Posts Tagged 'salad'

Carrot, avocado & cumin salad

carrot avocado & cumin salad

When I fancy a bowl full of health this is my go-to-salad. I can toss it together in a matter of seconds and know that soon enough I’ll be plopped on the sofa giving myself a hefty dose of internal TLC. With all that colour, you know that you’re on to a good thing. If I’m feeling energetic I might tuck some up in a sheet of toasted nori with a layer of hummus. But mostly I just like to sit back on the sofa, pull my cashmere blanket up under my arms and eat it straight from the bowl I made it in. I like the way that the carrots crunch between my teeth, the way the avocado is silky smooth on my tongue and how the mint leaves me feeling refreshed. Don’t forget the toasted cumin seeds, lemon and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for an extra dose of flavour and health. Be warned though, you may just find yourself bouncing off the sofa after a bowl of this.

Continue reading ‘Carrot, avocado & cumin salad’

A RECIPE: Watermelon, tomato & goats cheese salad with lemon truffle dressing

watermelon tomato & goats cheese salad

Don and I threw a party this weekend for all those guests who could not make the trip across the pond for our recent wedding. IT was such a different evening to that blissful day in June- no white dress, no hair and makeup, no top hats and morning suits and most obviously no body else doing the work for us!

I adore having a good party but I have this unavoidable tendency to make things harder for myself than they need to be. I lie awake thinking of all the things I could make and then stress about how much time it will take, the money it will cost and how I frequently I will have to rush to the kitchen during the party.

So, this time I set rules for myself. It was really the only way to contain and restrict my wild fancies.

Rule #1 Five different nibbles only- no adding extras at the last minute. Pick five stick with five. Follow the rules, Helm Baxter.

Rule #2 No hot nibbles- Saturday was predicted to be the hottest day of the year and our 650 sq ft apartment was struggling to stay cool without having to fight with the oven. Everything would be cold or room temperature. First thing off the list mini Yorkshire puddings.

Rule # 3 Only one nibble was allowed to be an attention seeker. All others had to be pre-made and pre-assembled- pre-party.

Rule # 4 No more rules, rule inhibit creativity.

Rule # 5 Even though you hate rules, there are only three real rules. So STICK with them.

Rule # 6 Rename rules as guidelines as clearly the words rules and cooking in the same sentence are a cause for deep concern.

It was hard. Almost as hard as it was to stop myself from drooling on my keyboard over this. I broke the first rule guideline and ended up with six but I left one of them for my guests to assemble themselves.  Ah ha! An extra point awarded for delegation- I think so! And excluding the Pork butt I had in the oven for eighteen hours before the party I managed to keep the oven pretty much entirely in the off setting save for a few nuts toasting and croutons crisping, which was all done pre-party. Success! This party thing was suddenly becoming a whole lot easier.

On the menu we had

  • Smoked salmon & cream cheese spirals you can find here although I added some rocket leaves and forgot about the lemon. Hey- there were no rules about sticking to recipes!
  • Union square nuts– can’t claim credit for these but they are so good!
  • Crostini with ricotta, lemon, hazelnuts & honey- recipe coming soon!
  • Pulled pork (slathered in a mixture of chili flakes, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and soy and cooked for 18 hours at 225F). These I left for the guests to assemble themselves with rolls, applesauce and bbq sauce on the side.
  • My delicious guacamole with spicy pita chips- always a crowd pleaser
  • Watermelon, tomato & feta skewers with lemon truffle vinaigrette (the unplanned hero)

watermelon tomato skewers
Which leads me nicely, almost as if I planned it, to talking about the salad and the skewers you see photographed. I am a huge fan of adding fruit to salads and as salad combinations go watermelon, tomatoes and goats cheese make a perfect little trio. They are such good buddies that when I had left overs from Saturday’s lunch I decided to stick them on a skewer. The perfect solitary bite ready to pop in your mouth in one go and hence, nibble number six came to being.

watermelon tomato & goats cheese salad

This is a salad I’ve been making for the past  two summers- and for some reason I’ve never gotten around to blogging about it. I’m not sure why- too lazy to weigh a watermelon, I suppose. But then this weekend I did- weigh the watermelon that is and everything else and then just for good measure I’ve thrown in the added bonus of two recipes for the price of one reading. Am I the most generous girl around, or what?!

Well sort of. One’s a recipe, the other is just common sense. I know it’s Monday but please tell me you can cope with that? Here’s a few guidelines (by no means rules!)- cut the watermelon into small-bite-sized pieces slightly bigger than half a cherry tomato and a piece of feta (goats cheese is better but harder to skewer) and then put on a toothpick interspersed with Thai or regular basil leaves . I made about 50 skewers with 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes and 2 lbs of watermelon (weight with the rind on) one block of feta and 1/2 a small bunch of Thai basil. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette before serving. Easy as can be.

If you’re not having a party then you really ought to try this salad. In fact even if you’re having a party then you ought to try this salad. Today in fact would be a most excellent time. Why? Because it’s mid-August and summer will soon be over and tomatoes will be imported and bland and the watermelon will be mealy and you will be cold and wanting something hot. So go! Quickly! No, wait! Rule #1 read the recipe first!

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Watermelon, tomato & goats cheese salad with lemon truffle dressing’

A Recipe: Roasted butternut squash & mango salad

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Mango and Red Onion

It is most definitely pumpkin time in New York City and with Halloween around the corner they are more than readily available. I have always found the shift from summer to autumn quite an abrupt one when it comes to food- one week the peaches are perfect, the next they are tasteless mush and you’re back to buying apples again. My policy is to overdose on summer gems like tomatoes and peaches in order to make the transition from summer to autumn a welcome one and this year has been no exception.

The weather, however, has not been complying with my usual autumnal food associations which conjure up images of a warm fire and piping hot roasted squash with a roast chicken or butternut squash and bacon soup. On Monday last week, it was cold and dreary- perfect for sipping soup wrapped in a blanket. Of course, I didn’t have time to make the soup on Monday or Tuesday and by Wednesday it was 70 degrees again, my apartment windows were open wide and soup and blankets were not on my wish list. I was, however determined to use the butternut squash I had bought and my boyfriend reminded me of this salad that I had styled for my portfolio with photographer Jemma Watts in London. This salad is perfect for this lead up for this not quite ready to say goodbye to summer weather and from a health point-of-view I particularly love that it’s delicious even without a salad dressing.

You can roast the squash with any combination of herbs or spices that you like- or even just in oil with salt and pepper. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds then try roasting the squash seeds, seasoned with salt and pepper in a little oil and then sprinkle over the salad to serve.

Roasted butternut squash & mango salad

Serves 4

1 medium Butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed and sliced 1 cm thick
2-3 tbsp olive oil (or a few squirts of olive oil spray), plus extra to serve
¼ tsp chili flakes (crushed red pepper flakes), optional
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, optional
1 mango, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
Box of mixed leaf greens
200g/7 oz feta cheese, cut into chunks, optional

1/ Heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. Toss the squash with the oil, chilli, seasoning and herbs and place in a roasting tin in a single layer. Roast in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until tender, beginning to caramelise on the bottom of the pan. Turn squash pieces a couple of times during cooking.

2/ Toss together all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl and serve with a drizzle of oil.

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