Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad

Simple is sometimes best. This three ingredient salad is so beautiful and bursting with flavour. You don’t even need to add a dressing.

An ideal side for a picnic or bbq. The mint brings back all the lovely memories of my nan’s garden as a child.

Ingredients

1 small watermelon chopped into triangle pieces.

1/2 a block of feta cheese

Handful of chopped mint.

Method

Simply chop your watermelon into slices, quarters then into smaller triangles removing the rind.

Arrange in your serving dish, sprinkle over your feta and scatter on the chopped mint.

Perfect Summer food.


Mozzarella and Nectarine Salad

Another simple three ingredient Summer salad. Nectarine, mozzarella and lambs leaf. Nectarines are beautiful at this time of year. Try to buy the soft ripe ones as this will really make the salad.

I served with chicken schnitzel and some garlic bread for an impromptu dinner with friends. Beautiful food, beautiful rosé wine and beautiful company.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Bag of lambs leaf salad

2 ripe nectarines

2 balls of mozzarella

Dressing

I made up a dressing of three parts extra virgin olive oil to one part cider vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, salt, cracked black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Method

Simply arrange your lambs leaf lettuce in a bowl. Tear up your balls of mozzarella and dot about in the salad leaves.

Slice up your nectarines into wedges roughly the size of a peach slice from a tin and arrange on top of the salad.

Mix up your dressing and spoon over. Gently massage into the ingredients and serve immediately.


Chilli Cheese and Chilli Olive Salad

Chilli cheese and chilli olive salad. A nice light little salad idea for lunch. I love it when the weather warms up and we can eat outside. I don’t want to be faffing around for ages creating something for lunch and missing out on the sunshine. Salads come into their own at this time of year and I’m always on the look out for different types. This is a spicy, meat free one that I think you will love if you are a fan of chilli.

Serves 1 – measurements are a guide, feel free to double up to serve more people.

1/4 bag of salad leaves

3 cherry tomatoes

1/4 small onion – sliced

1/2 cup chickpeas

Matchbox sized piece of chilli cheese – cubed

5 chilli olives

1/4 red pepper – diced

Dressing

Make up a dressing of three parts extra virgin olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar, squeeze of lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, salt and cracked black pepper to season. As a guide I try to keep this to teaspoons of oil and vinegar if making for 1.

Method

Simply chop all of your salad and add to a large bowl along with your cheese, chickpeas and olives. Mix up your dressing and add to the salad bowl covering all the salad. Toss around a little. Serve and enjoy in the sunshine.


Sushi

Have you ever made sushi before? It’s so much easier than you think. My tip is to make your sushi rolls when the rice is slightly warm as this makes it easier to shape than with cold rice. Here I’ve given a recipe for the sushi rice. Simply add whatever you fancy to it, I’ve added cucumber and peppers for a light vegetarian / vegan option.

Ingredients

Pack of sushi nori ( seaweed wraps)

250g sushi rice

330ml water to boil rice in.

3 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

A few slices of cucumber and pepper to fill.

Method

Rinse your rice under the tap in a sieve until the water runs clear. Soak it in water for 20 minutes or so, then drain thoroughly.

Add the rice to your 330ml of water over a low heat and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for approx 10 minutes leaving the lid on.

Allow the rice to stand.

Mix up your seasoning and stir into the rice.

Lay out each wrap and coat lightly with the sushi rice adding your fillings down the centre.

Gently roll into a cigar shape as tightly as you can lightly wetting the edge of the wrap so it sticks together.

Slice into rounds with a sharp knife.

Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.


Mini Cucumber and Borlotti Bean Salad

A simple salad to balance out all the excesses of Easter. Does anyone find mini cucumbers more of a novelty? I must get out more ha ha!

Love adding different beans to salads to change them up and pack in a bit of protein.

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 mini cucumbers

Bag of lambs lettuce and beetroot shards

2 cups of borlotti beans

Handful of vine cherry tomatoes

Dressing

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove minced

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

Simply chop and arrange your salad on your chosen plate. Mix up your dressing and dress the salad. Serve immediately with your accompaniment of choice.

Tip: Grilled halloumi works well with this dish with a tzatziki dip.


Rainbow Bulgur Wheat

I must admit I am quite a newcomer to bulgur wheat. Introduced to me by my sister and I’m now totally converted and it’s number one fan. My mum used to put me off by calling it vulgar wheat but the thing is she’d only ever had it made very plain with boiled water so to be honest I would have been inclined to agree with her. However, it’s just how it is with vegetables. If you just boil things in hot water they are not going to be the most flavoursome thing to eat.

I’ve added some vegetable stock, good quality extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon, sea salt and cracked black pepper along with cucumber, pomegranate and parsley and it really is a wonderful explosion of flavour that will brighten up any salad or meat dish. Also lovely served with feta or halloumi for a delicious veggie option. I hope you try it.

Ingredients

100g bulgur wheat

400ml hot vegetable stock – I used one vegetable oxo cube

Half a cucumber – diced

100g pomegranate seeds

Hand full of parsley – finely chopped

Dressing

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon runny honey

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 clove garlic – minced

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

Measure out your bulgur wheat on the scales and rinse thoroughly in a sieve.

Add to a pan and pour over your vegetable stock. Add a lid and boil over a high heat for approximately 10 minutes until the bulgur wheat soaks up the stock. Stir gently with a fork.

Transfer the light and fluffy bulgar wheat to your serving dish along with your pomegranate seeds, cucumber and parsley.

Mix up your dressing and pour over the bulgur wheat stirring thoroughly to combine.


Feta and Oregano Little Potatoes

I love these little potatoes as a side to chicken and salad, salmon and roasted vegetables or anything remotely mediterranean. Best eaten red hot and crispy from the oven with the feta scattered over upon serving. I hope you’ll make them part of your cooking repertoire.

Serves 2

Ingredients

10 little potatoes

Tablespoon dried oregano

70g feta cheese

3 cloves garlic

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Chop your new potatoes in half or even quarters if they are the larger type of new potato.

Heat your oil in an oven proof dish that you are going to cook your potatoes in. Meanwhile, boil your potatoes for approximately 10 minutes while your oil is heating.

Drain your potatoes and transfer to your dish of hot oil being careful not to splash any.

Shake over your oregano, salt and cracked black pepper. Add in your cloves of garlic. I bruise them with a garlic press so they release more flavour.

Spoon over the hot oil and return to the oven for approximately 40 minutes basting every 10 minutes or so to crisp them up.

When your potatoes are ready to come out of the oven drain off any excess oil, scatter over your crumbled feta and serve immediately.


Leek and Asparagus Soup

I don’t know about you but when the weather starts to turn colder I always think of soup for lunch. It’s so comforting with a slice of fresh bread and butter to dip in. To be honest I couldn’t contemplate it without it.

This delicious leek and asparagus soup is healthy and low fat and it’s a great soup to make on repeat. Feel free to add a bit of cream to make it a bit more luxurious but that’s your call.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 leeks – chopped

4 large asparagus spears

500ml vegetable stock

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 knob of butter

100ml cream optional

Method

Chop your leeks into discs and your asparagus spears into inch long pieces.

Transfer to a large saucepan and pour over your vegetable stock.

Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the veg is tender.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper and stir through your knob of butter until it has melted.

Blend to a smooth consistency.

Up to you if you want to add a little dash of cream at this point.

Serve piping hot with a chunk of fresh sour dough and butter for dipping.


Filo Vegetable Samosas

I’ve added a recipe for all my friends doing Veganuary. These little samosas make the best lunch. They’re made using filo pastry so delightfully delicate and light. Just add a crisp salad with them full of red onion, tomato and a side of mango chutney for dipping. Fabulous when you have lots of left over veg you need to use up. Even better for lunch boxes the next day.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 carrots

1 large potato

1 cup frozen peas

1 large clove garlic – minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 sheets filo pastry

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 table spoon poppy seeds

Method

Pre heat oven to 220c / 200c fan and take your filo out the fridge at least 15 mins before you intend to use it.

Start by boiling your potato and carrot in a pan of salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté your diced onions in a frying pan until they start to soften along with the minced garlic.

Add your spices and the frozen peas.

Stir around the pan until the peas are cooked. This should only take 2-3 minutes.

Once your onions are cooked and your veg is tender, drain and chop it into pieces, then add it to your onion and spice mix stirring to combine.

Place your 3 sheets of filo flat on the work surface. You need to work quickly as it can dry out quick.

Cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. You may have a marginal amount left from each sheet in order to do this but you can just discard this.

Fold each rectangle into a triangle shape. Open and fill with approx 1 tablespoon of the filling. Fold over back into the triangle shape and brush with oil all over and to seal the edges. Feel free to trim any edges to get the perfect triangle shape.

Place each samosa on a lined baking tray and sprinkle over the poppy seeds. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and compulsory mango chutney.


Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I was delighted when my cousin gave me this recipe. For years I’ve been borderline severing a digit hacking up the butternut squash, little did I know you can halve it and roast it in the oven. It turns out even better and you still have fingers left. Bonus!

The butternut is infused with the delicious chilli and garlic and has all the winter feels. Best eaten on a lazy day watching films on the sofa all snug and warm.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash

4 garlic cloves

Glug of olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 whole red chilli – sliced

500ml vegetable stock

Teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C

Cut your squash in half and deseed. Place cut side up on a foil lined baking tray, score and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Add your garlic cloves kept whole on top of the squash along with your chopped fresh chilli.

Roast in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and scoop out the flesh and blend adding as much or little chilli flakes as you desire. I found 1 teaspoon just right.