Tag Archives: salad

Marinated peppers

marinated peppers

I am sharing these here as they are a staple of the lunch that I provide at my bread making courses. They are always a hit and I have been asked for the recipe more times than I can count. So here it is.  This is a simplified version (and in my opinion tastier) of one I have posted before. It’s very simple and can be jazzed up with a sprinkling of herbs, or capers, or sun dried tomatoes, depending on your mood. Try the peppers in the simple version first though and play around later.

I make them the day before I need them to give them time for the flavours to mingle, (but you could just eat them straight away if necessary), and they are good to eat for a few days, so they are handy to have in the fridge. I like the colours of the different peppers but if you prefer red peppers to green peppers feel free to make them with the colour that you prefer.

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
salt & pepper
half a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

Method
Preheat your oven to 220°c, gas mark 7, or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Line a baking tray with foil (not absolutely necessary but makes cleaning easier). Place the peppers on the tray (or if using an Aga just spread the foil directly on the floor of the roasting oven) and roast them, turning every ten minutes until they get nicely charred on all sides. This can take 30-40 minutes.  Once charred place them into a bowl large enough to hold them all and cover immediately with cling film.  Leave them to steam and get cool enough to handle. The steam helps the skin be easily peeled off.  Once cool enough to handle, peel away the skins, whilst holding the peppers over a bowl to catch the juices.  Remove the core and the seeds and rip the pepper flesh into strips. Place into a serving dish and pour over all the juices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze half a lemon over the top and be generous with the olive oil.

 

Runner bean salad

As usual at this time of year we have runner beans coming out of our ears. I am not complaining (yet), they are so tender and delicious. They are lovely lightly boiled and then a pat of butter swirled into the drained beans. They are even better served with bacon, especially if you tip the drained beans into the pan with the bacon fat and the crusty bacon bits before piling high onto your plate. But when you are bored with those combinations then this might be the best way to serve them of all.

I grew dill for the first time this year. I have searched for a pot of it  for some time from garden centres, but they just don’t seem to stock it. So a packet of seeds it was, then. To my surprise the seeds germinated and sprung up and have gone from strength to strength. (The surprise being, that I have been sufficiently green fingered as to not kill them, yet). I adore the gentle taste of dill, and I have been sure to grow it well away from my fennel, as Mr OC would never forgive me if I sprinkled fennel all over his beans. They are so similar to look at, but couldn’t taste more different.

This bean salad is very easy to make and can be made in advance to save any last-minute kitchen dashes.

When I make it, I pick as many beans as I think the people around the table will eat. Then when lightly boiled I drain them, briefly swill them under a cold running tap until just warm.  Pour them into the serving dish, then douse them in a bath of oil and vinegar, crushed garlic and chopped dill. No measuring takes place and I like it to taste just a little on the sharp side of things, so I add more vinegar than would be acceptable for a recipe book vinaigrette. I urge you to do the same, and taste and adjust as necessary, but if you need measurements I have tried my best below.

To serve 4

Runner beans ( as many as you think people will eat, we are greedy and I would say 3-4 medium sized beans per serving)
2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 dessertspoon of vinegar ( I use the redcurrant vinegar that I made last year, but use whichever you like the most – white wine, balsamic, cider etc)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine with a pinch of sea salt
A good handful of dill, chopped finely (you could use mint with equally satisfying results)

Method

Trim and prepare the runner beans, slicing on the diagonal into bite sized pieces. Bring a pan of water to the boil and carefully tip in the beans. Boil until tender, which won’t take many minutes. I like mine with a bit of bite left in them and if they are going to sit around, the oil and vinegar will soften them further, so be careful not to overcook. Drain them and place the sieve under a cold running tap for a few seconds just to take them down to warm. Tip into the serving bowl. Pour the oil and vinegar over them, add the garlic and the dill. Toss, and season with pepper, and salt if needed. Adjust the oil and vinegar ratio to your own taste.

 

 

Aubergine and tomato salad

This post has been waiting for me to write it for a while.  I made this dish probably about ten days ago, but it’s been the end of the summer holidays and we have been making the most of our time with the girls.

This was the harvest from our polytunnel:

We were very excited as this is the first time we have had success with growing aubergines.  Mr OC planted a mixed seed collection and these beauties were the result. We kept them in the house on the windowsills until the fruit appeared and then transferred them into the polytunnel and this, I think, has been the secret of our success.  The ones planted directly into the polytunnel have produced flowers but no fruit, which was our experience last year.  Our tomatoes have been brilliant this year, supplying a constant stream of ripe fruit and our basil is beautifully scented.  I think this particular harvest is from a supermarket plant that I had pretty much used up in the house and so put it in the greenhouse and it has survived and gone from strength to strength.

I wanted to do something which made the most of both the aubergines and the tomatoes.  Sometimes, the aubergine gets a bit lost when baked with a tomato sauce when I do an aubergine lasagne thingy.  That is OK (and really quite delicious) when the aubergines are from the grocers, but when you have looked at them growing every day for a few months you really want them to be the centrepiece.  I do minted aubergines quite a lot, but the mint is over and cut back in the garden now.  Michele at Cooking at Home posted a wonderful and very inspiring pomodoro crudo the other week and so this seemed perfect to adapt a little for an aubergine and tomato salad.

So the tomatoes were diced and thrown into a bowl with some crumbled feta, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil and the basil and left to marinate whilst I got on with roasting the aubergines.

This picture doesn’t compare with Michele’s, so pop over to her site for a more beautiful image, where she uses mozzarella with her tomatoes.

I sliced the aubergines, sprinkled them with olive oil and seasoned generously with salt and pepper.

I then roasted them in the baking oven of my Aga, which is the equivalent of 180°c (gas mark 4) for about 20 minutes until soft and golden.

I placed the aubergines on the serving platter and placed the tomatoes and the lovely juices all over.

It’s best to leave it to stand for five minutes or so for the juices to be absorbed into the aubergine and then serve with lots of bread to mop up the juices.

This was a dish which definitely made the best of our polytunnel harvest.

Broad bean vinaigrette – and chicks!

We have broad beans in the garden.  Hooray!

I haven’t always been enamoured by broad beans.  When I was a child I disliked them with zeal.  They seemed too bitter and fibrous and my mum always seemed to serve them with liver! But things change, and my taste buds must have done as I love them now. I can’t say the same for liver though.

We went on holiday with my parents three years ago and had these little beauties as an appetiser at a little place, suspiciously called Cafe Londres. We have eaten them often since.  If I have parsley then I add it.  Our parsley in the garden has now gone to seed, so tonight’s version was un-embellished. It’s delicious either way.

I like my vinaigrette with a bit of zing so I always add more lemon than is traditional, but feel free to adjust to taste.

Shelled broad beans (fava beans, I understand, are the same thing)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
juice of ½ lemon
3-4 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Method

Make a vinaigrette by mixing together the crushed garlic, lemon juice, oil and salt and pepper and adjust to your taste (adding more oil or lemon to suit you).

Boil the broad beans for a few minutes until tender  (timings will  depend on the size of the bean).  Drain well and run briefly under a cool tap until they are cool enough to handle and then pop the skin off the larger beans.

Add the broad beans to the vinaigrette and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before enjoying at room temperature.

Now to the chicks part of the title.  I was a little busy last week and this was the reason:

Our Black Rock, Daisy, went broody four weeks ago, so we let her sit on her eggs in a rabbit hutch.  The first chick hatched on Monday and the eighth hatched on Friday. It was very exciting to go out and find yet another chick hatched under Daisy.  I took each one off her after it was born and kept it warm in a box on the Aga, with a mop head as a temporary mummy and then when we were sure that no more were going to be hatched we reintroduced Daisy to her brood – and very happy about it all she is too.

I just hope they aren’t all cockerels.

Pea and cos salad – the return

A few weeks ago I posted about my efforts to recreate the pea and cos salad we had on our wedding day.  Well here is another version of that salad, and this is a bit closer to the original. I have made this a couple of times in the last couple of weeks – well you can never have too much of good thing, surely? The recipe is an adaptation of one given to my mum by a very good friend who was a guest at our wedding and knows how much we loved it. The original recipe calls for mayonnaise and then adds Dijon mustard, vinegar and sour cream.  However, as I make my own mayonnaise which already has mustard and vinegar in it, I don’t add these as an extra and I replace the sour cream with yoghurt, as I always have a pot of that in the house. If you are using mayonnaise out of a jar though feel free to add a little mustard and vinegar to spike things up a bit.

I promise this will be the last version I post, I don’t want to risk boring you.

Feel free to add parmesan shavings too.

For the mayonnaise:
1 whole egg
pinch of Colman’s mustard powder
small clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
100ml of oil ( a mild olive oil or half and half of olive oil and ground nut oil, depending on your taste)
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Method for mayonnaise

Place the egg, mustard powder, crushed garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor and whizz until combined.  With the motor running, pour the oil in a steady and gentle stream through the funnel of the processor until the mixture is emulsified and thick.  I tend to use around 100ml of oil, but it may need more or else so be guided by your own judgement. Add the vinegar or lemon juice and whizz again.  Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper or vinegar/lemon juice to taste.

For the salad:
Homemade mayonnaise (as above)
150g greek yoghurt, or thick natural yoghurt
a good handful of mint, finely chopped
peas (I use frozen and as many handfuls as I think I need)
lettuce of some description

Method for salad

Combine the mayonnaise and the yoghurt and add the chopped mint. Cook the peas in boiling water for a minute or two, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool.  Add to the mayonnaise mixture.  Arrange the salad leaves on a plate and dollop over the pea mixture.

Pea and cos salad

When Mr OC and I wed, we had a wonderful caterer who really put on a very fine spread.  Everything was delicious, but one of the things that really stood out from the rest was the wonderful pea and cos salad.  I have since tried to recreate this on many occasions and I admit that I don’t think I am quite there yet.  I think crème fraîche and parmesan were involved somewhere along the line.

However, the other day I saw a cos lettuce for sale and so bought it, but then promptly forgot to purchase either crème fraîche or parmesan ( I blame shopping with two small children for my terrible ability to go out for a pint of milk and return with a pot of basil and a piece of steak, but no milk, but I don’t really think they are to blame).  So I had a go with what I had in the fridge and the garden and although it doesn’t reach the sublime level of the salad of our wedding day it is really nice, especially with a good roast chicken or a slab of rare steak.

I will keep trying with my recreation of the original recipe, so you may well see another recipe for this appearing at some point in the future.  However, for now, here is a version.  If you do have some parmesan in the fridge then shave some over just before serving, and feel free to replace the yoghurt with crème fraîche.  I promise to try harder next time I go shopping.

1 head of cos lettuce, washed and dried
3 or 4 handfuls of frozen or fresh peas, boiled until tender (2 or 3 minutes in boiling water)

150g Total greek yoghurt
handful of fresh mint, chopped
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper

Method

Arrange the washed salad leaves on a platter and artfully pour over the peas.  Mix together the yoghurt, chopped mint and lemon juice and season to taste and dollop over the peas and lettuce.

Dig in and enjoy!