Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Persian Salad of Tomato, Pomegranate and Cucumber

Not exactly seasonal, but my local food market sells all sorts of fruits and vegetables even during the Winter months. This salad screams Summer to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it a couple weeks back. So much so, that I've eaten it a couple of times this month alone. The juicy and plump tomatoes combined with the sweet pomegranate and the refreshing cucumber. The recipe hails from my favourite Salad cookbook (yes, I have a few), A Salad For A Seasons by Harry Eastwood. 

Serves 2
300g ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine, cut in quarters
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut length ways
seeds from 1 medium pomegranate
a small bunch parsley, leaves
a small bunch of coriander
3 spring onions, very finely sliced
1tsp sumac

For the dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
2tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
plenty of salt and pepper.

Rinse the tomatoes thoroughly under the tap and let them stand in a colander to drip off the excess water.
Next, core the cucumber by running a teaspoon down the middle and removing all the seeds. Chop into smallish dice of roughly the same size.
In a medium bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, parsley, coriander, spring onions and sumac. Mix the dressing ingredients together and season generously.
Toss the salad in the dressing and serve right away.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016


On my most recent trip to Italy, I did not get to sample the rustic Italian salad of Panzanella. I would have loved nothing more to sample panzanella, cooked lovingly by Italian nonna's and overlooking a beautiful scenic view. I first made this rustic salad way back in 2011 when I was just starting out my  cookery book collection and sampling new cuisines and flavours. Gosh, I feel old. Tomatoes are in season and if you head to your local market you can pick up some good fresh and succulent tomatoes.  One of my favourite salad cookbooks (yes I have a small collection of salad cookery books) is a Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood. Whilst this panzanella is not unique (loads of Italians would have their own version and this is a salad covered by many well known chefs), I really like this version. Easy to make, lots of flavour and nothing too complicated. If you want to make this veggie, omit the capers, but keep them in, if you do like me which is to serve with a piece of chicken. Perfect for Summer nights.

Serves 6
1.5 kg ripe tomatoes on the vine, rinsed under the tap
1/2 tsp soft brown sugar
sea salt
300g stale sourdough bread, torn into roughly equal chunks
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
120ml extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smashed and minced into a paste
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed under the tap (optional)
1 large red onion, very thinly slice
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cut into rough chunks
a large handful basil, roughly torn

Roughly chop the tomatoes. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar as well as a good pinch of salt. Let the tomatoes stand for 20 minutes then add the bread. Stand for a further 10 minutes, so that all the tomato liquid at the bottom of bowl I absorbed by the bread.
Mix the vinegar with the lemon juice and olive oil. Toss the tomatoes and bread with this dressing, then add the remaining ingredients before serving.
Making this salad slightly ahead when you eat it means that the flavours will have extra time to infuse and mingle, which will only improve the flavour.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Breakfast Salad of Bacon, Eggs Fried Bread and Frisse

Now that Spring is upon us, my palette is more open to having salads. It's not that I dislike salad, but salad for me, is similar to soup in that I associate both with seasons. This salad, inspired by the classic breakfast dish bacon and eggs, is taken from the Spring chapter in Harry Eastwood's wonderful book "A Salad For All Seasons". I enjoyed this during a mid-week lunch and whilst I enjoy bacon and eggs in a bap or sandwiched between toast, this salad, is a brilliant and healthier spin on a classic.

Serves 2 

120g lardons
100g stale bread, broken into chunks
a little salt and black pepper
2 large free-range eggs
a small head frisse lettuce
1 small banana shall, cut into tiny dice

For the dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp half-fat creme fraiche
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Set a full kettle on to boil. Heat the lardons in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the stale bread to the pan with the lardon juices and season with a little salt and pepper. Once the bread is crunch and coloured, turn off the heat and set aside. Do not wash the pan,
Meanwhile, lower the eggs into boiling water and cook for exactly 6 minutes. This will ensure you have a cooked egg with a runny middle.
Next, whisk the mustard, mayonnaise, olive oil and creme fraiche in the now empty frying pan until combined. Thin down the dressing with the vinegar then taste and season.
Toss the salad leaves into the pan and coat them with the dressing before dividing between two plates. Scatter the lardons, fried bread and dices shallot over the top.
Peel the eggs and cut in half. Set on top of the finished salad with a crunch of black pepper. Serve warm.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Classic Cobb Salad plus Giveaway.

I'm all for a good salad, but it has to be filling. I'm not one for a plate of lettuce, tomatoes and spring onions. How boring. Instead, I like my salads to be filled with a variety of ingredients, appealing to the eye, a combination of meat and leafy vegetables with some dairy thrown in the mix. I've been trying to have more salad, mainly at lunchtime, as I can easily get into a repetition or a cycle for a better word of eating the same sort of lunch until I become tired of it. I do hope to grow from liking salad to loving salad and for it to be included as the main show for my evening meal and not as a small starter a prerequisite of better things to come Whilst I'm getting there, I spent an evening gathering some of my salad books (it seems kind of weird to have several salad books but not love salad, but that's being a cook book addict) and writing down some recipes that I must try in Spring-Summer 2015. Harry Eastwood's A Salad For All Seasons, came out on top with the variety of salad recipes to try and this Classic Cobb recipe coming a resounding top. Not sure what a Classic Cobb salad, well Harry states that this salad originated in California in the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant and is a combination of greens, eggs, chicken and cheese). 
I thoroughly enjoyed the different flavours, textures and the colourful presentation of the salad which was served with a beautiful salad dressing. My version of this recipe is slightly different as I did not have all the ingredients at hand, however it still taste scrumptious. I used my trusted OXO Good Grips Salad Dresser. Dressings made in this salad shaker can last up to 3 days (perfect for salads in the following days) in the fridge and makes a fashionable to your kitchen table. 
Here is how my version of the Classic Cobb Salad.
Classic Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad
Recipe for Classic Cobb Salad
440 Calories per portion
2 1/2 of your five a day

Serves 6
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1 medium avocado cut into squares
salt and pepper, to taste
3 large eggs, boiled for 7 minutes
200g streaky smoked bacon salad
2 onions
2 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp vegetable oil
8 medium, ripe tomatoes on the vine
6 handfuls romaine lettuce, washed and roughly torn
6 handfuls watercress leaves torn from the stem
200g roasted chicken meat, roughly torn
100g mature cheddar cheese, shaved with a potato peeler

For the dressing
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, minces
4 tbsp walnut oil
a good pinch of salt.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a salad shaker (I use Oxo Good Grips) and give a good shake. Taste and season if needed.
Squeeze the 1/2 lemon over the avocado chunks and toss to coat. Season well with salt and pepper. Peel the eggs and roughly chop them.
Fry the bacon in a large, dry frying pan. Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Lightly wipe the pan with paper but don't ah it.
Next toss the onion slices in the flour. Heat the vegetable oil in the pan and fry the onion slices over a high heat until golden and crisp all over. Set aside.
Cut the tomatoes across the waist and scoop out the seeds and middle with a teaspoon. Roughly chop the flesh and discard the seeds.
Toss the leaves in half the salad dressing and arrange at the bottom of your serving platter. Next, add the seasoned avocado, followed by the tomatoes, chicken, bacon, chopped eggs, fried onions and cheese. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over and serve. When helping yourself, make sure you dig in and get a bit of everything.

The lovely people at Oxo are giving one lucky reader a Salad Dressing Shaker. I for one will be lost without mine and you certainly need this product as the Summer months are upon us. To be in with a chance of winning this, follow the instructions.

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  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 7 July 2014

Round up of foodie goodies

I have been sent some lovely food products over the last couple of months. Instead of writing an individual blog post (as I usually do) per item reviewed I have decided to write a review post every other month of the products that I have reviewed.

Tefal Optigrill
The lovely people from Tefal have introduced the innovative Optigrill a professional grill chef at home that can cook a variety of meats, alongside vegetables and pannis. I fell in love with the Optigrill as it is the perfect way of cooking meats - the audible alarm ensures that the meats are not overcooked alongside the intelligent cooking level indicator. This has come firm favourite within my home and I have cooked a variety of dishes using the Optigrill. There are 7 cooking settings: steak, burger, pork, chicken, fish, sausage and manual. The Optigrill is a brilliant way of ensuring that meats are cooked in healthier way as any fat from the meats is drained and collected in a tray I know you all are health conscious out there especially in the heat of the summer we want a healthier way of cooking meat. At£150.00 this isn't the cheapest grill on the market, but I certainly think any food lover would make a wise decision investing in this grill.

Cooking on the optigrill.

Jane Plan diet
Described as a life changing weight loss from the woman who knows, Jane Michell lost 2 stone devising her own weight loss plan. The Jane Plan diet is about making food fad free (no processed food!) and fuss free. The Jane Plan diet contains over 70 delicious recipes. Also includes The Skinny Rules, rules which enables dieters to stay on track. My favourite part of this book is the recipes, although there are no accompanying pictures, I made a couple of recipes from this book and followed the rules and managed to lose 4 lbs in a week. This book is published by  Here are the pictures for the low carb scrambled eggs with parma ham and the delicious Mediterranean chicken bake.

Mediterranean chicken bake

Mediterranean chicken bake
Scrambled egg and parma ham. 

It's summer and nothing quite says summer than a lovely light crispy salad. I most always accompany many of my evening meals with a salad during the summer months. Florette salads have a wide range of salads and flavours such as rocket, classic crispy, sweet and crunchy and Caesar salad. I've always been partial to the peppery crispy salad as this is more suitable to my taste buds. What I also like about the florette salads is they have a website which contains a large selection of recipes and decided to recreate the chicken and bacon salad from the website. Florette salads are widely available in supermarkets near you.

Chicken and bacon salad.

Harry Eastwoods A Salad For All Seasons
I have a large collection of cookbooks, but only have one cookbook dedicated to salads until now, Harry Eastwood's A Salad For All Seasons  has become a firm favourite in my ever growing collection. There are over 70 salad recipes in this book which are split according to the four weather seasons, there is no need for boring salads anymore. I made the Thanksgiving salad which is included in the Autumn chapter, I know this dish is very summery but I loved the idea of butternut squash, turkey slices, cranberries, nuts, seeds and rocket.
A Salad For All Seasons
Thanksgiving salad.

Many thanks to Tefal, Piatkus and Florette salads for the review opportunities.

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