Category Archives: Salads

Feta and Roasted Vegetable Bulghar-Wheat Salad

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This tasty salad makes a nice change from the old ham sandwiches. It’s really easy to make and lasts all week so I tend to make a huge tub of it on a Sunday and it will keep until Friday – not that it ever really lasts that long. It looks really posh too.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

1/2 butternut squash, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1/2 courgette, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup of bulghar wheat
1 vegetable stock cube
handful spinach, chopped
100g feta
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 160*C whilst you prepare the vegetables. Throw them into a bowl and coat well in the sunflower oil. Add a teaspoon of each of the herbs and put on a baking tray in the oven to roast for 40-50 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, add the bulghar wheat to the a bowl and cover with two cups of boiling water. Add the stock cube and stir well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

When the bulghar wheat has soaked up the water, add the vegetables to it. Leave to cool before crumbling over the feta, adding the herbs and adding the chopped spinach. Chop the tomatoes and add to the salad. Season well and store in the fridge.

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Middle-East Feast

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We would certainly recommend this as a lazy weekend afternoon set of recipes. There’s nothing particularly difficult here, but it’s nice to get everything together in a leisurely manner – even factoring in time for a mid-aftermoon cocktail! Equally you needn’t cook everything here, feel free to mix and match as you see fit!

feast

Serves 4-5

Harissa Lamb Kebabs

Ingredients

400g lamb steaks, cut into inch cubes

Marinade

1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
a few cloves, ground
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Method

Mix up the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stick in the lamb and smush around till all sides of are coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. 15 minutes before you plan to eat, remove from the fridge and stick on a skewer, leaving a small gap between each cube. Stick under a medium grill for 10-15 minutes (or to your preference) turning every so often until the outsides are slightly charred and hey presto.

Oven-Baked Aubergine

Ingredients

1 large aubergine
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
few handfuls of raisins
handful walnuts, chopped up

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Halve the aubergine lengthways and slash the cut side. Wipe all over with olive oil, stick in a roasting tin and season with salt, pepper and a little paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile sweat the onions and garlic in a little oil, add the spices and cinnamon stick, raisins and nuts and a little water. Cook till the onions are translucent, adding water if things start to stick. Remove the aubergine from the oven, take off the foil, cover in the mush and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Flatbreads

See here

Hummus

Ingredients

1 tin of chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika

Method

Drain the chickpeas, preserving the water in a separate jug. Whizz them up with a blender until they are crushed, before adding the tahini paste, lemon juice, paprika and seasoning. Whizz a little more, a cautiously add bits of the chickpea water until you reach the desired consistency.

Tasty Tabbouleh

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large handful of herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Method

Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs to a bowl. Drizzle over the oil and lemon juice, season well.

Yoghurt, Two Ways

Ingredients

400g natural yoghurt
1 tsp harissa paste
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
handful fresh mint, basil and coriander leaves, roughly torn
squeeze of lemon juice
pepper

Method

Add half the yoghurt to one bowl, stir in the harissa. Add the rest of the ingredients to a separate bowl, stir and that is essentially it! Time to enjoy all this incredible food!

J&W

Arancini Wraps

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Following our trip to the Paralympics via The Arancini Brothers and an amazing meal at Canteen on Clifton Street we fell in love with a little-known Italian snack known as arancini. You may be thinking, like my housemate: WHO IS THIS AARON CHENEY GUY?! Well, firstly he’s not a guy. And if he was he definitely wouldn’t be called Aaron. Not exotic enough. To put you out of your misery, arancini is effectively deep-fried risotto balls, which probably isn’t the most appealing way of selling it. But trust us, it’s gurrrrrd.

This is our take on the Arancini Brothers wrap we shared in London. It also involves deep fried crispy onions so isn’t the healthiest snack around, but if you don’t make it your staple diet you’ll probably be ok! PS. You can follow the one of the Arancini Brothers on WordPress here.

Makes approx. 15 arancini

Ingredients

200g arborio risotto rice
25g butter
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1l vegetable stock
glug of white wine
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp basil
pinch salt and pepper
bowl of flour/polenta
1 egg, beaten

Crispy Onions

1 medium onion in the colour of your choice
1 cup buttermilk (milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp chilli powder
pinch salt and pepper

Salad

shredded lettuce
2-3 chopped chillis
10-15 baby tomatoes
1 apple, thinly sliced

Garnish

2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
few shredded fresh coriander leaves

Wraps

ingredients and method here

Method

Melt butter in frying pan, add the rice and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until the rice goes translucent around the edges. Add onions, a glug of wine, stir and let the rice soak up the wine (still on the heat). When it has soaked up all the liquid, add the vegetable stock a little at a time, stirring occasionally. Throw in the herbs, salt and pepper, continue until rice is cooked adding more liquid when necessary. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

While the risotto cools, chop the other onion, mix up the batter then add the chopped onion. Now is probably a good time to mix up your garlic mayo – finely chop the garlic, rip up the coriander and stir into the mayonnaise.

Put the flour and/or polenta in a bowl and beat the egg in a separate bowl. Clump the risotto into balls that fit neatly into your palms, dip them in the egg and roll them in flour so they are completely covered. Heat enough oil in a saucepan to cover the risotto balls and drop them in (use tongs to avoid getting burnt!) a few at a time. Once golden and crispy (approx. 5-7 minutes) remove and dab with kitchen roll to remove excess oil.

Once all the arancini have been fried up, fry the onions, again dabbing with kitchen roll. Stick a little bit of everything in a wrap, add a little chilli jam squash down the arancini to make it easier to fold and enjoy!

J&W

Picnic Loaf

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This picnic loaf makes for the easiest and most impressive sandwiches at any picnic, even at short notice. The idea is that you take one loaf of bread, take out most of the filling and replace it with layers of your favourite sandwich fillings. I must admit I ‘borrowed’ this recipe from the Co-op magazine but it was so incredible, I had to share it!

Ingredients

1 medium round loaf (400g)
3 sweet peppers – it looks best if you have three different colours eg. red, orange and yellow
1 medium courgette
125g ball mozzarella
2 good handfuls fresh basil
8 (approx) cherry or baby plum tomatoes
1 handful spinach (or similar leaves)
black pepper

Note: these are just suggested ingredients. Why not try: Parma ham, chorizo, chicken, tuna, avocado, chilli, grated carrot, smoked salmon, cream cheese, sausage, caramelised red onions, mustard, beetroot, bacon, spring onion, pesto…?

Method

Start by preparing your veg. Chop the peppers into quarters, slice the courgettes fairly thinly and cut the tomatoes in half. Roughly chop the basil and slice the mozzarella as thinly as you can without it breaking up too much.

Put the peppers skin-side-up on a baking tray and put under the grill until the skin burns. The tricky bit here is charring as much of the skin as you can without filling the kitchen with smoke. When the skins are sufficiently black, put the peppers in a plastic food bag and allow them to steam for around ten minutes. Meanwhile, grill the courgettes until just cooked and leave to cool.

Take the peppers out of the bag and peel off the skin (you will notice this is a lot easier where the skin is black). Allow to cool.

Slice the top off your loaf and hollow out the middle. Leave around 1-2cm around the edge to retain some structural integrity. I suggest you keep the scooped out bread and make some breadcrumbs (see tip below). Layer all of your filling ingredients neatly in the centre of the loaf and push down firmly as you go to cram in as much tasty stuff as you can. Add a few twists of fresh black pepper in there along the way. Replace the lid as neatly as you can. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour before packing in your picnic hamper – don’t forget to pack a bread knife.

It will last around a day (but expect a certain amount of soggy bread) in the fridge is you want to make it a bit longer in advance.

Making breadcrumbs

Take some unloved bread. Break up or slice into small pieces. If not already, leave to go stale. You can hurry this process up a bit by putting the bread in a warm place (for about a day) or a low temperature oven (for around fifteen minutes). Shake and break up the pieces every now and again. When stale, whizz them in a blender. Sprinkle over your pasta bake, use them to coat fishcakes or freeze them for another day.

Enjoy!

W

Ultimate Summer Picnic

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So, the weather brightened up meaning it is time for a picnic! As it has been grey for the last 6 weeks, I really wasn’t expecting this, so the following recipes are made from store-cupboard ingredients plus a few leftover fruit and vegetables from the previous week’s shop that I jazzed up a little. All of the recipes are designed not to leave halves of things such as tins of sweetcorn or peppers, but don’t be scared to play around with the quantities of ingredients so you don’t waste anything.

Jill’s Rice Salad

This salad is a. mazing. I could actually eat it forever.

Ingredients

3 cups (just approximately, these are not standard ‘cups’) of wild rice
4 spring onions, finely sliced
handful of walnuts, chopped
small bag of cranberries (the kind you buy for a lunchbox)
honey and mustard dressing (or make your own – see below for recipe)
1 granny smith apple, chopped into small cubes

Method

Boil the rice until it is slightly undercooked. Meanwhile, you can prepare the fruit, nuts and vegetables. Take the rice off the boil and drain. Add the honey and mustard dressing whilst still warm and allow to cool. When the rice is cool, add the fruit, nuts and vegetables. Mix and serve.

Honey & Mustard Dressing

Mix 2 tsp french or Dijon mustard, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp balsamic or white wine vinegar, 2 tsp honey, salt and pepper together in a cup. Serve with salad.

Jill’s Pasta Salad

So with the lashings of thousand island dressing, this one shouldn’t really qualify for the title ‘salad’, but after a few spoons, you won’t even care any more.

Ingredients

4 cups of pasta such as penne or conchiglie
1 tin of mixed bean salad
3/4 tin sweetcorn
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3 tbsp approx thousand island dressing

Method

Cook the pasta and allow to cool. Mix in the other ingredients.

Greens & Carrot Salad

This salad is big on iron, perfect for all you anaemics out there.

Ingredients

2 handfuls of green stuff: lettuce, spinach, pak choi, rocket, a mixture, whatever you’re in to
1 large carrot, grated
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 satsuma

Method

Throw all except the satsuma into a bowl. Chop the satsuma in half. Peel and chop one half into small pieces and scatter into the salad. Cut the other half into two and squeeze the juice over the salad just prior to serving.

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 ball mozzarella, chopped or sliced as you like it
loads of fresh basil/oregano

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dried basil

Method

Mix the tomatoes, pepper, mozzarella and fresh herbs in a bowl. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together in a mug and pour over the salad just before serving. Ideally serve with lots of fresh bread to mop up the excess dressing.

Enjoy!

W

Larb Gai Thai Chicken Salad

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So I stumbled across this dish the other day and amalgamated all the online recipes I found into my own. I couldn’t wait to try it out, so when W rang to say she was having a miserable journey home I jumped at the opportunity when she (jokingly…I think) asked me to come over and make her dinner. I’m just that kind of guy.

This is a bit “wetter” than a traditional larb gai, I think. I would call this a medium-hot dish with the spicing suggested, however it is entirely subjective. For example, my sister’s head would probably have exploded had she got her gnashers round it but a hardened curry connoisseur probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Or bowl an earlobe. Or catch a nosehair.

Serves 3-4 (or 2 with leftovers for lunch)

Ingredients

400g chicken breast, cut into strips
200ml coconut milk/cream
1 medium red onion, diced
6 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
4 tbsp cashews/peanuts/almonds, crushed
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric*
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (or one small fresh chilli, diced)

*I just so happened to have some fresh turmeric (*cough* stolen from home).
I grated a piece approx 3cm x 1cm (length x diameter) into the dish

to serve:
handful green beans/mange tout
handful fresh mint leaves
mixed leaf salad
rice

Method

Put the rice on the boil in a saucepan. Toast the nuts in a frying pan (without oil) until browned, then remove and place somewhere for safe keeping (trying not to eat them while you make the rest of the dish!). Add a little oil and sear the chicken on a high heat until it starts to brown. Chuck in the onion, spring onions, garlic, sugar and spices and give a good stir. Then pour in the coconut cream, soy sauce and squeeze in most of the lime juice – leaving just a little oomph left in your lime. Try saying that ten times quickly.

Drain your rice (once cooked, obviously) and stick back in the saucepan. Reduce the liquid until you’ve got a sauce that’s somewhere between sticky and runny and throw the whole lot in with the rice. Add the nuts back in (if you’ve got any left) – taking them out means they don’t go soft in the liquid as it reduces.

Throw some salad on a plate, then add your chicken and rice mix and top with a few green beans, the mint leaves (casually ripped) and a final squeeze of your now extensively mined lime. In the past year I have discovered a love for uncooked vegetables, which is somewhat embarrassing as I always used to mock my dad for his similar love, hence my beans were raw. Feel free however to chuck them into the mix as the sauce reduces if you prefer your greens less crunchy.

et voilà.

Here are some suggestions of potential additions/substitutions

– Roasted rice powder – I might do this next time. Add dry rice to a frying pan and toast on a high heat until brown, then grind down with a pestle and mortar
– Fish sauce
– Ginger
– Lemongrass
– Cumin

J