Displaying items by tag: salad
I'm trying hard to eat more salad and keep off the comfort food. Salads made with grains, pulses or seasonal vegetables are more than just about lettuce and are a great way to provide a hearty meal and a good way to incorporate some exciting herb flavours. Toasted Pearl Barley with Lemon and Herbs makes a nice change from rice. It is a little more chewy, has a delicate nutty flavour and is filling. It soaks up the bold flavours of a rich meat or vegetable stew too, if like me that's all you want to eat at the moment. So serve as you prefer, hot or cold, both work equally well.
As the weather is getting warmer and the nights are drawing out I start to get excited about summer, having fresh garden produce and forgetting about cooking warming winter soups and stews. Discover the difference that a few fresh herbs can make to your spring salads by either adding them into the salad, providing a nice contrast to the crunchy leaves of lettuce, or blitzing them into a simple vinaigrette dressing. As herbs begin to shoot in spring, or I’m lucky enough to find some that have over-wintered well, I spruce up even the plainest of salads with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. Be brave and experiment with different herbs adding vitality, texture and flavour to your meals. Make the bulk of the salad with mild flavour leaves such as Cos, Romaine, Little Gem or Lollo Rosso. Lovage – use the leaves sparingly as they add a very strong savoury flavour when raw. The first stems of spring provide the most delicate flavour. Try rubbing the salad bowl with bruised leaves to impart a milder flavour. Chives – the snipped stalks add a delicate onion (or garlicky if using Chinese chives) flavour. Hard boiled eggs, crumbled crisp bacon, watercress, steamed Jersey Royals, raw or steamed freshly podded peas all contrast well with chives and will liven up a leaf salad. Chickweed – or hip weed as I call it, now grown commercially for the restaurant trade and used in both salads and garnishes. Full of vitamin C and tastes slightly grassy, throw this in in abundance as it’s delicate, mild flavoured and if from your garden, free! Winter purslane – sometimes called Miners lettuce and grows rapidly in the spring. Add the narrow early leaves or the curious stem-wrapping leaves for a cool, mild flavour also providing a succulent and juicy texture into a leaf salad. It’s also very nice wilted as in the spinach recipe. Chervil – use the stem and leaf chopped into salads to add a subtle aniseed flavour. It complements eggs, fish and cucumber particularly well. Crab, goats curd and chervil is a favourite combination of mine.
Fried aubergine ready for a Caponata salad as Lidl had aubergines for 49p each. Caponata originates from Sicily. Sicilians all have their own version of this slightly salt, piquant aubergine dish, with many variations depending on what vegetables are available. Fennel is very good in place of the celery. Serve hot or cold, but never straight from the fridge.
Look at this excellent selection of ready made deli-products! I don't usually buy ready made salads and sandwich fillings but was sent these to review by Wolff-Evans and Sons after doing a little feature on them for our Dish of the Day.Their original Homeslaw made with savoy,red and white cabbage was dressed with a creamy mayonnaise and some onion adding a bit of punch. Looks just like homemade coleslaw and tasted as good as the one I make myself. Egg mayonnaise, well I am always dubious about pre-prepared sandwich fillings and expected at least a whiff of eggy sulphur to put me off when I opened the lid. Tah Dah! Nothing but fresh,simple and tasty free range eggs with mayonnaise and also very well seasoned; although I did add even more cracked black pepper to mine. The Tuna fraiche was the highlight for me. A set, light spread which was creamy and delicately flavoured with capers and onion and some texture of free range egg. It could pass off as a dinner party starter, reminding me in style of a salmon mousse. Far superior than I imagined and wolfed down by my family in minutes. Available at your local East of England Co-Op.
In what appears to be one of the most expensive towns in the region we are looking for lunch. The Cafe CouCou has a window full of fab cakes and we can see some home-made quiches so we take a seat. After a bit of confused waitressing about whether the falafel had been made there or not, and if there was any leek and bacon quiche left or not, and if the pear and frangipani tart was still on the menu or not, we order the falafel which came with flat bread, tzaziki and lots and lots of leaves, and a goats cheese and beetroot flan with olives and lots and lots of leaves. Both were fresh, home-made and really nice. A more interesting choice of accompanying salads would have taken it to the £10 per dish level it was, and although slates to serve it on are clearly still fashionable in Essex, give me a plate that the food doesn't fall off and a well informed waitress every time.