Quorn Avocado Pesto Salad

I’ve not had the time to post on here for a while – long working hours, fatigue because of the long working hours, a wedding and a weekend away to Liverpool have contributed in addition to the regular 4 hours of French lessons per week. Today we learnt about culture and I argued for watching football matches at a bar being cultural. This quorn and beetroot salad with an avocado and pesto dressing was a tasty recipe I found on BBC Good Food. I’ve taken the photo in the bowl as once you start mixing around beetroot, everything gets turned pink and it’s completely unpresentable, no matter how tasty the food is!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g thin-stemmed broccoli/broccolini
  • Spray oil
  • 300g quorn
  • 1 small red onion
  • 100g watercress
  • 175g beetroot (pre-cooked)
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • small pack basil (30g approx)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • 25g walnuts
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 lemon

1.) Heat some spray oil in a frying pan and add the quorn. Cook until hot through.

2.) Boil some water, trim the broccoli, add to a small pan with the water and cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s just tender.

3.) Slice up the onion thinly and add to a big mixing bowl. Chop the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice from one half.

4.) Make the salad dressing. Peel the garlic clove, chop in half an add to a food processor, peel the avocado and add, add the walnuts, the oil and the other lemon halve’s juice. Blitz to a paste.

5.) Add the watercress to the bowl with the onion, chop up the beetroot and also add that. Add the drained broccoli and the quorn. Add the dressing and mix everything. Sprinkle over the nigella seeds and serve.

Moutabal

I think most non-meat eaters love eating aubergine. It’s such a versatile vegetable. This moutabal is a blend of aubergine, tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon. All the good stuff. It doesn’t look great but as Lumiere says in Beauty and the Beast – ‘try the grey stuff – it’s delicious’. The recipe was in Nigel Slater’s book ‘Tender’. Nigel Slater was a chef at Claridges who now is a food writer. His book has a chapter on each kind of vegetable that he’s grown in his own garden. I had the moutabal with a feta salad and some pitta bread but it would work great as a paste on a sandwich or dip for crudités or pitta chips.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray

2.) Place the aubergines on the tray and make a few slits in the skin

3.) Bake for forty minutes – the skin should be blackened which will help give the dip the smoky flavour

4.) Peel the garlic cloves and chop finely (or use 1/4 tsp garlic paste)

5.) Let the aubergines cool for 10 minutes so they are not too hot to handle.

6.) Peel the skin from the aubergines and transfer them to a bowl

7.) Mash them up to a pulp with a fork

8.) Add the tahini, garlic and olive oil and stir until combined.

Brie and peach salad

I’d never been a huge fan of Brie up until I participated in a virtual wine and cheese night over Christmas. We all looked on the Waitrose website, chose a mini bottle of wine each and a type of cheese to go with it, My friend picked Brie de Meaux which I’d never tried before. I picked some up and needless to say, it became a fast favourite. When I went for a walk recently and just ended up in M&S, like you do, I couldn’t resist taking some home. Although serving it with crackers is perfectly delicious, I wanted to do something different, so I had a look on BBC Good Food and found an interesting salad recipe. I added peach – because why not. The candied walnuts sadly burned in the oven on the recommended temperature whilst not melting any of the sugar so next time I’ll do them in the pan.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 peaches
  • 200g rocket
  • 1 packet of brie de meaux – I think about 200g
  • 40g dates
  • 50g croutons
  • 50g walnuts
  • 12g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp walnut oil

Method

1.) Slice the peaches and put them under the grill, flipping so each side is grilled. When done, remove to a bowl and pour over the honey, give it a stir.

2.) Measure out the sugar and add to a frying pan. Measure the walnuts and break in half and add to the pan. Heat on a low heat until the sugar melts and coats the walnuts. Set aside.

3.) Slice all the rind off the Brie. Put the brie in a bowl and stick in the microwave for 15 seconds. You should then be able to whisk it up with a spoon.

4.) In a mixing bowl, add the rocket, the dates, the oil and the balsamic vinegar and toss.

5.) Plate up the rocket and dates, sprinkle over some walnuts, some croutons and divide the peaches between the plates.

6.) Finally spoon blobs of the Brie into the middle of each plate.

Salmon Salad with Marie Rose

I came upon this recipe scanning through Jamie Oliver’s website – ‘Simple Roast Salmon’. The salad dressing is called ‘Marie Rose’ sauce and was created by a famous British chef – Fanny Craddock – back in the 60s. It’s nice to be posting this today as England won their first match in the Euros and I’m feeling patriotic. Back in the 70’s this Marie-Rose sauce was used a lot in ‘prawn cocktails’ and since then it’s come to be seen as a bit outdated. Apparently, however, coincidentally it’s made a bit of a comeback and my husband spotted it in an article on resurging food trends. This and fondue. Was fondue ever out? The usual way to make the sauce is with ketchup which feels a bit like cheating but it taste pretty good.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 lemons
  • tabasco sauce
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 300g cooked prawns
  • pinch paprika

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray, season the salmon and put the salmon on the tray and drizzle on some oil (skin on top if there is skin)

3.) Cook for about 10 minutes or as per instructions on packet

4.) Make the Marie Rose sauce. Zest a lemon and add to a bowl, squeeze in the juice then add the yoghurt, ketchup,. Season and add a dash of Tabasco

5.) Wash and chop the little gem lettuces and chop. Add to a mixing bowl. Wash the watercress and add to the bowl. Season, chop the other lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the bowl and a drizzle of oil and mix.

6,) Plate up the salad. Divide the prawns between the servings. Add the salmon on top.

7.) Drop over spoonfuls of the Marie-Rose sauce and sprinkle over a pinch of paprika.

Cauliflower & Cherry Salad

I love cherries so much – when I was a kid I would ask for a bag of them as a snack from the grocers. Weird kid huh. Anyway I was really happy to see a recipe using them that wasn’t a dessert even if I am very partial to a cherry clafoutis. This recipe was in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’. Such a great book, I really recommend it. I subbed out brown rice for bulghar wheat and probably any mix of fresh herbs would be fine.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 200g bulghar wheat
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 200g cherries
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30g fresh mint
  • 30g fresh dill
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C

2.) Chop up the cauliflower into florets

3.) Add the bulghar wheat and cauliflower to a pan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon. Continue simmering the bulghar wheat until cooked. When done, drain and set aside to cool.

4,) Line a baking tray and place on the cauliflower. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with za’atar and salt and pepper. Get another baking tray and crush down. Leave the top tray on the cauliflower and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. (In fact I forgot to do this straight away and ended up taking the cauliflower out halfway through but I think I got away with it. It may have been easier to crush).

5.) While this is baking, prepare the cherries. Destone the cherries, roughly chop and throw into a mixing bowl.

6.) Finely chop the preserved lemon, removing the pips and add to the cherries. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice in from one of the halves. Drizzle in the honey and 3 tbsp olive oil. Give it a good mix.

7.) Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan on a low heat until they start to smell fragrant.

8.) Finely chop up the dill and mint. Mix with the bulghar wheat along with the juice from the other half of the lemon.

9.) Plate up the bulghar wheat and place on the cauliflower. Spoon over the cherry mixture, sprinkle over the pine nuts and spoon over some yoghurt.

Salsa Verde couscous

I do like a couscous salad. They’re quick and easy to prepare and easy to scale up if you want some leftovers which is what I did with this recipe from ‘Bosh – Healthy Vegan’. In the original recipe, the salsa verde makes enough for four servings so it seemed meant to be. You could switch out the chickpeas with some quorn/meat substitute or if you’re not vegan, feta would be delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 onion
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 300g couscous
  • 2 small green chillis
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 30g coriander leaves
  • 25g parsley
  • 15g mint
  • 10g basil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp cornichons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 lime
  • 1 pomegranate

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and line a baking tray with some baking paper. Put some kitchen roll on a plate.

2.) Open the tin of chickpeas, drain and rinse the chickpeas, pour them onto a plate and pat the chickpeas dry.

3.) Move the chickpeas to a mixing bowl, add the sumac and syrup and stir to coat.

4.) Pour the chickpeas onto the tray.

5.) Peel and slice the onion and dice the courgette and pepper

6.) Add the veg to the tray with the chickpeas and season. Put in the oven for 25 minutes.

7.) In the meantime, make the salsa. In a blender, add the chilli (seeds in or out depending on how spicy you want to go), the coriander (save some for a garnish), basil, mint and parsley. Peel the garlic and add that. Add the vinegar, mustard, capers, cornichons, oil and water to the blender. Halve the lime and squeeze in the lime juice. Blitz to a liquid.

8.) Prepare the couscous. Boil some water (about 450ml). Put the couscous in a big bowl. Pour over the boiling water so it’s covered. Leave for a few minutes and fluff up with a fork.

9.) Prepare the pomegranate by chopping in half and extracting the seeds.

10.) Once the veg and chickpeas are cooked, mix with the couscous and serve onto plates. Dollop over spoonfulls of the salsa verde and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and remaining coriander leaves.