Salads…definitely not boring

I overheard someone the other day saying that they found salads boring. This made me feel a little sad. With such a diversity of flavours and endless possibilities of combinations how can salads become boring? I thought the days of  salads comprised of iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato had long since passed. Seemingly not.

I have a simple formula for my salads: green leaf, 3 or more additions – ideally different colours and a dressing – preferably with one ingredient that is a fermented food. Often one ingredient that is hot e.g.roasted butternut squash

Different dressings I make:  (a splash of each in to a small jar and shaken)

Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Tahini, apple cider vinegar and tamari

Peanut butter and apple cider vinegar

Avocado oil drizzle

Lime juice and olive oil

Here are a selection of the salads we have eaten over the last couple of weeks:

A                                                        B

A: papaya, roasted butternut squash, watercress, olives, tomatoes and olive oil and lime dressing

B: Beetroot houmous and chia seed oatcakes with avocado, tomatoes, olives and watercress

A                                                          B

A: Apricot, pomegranate seeds, mange tout, houmous, tomatoes, olives and rocket with avocado oil drizzle

B:Tomatoes, mange tout, yellow pepper, watercress and houmous – no dressing

A                                                         B

A: peas shoots, watercress, avocado, tomatoes and mange tout with olive oil, tamari and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: shredded carrots, red and white cabbage, hen and quail eggs, avocado, tomatoes and houmous with drizzle of olive oil

A                                                         B

A: rocket, watercress, avocado, apricot, roasted butternut squash with peanut butter and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: carrot sticks, houmous, mango, tomatoes, avocado, beetroot and avocado oil drizzle.

…definitely not boring!!

What is your favourite salad combination?

Seasons

Chatting with a friend the other day, we started to discuss the seasons – random I know – and tried to pick a favourite.

I found this really difficult but in doing this task I realised that my love of the different seasons revolves around food choices!

Spring: I love spring – the fresh colours – vibrant greens of new buds, blossom laden trees – replaced with fruit in the autumn, blankets of yellow for daffodils. Planting of vegetables under glass ready for the frosts to stop. Hens, ducks and quail come back in to lay.

Summer: fruit sorbets / nice cream. Arrays of salad vegetables. New potatoes…yum

Autumn: the amazing palette of colours and the trees enter their quiescent phase for the winter. This is when I really wish I could paint. With autumn comes such a marvellous bounty of fruits and vegetables and the sound of the tractors harvesting wheat, barley, maize. hay for the animals etc. Nights turning cooler – one pot suppers / casseroles / fruit crumbles  /  jam/ liqueur and chutney making / freezer filling.

and then there is winter…curtains closing early, log fires burning, mulled wine, fruit cakes, mince pies, rich food and of course – family gatherings.

If I had to choose one…probably  autumn.

How about you?

 

 

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Mint and Feta whip

This combination of flavours tastes absolutely gorgeous and compliments many dishes – my husband enjoys it with burgers and I think it adds a new level to a salad. Unfortunately no picture does it justice ..so here goes:20160723_171433Ingredients:

200 g Feta cheese chopped in to small chunks

150 ml sour cream         2 tsp paprika

2 tbsp honey           Handful of chopped mint

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Place in fridge until serving.

Cranberry salsa

I think the finest meal is one where you have the opportunity to have a multitude of different flavour combinations – probably why I love a roast dinner with all the extra trimmings.

A barbecue is one such opportunity – a plate can be laden with a multitude of little bits of this and that.

This is one such dish.

20160723_165653

Ingredients:

1 large white onion – finely chopped             Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large green pepper – finely chopped          600 g of cranberry sauce

Mint – large handful chopped          Coriander – large handful chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large bowl and combine thoroughly.

 

This salsa is perfect with meat, fish and salads – an all round great accompaniment.

I put the salsa in to the empty cranberry sauce jars. It will last for at least a week in the fridge (if not devoured beforehand!)

Smoked mackerel, Greek yoghurt,  cucumber,  spring onions and dill

This only took a couple of minutes  to prepare…my favourite sort of meal😀

Serves 3 as a main dish with new potatoes. Would serve 4 – 5 as a starter.

Ingredients:

Large handful of spinach and watercress for each person

4 spring onions – chopped

Large piece  (10-15 cm) cucumber chopped in to cubes

Greek yoghurt

3 smoked mackerel fillets – skinned and flaked

Handful of dill – chopped

Pomegranate seeds to garnish.

Method:

Put prepared onions,cucumber and mackerel in a bowl and add 3-4 heaped tbsp of yoghurt. Mix together. Add most of the dill – keep some back to sprinkle over as a garnish.Serve out on to watercress/spinach  and top with dill and pomegranate seeds.  New potatoes complement this dish very well 😀

 

Guacamole 

The perfect companion for a chilli con carne.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large ripe avocado – coarsely chopped

10 plum tomatoes – finely chopped

4 spring onions – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3-4 drops of tabasco sauce

Method:

Put all the prepared ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently.

 

Quail eggs and halloumi salad

So many people still think a salad consists of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.  Glances of pity are thrown in the direction of my husband when he states we had a salad for lunch!!

This delicious salad was simply a combination of soft boiled quail eggs, chopped avocado, chopped plum tomatoes and grilled halloumi sitting on a bed of watercress 🙂