Herby Bean Salad (4)

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Beans, particularly cannellini, beans, are a staple in my kitchen cupboard. They are so versatile, can be served in both cold and hot dishes, are filling and are also good for you. This recipe is just a simple cold dish and uses a great blend of fresh herbs – mint, parsley and cilantro – and a little red onion. It is best left for half an hour or so before serving to let the flavors develop.

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 heaped tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

1 heaped tbsp. each of fresh parsley, cilantro, mint – finely chopped

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl place beans, red onion and herbs and mix together.

Then add the vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix again.

Leave to stand for some 30 minutes before serving.

 

 

Tomato-Based Salad (4)

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This is a no-lettuce salad and is literally a selection of green vegetables mixed with some cold, cooked chicken heaped on a base of slices of a ripe, beefsteak tomato.  If you buy a pre-cooked chicken this dish takes no time at all and if you omit the chicken you have a vegetarian/vegan meal. Very easy to transport either as a lunch or to assemble for a picnic.

1 large, ripe beefsteak tomato

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. edamame beans

4 oz. asparagus (take the tips and an equal amount of the asparagus stem)

1 cooked chicken breast

Cut the tomato into 4 slices and place on a serving dish.

Place peas, edamame beans and asparagus in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain veg. and place in a bowl of iced water to prevent further cooking.

Cut cooked chicken breast into small pieces.

Place veg. and chicken in a mixing bowl. Pour apple cider vinaigrette (see below) over and mix well together.

Place a good serving of veg/chicken mixture on each slice of tomato

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk mustard and apple cider vinegar together until smooth.

Whisk in the olive oil until mixture is emulsified

 

 

 

Crab Salad (4)

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A perfect summer salad – lump crabmeat

with avocado, celery and romaine lettuce tossed in  mayonnaise diluted with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

1 head of romaine lettuce – finely chopped

1 avocado – diced

2 sticks of celery – diced

8 oz lump crabmeat

2 tbsp. mayonniase

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pinches of cayenne pepper

Place lettuce, avocado, celery and crabmeat in a large bowl.

Whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper together, then pour over the salad ingredients and toss well.

Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the top.

 

Bean, Avocado and Radish Salad (4)

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I love this so much I have eaten it for lunch 3 days in a row! It is simple and quick to make and quite substantial. I toss it in an apple cider vinaigrette and sprinkle microgreens over the top.

1 X 15 oz can of cannellini beans

1 avocado – diced

1 largish red radish

1 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped (or more, if you like)

Small handful of microgreens

Place first four ingredients in a bowl, toss with apple cider vinaigrette (1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar – dissolve mustard in the vinegar – and 3 tbsp. olive oil).

Sprinkle microgreens over the top.

Egg and Bean Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (4)

Originally this was an eat up what is in the fridge salad and I had no intention of writing about it but it tasted good – so nice in fact that it was gone before I thought about taking a photo! I had a head of romaine lettuce which needed using and some left over cannellini beans. There were a couple of hard-boiled eggs as there often are in the fridge and I had part of a red onion. My apple cider vinaigrette is a little softer and sweeter than a regular dressing and apple cider has health benefits and is now my go-to dressing.

I head of romaine lettuce – chopped

2 hard boiled eggs – sliced and chopped

1 can of cannellini beans – rinsed and drained

1/8 to 1/4 of a red onion (depending on how much you like raw onion) – finely chopped

Compose a salad with the above ingredients and toss with apple cider vinaigrette (below)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and vinegar until smooth.

Add oil and whisk until dressing is emulsified

Pour over salad and toss,

 

Catharine’s Brunch (per serving)

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Staying with friends and lingering over a late breakfast is a rare treat. Catharine served us this versatile dish – can be a healthy dish for brunch if you add scrambled eggs, a dinner party appetizer or a light lunch. The dressing is a kind of mayonnaise but so easy to make unlike real mayonnaise where the oil has to be dripped in slowly and there is the possibility of curdling.

I am giving the ingredients per person:

Handful of arugula

2 slices of smoked salmon – cut into small pieces

1/2 an avocado – diced

Compose the ingredients on a plate

Dressing (makes more than needed)

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. coarse mustard

2 pinches sugar

5 fl. oz olive oil

Whisk egg yolk, vinegar, mustard and sugar together then add the oil a little at a time and continue whisking all the while.

Put little blobs of dressing around the plate.

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (4)

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Growing up in England in the 60’s and 70’s the idea of a salad was a far cry from the salads of of today. The English salad was a handy dish because it was cold. It was sometimes served on Sunday evenings after the woman of the house had slaved over preparing Sunday lunch for the family often when the man of the house decided a few pints at the local pub was in order and he returned home only in time to take his place at the head of the table and demonstrate his carving skills. On Sunday evening a no-fuss meal of salad might be provided and of course it was a good way of using up the cold, left-over meat from lunch. A salad could also be left for the man of the house to eat if his wife had to be out in the evening. Said man didn’t have to heat  anything up as he was left a plate with some lettuce and slices of tomato, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and beetroot from a jar and a couple of slices of cold meat. The dressing was Heinz Salad Cream – still to be found today and, indeed, when there was talk of this product being discontinued a nostalgic furore ensued – today Heinz is still making Salad Cream!

When I came across mention of this vinaigrette the combination of flavors instantly appealed and the dressing didn’t let me down when I tossed tomato slices and chunks of avocado in it.

2 x beef tomatoes – sliced and each slice cut into quarters

1 x avocado – diced

For the dressing:

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

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 largish garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. of chopped basil

Place the dressing ingredients in a largish bowl and whisk together so that they emulsify.

Add tomatoes and avocado and toss well together.