Exotic Fruit Salad (4)

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My local Farmer’s Market has a wonderful tropical fruit stand selling a wide variety of ripe, colorful exotic fruits – some I have never seen or heard of before. I bought a bright and varied selection of them and made a show stopping fruit salad – containing mango, papaya, kiwi fruit and the lesser know yellow dragon fruit (a sweeter version of the bright pink dragon fruit). Dragon fruits are, happily, becoming easier to find in supermarkets these days. The fruits should be cut into pieces of roughly equal size. Try and make sure that some of the good juices end up in the fruit salad too.

1 mango – cut into cubes

1/2 a papaya – de-seeded and cut into cubes

1 yellow dragon fruit – cut each half into cubes

2 kiwi fruit – peeled and cut into pieces

Place all in a serving dish. It is good for a breakfast too.

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Coleslaw with Kale (4)

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There is something about coleslaw that is so appealing whether it is store bought, homemade, or a side in a restaurant alongside a burger. If eating out with friends I often trade sides – one gets French fries, the other coleslaw – and we share. So I have tasted my fair share of coleslaw. It can be too vinegary or heavy on the mayo. My sauce is made of a mixture of mayonnaise (store bought is fine), freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. To cabbage and carrots I add scallions, raisins and kale (only the frilly edges of kale and then finely chopped).

1/2 a smallish cabbage – shredded using a food processor

4 medium carrots – grated in a food processor

2 stems of kale – use only the frilly outer edges of the leaves and chop finely

1 bunch of scallions – just the white bits, outer skin removed and finely chopped

1 x 1 oz. packet of raisins

3 tbsp. mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Place the first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, then pour over the vegetables and toss well together.

 

Cranberry Tuna Salad (2 – 4)

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Tuna Salad, that staple of the deli counter, is something that most people like – cold comfort food.  By playing around with the basics I may be alienating the classic tuna salad aficionados, but I hope not. Give it a try just once. The additions are dried cranberries or craisins as they are sometimes called, celery salt and lemon juice.

1 x 6.7 oz. jar or can of tuna – flaked

3 large scallions/spring onions or 1 bunch – finely chopped

2 sticks of celery – finely chopped

Handful of dried cranberries

A good pinch of celery salt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well together.

Melon with Mango Sauce and Lime (4)

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Summer is peak season for mangoes in Florida. They drop off the trees and scatter over the ground and sidewalks. People literally can’t give them away and squirrels can’t get enough of them. Cantaloupe melons are also at their best and this really is a seasonal recipe to be enjoyed in the moment and put away for next year. The sweetness of the two ingredients is cut by the addition of lime juice and zest. For the melon I use a melon baller but if you don’t have one then cut the cantaloupe into chunks. Puree the mango to make a sauce which you can either pour over the melon balls or serve on the side so people can help themselves. Makes a quite decadent breakfast or a simple, thirst-quenching dessert.

1 x cantaloupe melon – de-seeded and cut into melon balls

1 x mango – peeled and cut into chunks

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lime

Place the melon balls in a serving dish

Puree the mango in a food processor along with the lime juice, then either drizzle over the melon or pour into a sauce bowl.

Grate lime zest over the melon.

French Green Beans and Baby Tomatoes with Tapenade (4)

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French green beans or haricots verts as they are known in France are a thinner version of the traditional green beans found in the US and UK and I much prefer them. In France haricots verts and tomatoes are often combined, whether it be in a salad or a hot dish such as this. I have added tapenade – a traditional Mediterranean appetizer often served on toasted bread in a similar way to bruschetta or used as a dip for crudites – and stirred it in with the vegetables. Tapenade at its most basic combines black olives, capers and olive oil. My version also includes anchovies, garlic and lemon juice. If you don’t want to make it yourself you may be able to find it in your local supermarket. Goes well with lamb or firm white fish.

8 oz thin green beans – topped, tailed and cut in half

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

8 oz cherry tomatoes – cut in half

1 tbsp. tapenade (or more if you want)

Boil the green beans for just a few minutes until ‘al dente’, then drain.

At the same time put 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft and browned on both sides.

Add the beans and 1 tbsp. of tapenade to the pan with the tomatoes and the juices and toss well together.

TAPENADE (makes approx. 1 cup – which is more than you need for this recipe)

1 x cup pitted black olives

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 heaped tbsp. curly parsley

1 tbsp. capers – drained

1 large clove garlic – cut into small pieces

4 anchovies

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend to your desired consistency.

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Pomegranate Salad with Chicken (4)

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I love to sprinkle them over salads adding both color and taste. However this recipe uses the seeds as an integral part of the dish.  It is a lovely light salad and looks very attractive. Omit the chicken and it is perfect for vegans and vegetarians.

Arugula

2 x cooked chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces

1/2 pomegranate – seeded

1 tbsp. red onion – finely chopped

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

1/2 an English cucumber

1 avocado – cubed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lime

 

Line the serving dish with arugula

Place the next 6 ingredients on top of the arugula, season with salt and pepper, pour the lime juice over the salad and toss well.

 

 

 

 

Chicken, Blueberry and Avocado Salad (4)

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A lovely light salad – good for lunch – served on a bed of arugula with a lemon dressing. If you want to cheat you can buy a pre-cooked chicken.

1 chicken breast – poached or equivalent amount of pre-cooked chicken

Arugula – enough to use as a bed to put the chicken

Juice of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp.  olive oil – if poaching

1 avocado – diced

4 oz. blueberries

If poaching chicken, place chicken on a piece of aluminum foil and pour over juice of 1 lemon and the oil. Wrap chicken into a parcel and place in over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so until chicken is cooked through.

Line a serving dish with arugula.

Cut chicken breast into small pieces and arrange on  bed of arugula.

Scatter avocado over chicken pieces, then sprinkle with blueberries.

Toss with lemon dressing or serve dressing on the side.

Lemon Dressing

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk together the mustard and lemon juice until smooth then add the oil and continue whisking until amalgamated or shake mixture in a small screw top jar.