beat in the egg yolks, then stir in the courgettes and parsley. Whisk the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Fold about one-third of the egg whites in very thoroughly then fold in the remainder carefully, do not worry if they are not perfectly folded in, this is better than overworking.
  4. Turn the mixture into the soufflé dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well risen and golden-brown.

Variations
Asparagus soufflé

Replace the courgettes with 375 g/10 oz package frozen asparagus, cooked until tender.

Cheese and watercress soufflé

Increase cheese to 100 g/4 oz, and chop or process 1/2 bunch watercress leaves and use in place of courgettes.

Spinach soufflé

Replace the courgettes with 450 g/1 lb spinach leaves, cooked with only the water clinging to the leaves, until just tender. Drain well and chop finely.

    Fusilli with Artichokes

    fusilli-pasta-with-artichokes-and-peppersAnother quick and easy but delicious dish from Italy. Fusilli (pasta corkscrews) is available in packages containing plain and green varieties, which look especially attractive when cooked.

    275 g/10 oz fusilli
    1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp oil
    75 ml/3 fl oz olive oil
    1 large onion, sliced
    1 clove of garlic, crushed
    400 g/14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
    1 x 15 ml spoon/1 tbsp tomato purée
    4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp chopped parsley
    50 g12 oz pine kernels
    100 g/4 oz black olives
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 x 15 ml spoons/4 tbsp Parmesan cheese

    Methods:

    1. Cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly boiling water with the oil added to it for 10-12 minutes, until just tender. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until soft and clear; add the garlic and cook for another minute. Cut the artichoke hearts into bite-sized pieces and add to the onions with the tomato purée, parsley, pine kernels and olives. Season with pepper and heat through. Drain the pasta and toss with the artichoke mixture, then serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.
    2. Only the sauce is worth making in the microwave. Cook the onion in the oil in a covered dish for 2 minutes on HIGH, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the Parmesan, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes on HIGH to heat through.