Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad with Red Onion and Caper Garnish (4)

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One of my favorite salads – very simple, very tasty. I use the tuna that comes in a jar with oil or water as it has a better flavor than regular canned tuna (and fresh grilled tuna would be the ultimate). The basic recipe is tuna, cannellini beans, and red onion slices nestled on a bed of shredded lettuce garnished with capers and served with an apple cider vinaigrette.

Romaine lettuce – shredded

1 x 7 oz jar of tuna – drained and broken into small pieces

1 x 15 oz can of cannellini beans – rinse and drained

Several slices of red onion – depending on how much you like it

2 tsp capers for garnishing (optional)

Place the lettuce on a platter and put the beans and tuna on top, sprinkle with red onion and top with olives. Toss with dressing or let people serve themselves.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix mustard and vinegar until they make a smooth liquid.

Add the oil and season with salt and pepper and whisk together (for the best results place in an old jar with a lid and give the ingredients a good shake – this will emulsify the dressing).

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Lentils and Beans with Lime and Cilantro (4)

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Pulses in all guises are some of my most favorite foods and the bonus is that they are good for you. This really is so quick to make and would be perfect to take to work for lunch. I served it alongside chicken (poached in lemon juice and olive oil) but it stands alone too for a satisfying vegan/vegetarian dish.

1 can of lentils (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 can of cannellini beans (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 heaped tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Juice of half a lime

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Eggs and Prosciutto (4)

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Perfect for an appetizer, light lunch or quickly assembled for a picnic this is a bit of a riff on ‘Asparagus Mimosa’, where hard boiled eggs are pushed through a sieve and placed atop spears of asparagus.  I took thin, baby asparagus spears in season, cooked them until just ‘al dente’ and sprinkled chopped, hard-boiled eggs and thin, crispy strips of prosciutto over the asparagus. I served it with an apple cider vinaigrette.

8 oz baby asparagus spears

2 eggs – hard boiled

3 slices of prosciutto – cut into fine strips and fried till crispish

Place asparagus spears in a skillet and cover with boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for only a couple of minutes (prick with a fork to see if they are just nicely tender) then drain and run cold water over them till they are cool to prevent any more cooking or, if you prefer cover with cold water and add some ice cubes.

When spears are cool put them in a clean, dry T-towel, pat dry and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle over the chopped boiled egg and the crispy prosciutto.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Mix mustard and vinegar together until smooth. Add oil and whisk until emulsified.

 

Cauliflower Tabbouleh (4)

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Cauliflower is in vogue at the moment popping up as cauliflower rice, cauliflower steaks and even as cauliflower tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a popular middle eastern vegan and vegetarian dish.  It seems that people have their own take on the recipe but the basic ingredients are bulgur wheat, tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, oil and lemon juice. I replaced the bulgur wheat with cauliflower (finely processed in the food processor) and I added cucumber, garlic and feta cheese. I imagine that this would make a good packed lunch.

8 oz. cauliflower – cut into florets

4 oz. plum tomatoes – cut into very small pieces

2 oz. English cucumber – cut into very small pieces

1 oz. red onion – cut into very small pieces

1 oz. feta cheese – cut into very small pieces

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove of garlic – grated

1 tbsp. mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process cauliflower florets in food processor then place in a large mixing bowl.

Add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion and feta cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice and grated garlic and pour over the cauliflower mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well.

 

 

 

Chicken, Arugula, Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Mustard and Anchovy Dressing (4)

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I love this salad!  There are lots of textures and flavors, none of which dominate the other and they seem to complement each other too. I poached the chicken in my usual way which gives the chicken more flavor (place chicken on aluminum foil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle over 1 tbsp. olive oil and juice of half a lemon and cook for half an hour). When making a dressing I like to put the ingredients in a jar with a screw top lid and give the ingredients a good shake until they emulsify.

1 large chicken breast – poached (see above) and cut into bite size pieces.

1/2 a cauliflower – cut into smallish florets, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 oz. arugula (it is more than it sounds)

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1/2 a shallot – finely chopped

Place dressing in a large mixing bowl.

Add arugula and toss well.

Then, in order, add chicken, cauliflower, chickpeas and shallot one by one tossing well before adding the next ingredient. This ensures a good, even coating of dressing.

Lemon Anchovy Dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 – 4 anchovy fillets (try 2 to start with a taste) – finely chopped

Mix lemon juice and mustard until smooth then add oil and anchovies.

 

 

 

Jo’s ‘Pizzette’ (4 or more if for Tapas)

 

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This little invention of mine, ‘pizzette’, is a cross between the Italian pizza and the Spanish omelette. Basically it is an omelette topped with things you might (or might not) find on a pizza and you can vary the toppings endlessly – today I used harissa paste, spinach and sliced new potatoes. You can serve it hot or cold; you can serve it as a meal, or you can cut it up into slices/pieces and serve as tapas/hors d’oeuvres.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs

a spoonful or two of harissa paste (depending on how hot you like things) plus a bit extra to put on each slice of potato

5 oz. spinach – rinsed then wilted in a small skillet/frying pan

4 – 6 new potatoes – boiled and sliced

When omelette is cooked (tricky part is turning it over) place it on a plate and smear all over with harissa paste.

Place spinach on top and then slices of potato on top of spinach.

Pop a small blob of harissa paste on each slice of potato.