Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Now this salad is so simple and healthy – just perfect for a light mid week supper. I do like beans but served up as an accompaniment I don’t find them particularly exciting – just a matter of eating them because I know they are good for me. However this recipe changed all this – beans as the base for a salad works beautifully! Just 3 ingredients and a simple dressing and presto a great family dinner. We even managed to get Izzy to try the almonds by getting her excited about the crunch texture and teaching her to chew, chew, chew them!

Chicken, French bean and Almond salad (courtesy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – River Cottage Everyday)


About 200g French beans, trimmed

A good handful of blanched almonds

About 200g cold cooked chicken, torn into shreds

For the dressing:

1/4 – 1/2 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard or other mild mustard

1 tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

About 1/2 tsp honey

2 Tbsp rapeseed or EVOO

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Cook the French beans in a large pan of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes, until just tender but stil with a bit of bite. Drain, refresh immediately under cold running water and pat dry.

Scatter the almonds in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl or shake in a screw top jar to combine.

Put the beans, shredded chicken and almonds in a large bowl and toss together with your hands. Trickle over the dressing, toss well and serve.


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This summer I have taken to regularly roasting beetroot – something I had never done before my friend Meredith kept telling me about delicious salads she had made and then she cooked it for us alongside steak. Well from then I was hooked! Being a Kiwi I had thought slices of beetroot only came in jars of malt vinegar and were for in your BBQ burger đŸ˜‰

Beetroot, Blue Cheese and Pecans are an amazing combination and I feel that when put together in a salad no dressing is needed. If you are a dressings fan then only a simple one will do as you don’t want to detract from the flavours.

Roasting beetroot could not be easier. I top and tail them and place in tin foil and then drizzle some olive oil and some S & P over before sealing them in the tin foil. Straight into a preheated (180C) oven for an hour – that’s it. Once they are done let them cool, peel and chop.

As part of our visit to Borough for Jo’s birthday we had to introduce her to Neals Yard Dairy and of course a small purchase is a must!! I asked for a recommendation for a medium strength blue cheese and was recommended a Stichelton (www.stichelton.co.uk) and I must say it is delicious – a beautiful creamy texture and just the right strength for me. I find some blue cheeses leave what I can only describe as a lingering tinny taste – yuck! Well after looking up Stichelton online I am not surprised that it was recommended as one of the cheesemakers from Neals Yard is a partner in this dairy in Nottinghamshire so perhaps a little biased? Nonetheless it was a great recommendation.

When I do this salad  like to toast the pecans in a non stick pan – gives the salad a nice warmth and crunch.

The rest is just putting it together on a plate – really could not be easier.

Not one for Izzy though – no surprise there. We’ll get there but any lettuce is a no go area at the moment. She happily had the lamb shank dinner she missed out on the night before – I misjudged the timings on the lamb shanks and they were not ready until well after her bed time.


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I am always on the look out for salads that are fairly simple but a little unusual – variety is the spice of life! So when I came across this Bill Granger recipe in a Sainsburys magazine I knew I was onto a winner. I have made it a few times and it has quickly become a firm favourite. Leftovers keep really well in the fridge and the day after the flavour is even better. Definitely worth a try! As it has broccoli in it Izzy will eat it and I sell the pearl barley as ‘rice’ . She is yet to be convinced on the spinach, or the ‘green stuff’ as she calls it. This night I just served it with a baked chicken breast – would have been better if I had the time to marinate the chicken so it was not so bland. Better time management next time!!


Pearl barley, broccoli and cashew salad (courtesy of Bill Granger)


250g pearl barley

3 tablespoons cashews

400g broccoli, cut into florets

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

100g young leaf spinach

a small handful of mint leaves, torn

For the tamari dressing:

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons tamari or dark soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons mirin or lime juice

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

Cook the barley in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 25-30 minutes until al dente. Drain, then rinse and cool.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a small pan until golden, leave to cool.

Blanch the broccoli in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes until just tender but still bright green. Rinse in cold water and drain well.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

In a large bowl, toss together the barley, broccoli, spring onions, spinach, mint and dressing, Serve sprinkled with the toasted cashews, roughly chopped.

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