Herby Bean Salad (4)

20170716_104001

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.

 

 

Sweet Summer Fruits (4)

20170713_073041

The season is short for such fruits as apricots, nectarines and peaches which makes it all the more precious. I found all three fruits in beautifully ripe condition and I sliced them up and roasted them in the oven which intensified their flavor – they were absolutely heavenly as a dessert all by themselves.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 ripe apricots – sliced

1 large, ripe nectarine – sliced

1 large peach – sliced

Place the sliced fruits on a piece of aluminum foil on a baking tray and roast in the oven for half an hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

Kate’s Parslied Potatoes (4)

FullSizeRender(55)

A new twist on new potatoes.

1 pound new potatoes

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil the new potatoes for 10 minutes or so until tender, drain and crush slightly with a potato masher before placing in a serving dish.

Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle chopped parsley over the potatoes and season with slat and pepper and, finally, mix well together.

 

Tomato-Based Salad (4)

FullSizeRender(54)

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

 

 

 

Greens and New Potatoes (4)

IMG_2027

Why serve one or two vegetables when you can a whole lot of veg. that complement each other nicely –  green vegetables with potatoes added into the mix and raw chopped shallot to add a bit of a bite with lemon butter mixed in. When I say butter I don’t mean the real thing as it contains lactose but there is a good vegan alternative – Earth Balance brand – which I have recently discovered. It is best to cook all the vegetables until just ‘al dente’. This dish goes equally well with meat or fish and would also be a good vegetarian/vegan meal.

8 oz. new potatoes – halved or quartered depending on size of potatoes

8 oz. thin asparagus – cut into 2″ pieces

8 oz. broccoli florets

8 oz. frozen edamame beans

8 oz. peas – fresh if possible, otherwise frozen

1 shallot – finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon – Meyer variety if possible (less acidic)

1 good tbsp. butter alternative

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook all vegetables individually in the order given, draining each one and placing in a warmed serving dish, then cooking the next vegetable in the retained water, etc, etc. until all the veg. are cooked.

Add the chopped shallot.

Pour over the lemon/butter alternative and mix well until butter alternative is melted.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Bean, Avocado and Radish Salad (4)

FullSizeRender(47)

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.

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (4)

fullsizerender39

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.