Archive for the 'Salad' Category

Grilled Halloumi and roast baby beetroot salad

August 19, 2010

This is the first time I have ever properly grown my own veg. It was a wee bit of a trial actually to see what would grow (if anything) and if I could do it. Much to my surprise I have managed to grow things. It’s funny I never really expected anything to grow. Over the past few months I have been regularly harvesting my own rocket, baby cos lettuce, parsley, radishes and tons and tons of beautiful flat leaf parsley. Oh the joy of being able to step out side to “gather” the ingredients for a meal – sigh!

It is so exciting watching my beetroots grow steadily larger and on the flip side rather disappointing seeing my fennel struggling along – pesky rabbits are munching on it!

The beetroot is plentiful and I decided yesterday it was time for my first harvesting. Roasted baby beetroot – yummy yummy yummy. With a little bit of a whip round the kitchen and the parsley patch I had all the ingredients I needed for a lovely hearty salad.


8 baby beetroot
4 medium tomatoes (the sweeter and tastier the better)
large bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 lemon
1 block of Halloumi
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper


First things first, cut the stems from the beetroot leaving approx 1 cm. Scrub all the dirt from them and leave some of the tail (root).

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place in a ceramic oven proof dish whole, if some of the beetroots are a bit large you can cut them in half.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add about 3 tablespoons of water and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in oven for 35 – 45 mins or until tender (check with a sharp knife – knife should slide in with only a little bit of resistance).

You may need to add a little more water half way through the cooking as you do not want the juices to burn. A little bit of caramelisation is fine but not charred.

Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Wash and dry parsley, picking the leaves and leaving any tough stems.

Add to a large salad bowl or platter.

Roughly cut tomatoes into chunks and sprinkle over the parsley.

Heat a non stick frying pan and dry fry slices of the Halloumi until golden brown on both sides.

Scatter beetroot and Halloumi over the top of the tomato and parsley and dress with best quality extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. Good on it’s own with pita bread or as a side with chicken, lamb, kebabs etc.


Grilled Halloumi and Courgette with tomato and mint salsa

August 18, 2010

Grilled Halloumi with Courgette tomato and mint salad

I kind of feel like it is a bit of a con writing this recipe as it is so very very easy. It is inspired by my friend Sophie who served me delicious grilled courgettes with a tomato and onion salsa at a BBQ a while ago and also by my lovely friend Rima who is the most amazing Lebanese cook ever!!! This is such a lovely summery meal you could serve it as a starter or as a light lunch with some lovely hot pita bread.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 medium sized courgettes
1 block of Halloumi
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 sprig of fresh mint
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil


To make the salsa – remove core and finely dice tomatoes. Finely dice red onion and add to a bowl with tomatoes. Add juice of lemon, cumin, paprika, finely chopped fresh mint and season to taste.

Cut courgettes length wise leaving on the tip and tail. Brush with olive oil and char grill until “striped” by the grill and cooked but still with bite (a little firm).

Take a dry non stick frying pan and heat on medium/high.

Slice Halloumi into 1/2 cm slices and fry until golden brown on each side.

Serve Halloumi and warm courgette topped with spoonfuls of the tomato and mint salad.

I am dribbling thinking about this…..

Warm quinoa salad – super healthy

July 26, 2010

Warm quinoa salad

Sometimes you need to put the butter, cream and cheese away and eat some “clean” food. Quinoa is a bit of a wonder grain it is gluten free, high in protein, omega 3 and 6 and most importantly delicious. This salad is vegan and is a complete meal containing protein, carbohydrates, a little good fat and lots of vegetables. If you are being virtuous and trying to eat healthily on a regular basis you need some substance to your food. Lettuce will not fill you up on it’s own!

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

250 grams golden quinoa
1 tin of chickpeas
2 red onions
2 carrots
1 bunch of asparagus
1 red pepper
1 veg stock cube
handful of almonds
handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
handful of sunflower seeds
small bunch of flat leaf parsley
approx 12 mint leaves
1 lemon
Peppery extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar


First things first you need to get the quinoa cooked. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a sieve, until the water runs clear.

Pop in a pan on the stove with approx 2 cups of boiling water and the stock cube.

Cooking quinoa

Bring to the boil and then simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (approx 10 – 15 mins). Put the lid on and then turn temp to the lowest setting and keep cooking until all liquid has gone. Taste the quinoa, it should be soft. If not add a splash more water and keep cooking until it is soft. If you look closely little spirals will be released from the grain – this is another way to know it is cook. Always best to taste though.

When cooked fluff with a fork and put in a large heat proof bowl to cool.

Quinoa cooked and set aside to cool

Cut onions in half and slice finely. Fry in a little olive oil until browned. Leave to the side to cool.

Fried onions

Onions set aside to cool

Char grill whole red pepper on a BBQ or on a grill pan. When blackened all over remove and place in a clip lock sandwich bag to “steam” and cool so that you can handle without scalding yourself.

Peppers and carrots char grilling

Once cooled peel off the blackened skin and remove seeds then slice finely into strips.

Peel the carrots and slice on the diagonal into rings approx 3-4 mm thick. Grill on char grill until cooked through and striped by the grill. Remove and cool.

Snap the woody ends from the asparagus spears by holding the stem near the end and bending until it snaps. The asparagus will automatically snap at the point where the woody bit ends. Wash and pop on the grill too until cooked but still a little crisp (it will keep cooking when removed from the grill).

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and put the almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds on separate trays in the oven (almonds at the top as they will need longer). Bake for 5 mins check to see if they are toasted enough if not keep checking every couple of minutes to make sure they don’t burn. I usually set the timer – if I don’t I end up with charred nuts which go straight in the bin.

Once the nuts and seeds are toasted remove from the oven and cool.

Toasted nuts and seeds

Cut the asparagus into 2 cm lengths also cut on the diagonal and roughly cut the carrot slices.

Add fried onions, roasted pepper, rinsed chickpeas, carrot and asparagus to the quinoa with roughly chopped parsley and mint and the juice of a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with peppery extra virgin olive oil and a little red wine vinegar.

Quinoa salad

Toss salad through and serve with a sprinkle of toasted nuts.

Eat as much as you like because it is super healthy…..

To make it a little more exciting feel free to add some grilled haloumi, roasted butternut pumpkin or roasted sweet tomatoes. It would also be really nice with some spice added, a little cumin and maybe even some chili would be great. If you do use spices fry them in with the onions to release the flavours.

***BTW I didn’t have chickpeas and only had a bizarre tin of “bean salad” which had corn, beans and french beans in it….don’t recommend you try this at home. Tee Hee.

Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad (for something a bit different)

May 17, 2010

Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad

For many years I have had a bit of an issue with fruit being used in savory dishes. I had a very distressing experience in the hunter valley with a strawberry and scallop dish. Vomit!!

Recently I have started to branch out, throwing caution to the wind, and use the odd pear or apple in a salad. What a success!!

I actually feel a wee bit silly adding this to my recipe collection as this salad really is ridiculously simple and easy to make. However there are still a great proportion of the general public headed straight towards a trusty cucumber, lettuce and tomato combo for a salad. Boring!! (unless you are using AMAZING tomatoes of course).

I hope this inspires you to branch out a little and try fruit in your salads (but not strawberries and scallops – please!)

1 cox’s orange pippin
2 small chicory (witlof)
1 medium size bulb of fennel
1 small bag of wild rocket
1 small bag of baby Italian leaves (beetroot leaves, radicchio, red chard, watercress, lollo rosso, baby cos etc)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley


1 table-spoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of runny honey
Extra Virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Finely slicing fennel

Remove outer leaves of fennel and cut of any shoots. Cut in half from top to bottom through the narrow side (leaving 2 wide halves). Very finely slice length wise.

Wash and dry leaves (if not already washed) – make sure you spin the leaves in a salad spinner this is VERY important. If the leaves are wet you will dilute the dressing and it will taste very average.

Add leaves and finely sliced fennel to a large bowl, peel the outer leaves from the chicory (witlof) and cut the bottom 1/3 off. Separate the leaves and add them to the bowl. Finely slice the bottom 1/3 of the chicory and add to bowl.

Separating chicory leaves and adding them to the bowl

Wash and dry small/medium bunch of parsley. Pick off the leaves discarding any discoloured ones or stems. Add to bowl.

Picking leaves from bunch of flat leaf parsley

Wash apple and cut in half removing core. Finely slice and add to bowl.

Finely sliced apple added to bowl

To make dressing I find using a clean jam jar makes life a lot easier.

Add 1 table-spoon of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of runny honey about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar to the jar. Put the lid on and shake, it should quickly form a thick dressing. Taste it and it should taste a little bit too vinegary – this is good. If it is a wee bit mild add a bit more vinegar.

Add dressing bit by bit to salad whist lightly tossing through with your hands. The leaves should be coated but not drenched.

Apple fennel and bitter leaf salad

Serve immediately! This can be eaten as a starter or along side fish, chicken, pasta, risotto etc. You can also make it more substantial and have it for lunch on its own by adding some cheese (goats cheese, brie, Gorgonzola etc) and some toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews etc).

Celeriac Remoulade

May 6, 2010

When I was little I went to France every summer for about 4 weeks there are 2 things that I remember from the ferry trip over. Firstly my hay fever disappeared and secondly I got to eat Celeriac Remoulade from the self-service cafe on board.

I am pretty sure at that age I had no idea what Celeriac was apart from the fact it was fantastic and you couldn’t get it in Scotland.

Celeriac is now widely sold however for many years I have made a rather disappointing version of the wonderful salad found everywhere in France. To be honest I actually gave up making it until last night.

I had been watching the Good Food channel and a very old episode of James Martin’s cooking show came on. He was making Celeriac Remoulade which inspired me to give it another go. There were 2 major things that were different from what I had been doing (and doing wrong quite obviously!). Instead of grating the celariac he peeled it then cut it into thin slices then cut those slices into long thin strips (match sticks) and also he added a ton of mustard….I had only been using mayonnaise. It was delicious and I will definitely be making it again and soon!!


1 medium bulb of celeriac peeled and cut into thin strips
1 small red onion
2 large tablespoons seeded mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup of homemade mayonnaise (see recipe)
Salt and pepper
1 lemon

Celariac sliced

Put finely slice red onion, celeriac, mustard, mayonnaise and juice of 1 lemon in a bowl and mix, season to taste.

Celeriac cut into match sticks

Can be eaten straight away or kept in an air tight container for a couple of days.

It is very nice with fish, smoked fish, roasted meat on a sandwich as part of a crudity selection and just with a spoon.

Thanks James for inspiring me.

Wet lettuce!! (how rude!!)

May 3, 2010

There is one thing I HATE is wet lettuce in a salad.

I am a BIG fan of a salad spinner. Often the trusty old salad spinners are left rejected in the back of the cupboard (yes I am talking about you Lisa Clay!!). If you don’t use your salad spinner – why not!! Only joking.

If you do have one, dust it off and give it a go.

Now if you are unlucky enough to be caught in a situation where you don’t have a salad spinner (no need to PANIC!!!) I have a tip for you. My friend Ida (you are a legend) opened my eyes to this little gem of a tip.

Wash your leaves and pop them into a colander to drain. Take a clean tea towel and lie it out on the kitchen bench. Take some of the leaves and distribute evenly lengthwise down the middle of the towel. Fold over the sides to cover the leaves – like a tube. Hold the ends and pull the tea towel quickly like pulling a cracker – do this a few times and voila dry lettuce!!!

Be careful not to put too many leaves in or to be a little too vigorous with the “cracker pulling” or you will end up with lettuce all over your kitchen floor (this is from first hand experience!!)