December’s Salad: Parsnip, Kale, Red Onion, Chilli & Tofu

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I can’t believe that this is the last seasonal salad of the year. So I had to make it a good one. And as I mentioned over on IG, this is my favourite salad so far.

Warm salads are something I actually prefer to crisp and cool summer ones- even in summer I like some roasted vegetables (preferably from an actual BBQ) on my lettuce leaves. People massively underrate winter salads though: they can be flavourful, and showcase root veg brilliantly. And, if you’re anything like me, you like spacing out the more indulgent meals of Christmas-time with a few simple (but always tasty) ones as well.

For this salad we’ll be honey-roasting parsnips, and baking tofu in some honey, soy sauce, and ginger. This means that the recipe takes a little more time start-to-finish, but it’s well worth it. Once the veg is in the oven, it all looks after itself anyway…

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 large parsnips, chopped into chunks, and tossed in 1tbsp runny honey in a large mixing bowl
  • 200g of firm tofu, chopped into chunks
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, finely sliced (leave the seeds in if you like spice, remove if not)
  • 2-3 large handfuls of kale
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • Ground ginger, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

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November’s Salad: Sprout, Orange, Feta & Pomegranate Cous-Cous

wp-1478519546843.jpgIt’s November, which means I only have two seasonal salads left to make for you guys. November also means the return of a vegetable everyone seems to hate: the sprout.

I’m going to put this out there straight away: there is nothing wrong with sprouts. They are one misunderstood vegetable. Mainly because people always cook them the wrong way. I remember boiled sprouts that various relatives have attempted to make me eat- and yes, I ate them- but I feel like boiling is one of the worst things you can do to sprouts. It releases that very specific smell they have, and it also makes them slimy to boot. As we move further into this month, and get closer to the day every sprout waits for (Christmas), I promise I’ll write a post on how to cook sprouts in numerous delicious ways. But today, we’re cooking them by one of my favourite methods: sautéed with almost no oil. This prevents them from becoming greasy or slimy, and chars the edges slightly to give plenty of flavour.

Alongside sprouts this salad includes pomegranate seeds, and orange. Both of these ingredients are coming into the supermarkets cheap around now. As for the feta and the cous-cous, you can get these year round. So, this recipe will take you 10 minutes tops to prepare, and I hope you enjoy it… Continue reading

October’s Salad: Feta, Beetroot, Fig, Butternut Squash & Pearl Barley

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I’m feeling pretty smug as this post goes live, because for once I’ve managed to get a seasonal salad recipe up on the first of the month. Perhaps its because this time of year is my all-time favourite, and so I’m more inclined to make the salads earlier than half way into the month- or maybe it’s because I know my uni workload is going to rapidly swell in the next few days, so my time will be limited.

Autumn produce means squash, and figs, and apple, beetroot, brambles, cabbage, sprouts, leeks, parsnips, plums- and, of course, pumpkins. Now, I already have quite a few pumpkin recipes up here, and I plan on adding some more. Which means that today I passed over my beloved pumpkin, and gave the spotlight to the butternut squash, figs, and beets. I promise that this is just as delicious (perhaps more so) than any pumpkin recipe. But if you feel you’re missing out- there are links to all my pumpkin recipes so far at the bottom of the page!

Butternut squash roasts beautifully, it’s cheap, and although it’s sweet it takes on flavour really well. Figs are earthy, juicy, and colourful- and we all know how much I love beetroot. The pearl barley is a cheap store-cupboard staple, and the feta can be bought all year around. If you’re vegan, allergic to cheese, or simply don’t like it, then feel free to omit this ingredient, and sub in whatever you feel would work for you…

Ingredients (serves 2- or you can eat it again the next day!)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, seeds removed, chopped into small chunks and the skin left on
  • 80g pearl barley (weight when dried)
  • 2 medium cooked beetroot, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 large figs, sliced into thick wedges
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 60g feta cheese (or “Greek-style” in most supermarkets)

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September’s Seasonal Salad : English apple, sweet potato, spinach, red onion & halloumi 

It’s September, and so in my mind, finally, autumn! The BEST season both for food, and life in general- crisp mornings, back to uni, new books I can justify buying for uni, GBBO, social stuff at uni, Bonfire Night later in the season, soups, jumpers, hot coffee and cold days….If you aren’t convinced, for now I’m hoping to prove that at least the food is amazing-  with the following salad.

Contrary to popular belief salads don’t migrate south when the summer sun goes down. In fact, they get even better because all of the food crops are being harvested. September is amazing for seasonal produce, as we still have some summer ingredients, but root veg is appearing and apples are nearly at their best.

This salad uses halloumi, which you can actually eat raw as well as cooked- my mum spent part of her childhood in Cyprus due to my Grandad’s being in the army,  and it was served raw as a dessert over there. So if you’re feeling super lazy you don’t even have to cook it. I “accidently” ate a lot of raw halloumi whilst making this, and I can vouch for its deliciousness. I’ve used a griddle pan to cook it here for the finished salad, but a regular pan will work just fine (griddle pans just give you lovely decorative charring lines). If you aren’t a cheese fan you could sub in cooked chicken, or tofu, or quorn. If you simply don’t like halloumi, then perhaps try a feta cheese.

With all that said, let’s get going….

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August’s Seasonal Salad: Beetroot, Courgette, Pomegranate, Basil & Quinoa

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When I saw that in August beetroot is in season, I knew that it had to be in my seasonal salad. Because if you follow me over on IG then you’ll know I’m a little bit of beetroot fan. It’s a fantastic ingredient to reach for when you want to add a little bit of sweetness to a savoury salad, but not go all out fruity. Though this salad does contain pomegranate seeds, and I really recommend that you don’t omit them.

You can make this as a side dish to a larger meal and stretch it to two portions if you like, but I simply added some Quorn to it and dived in. I have a feeling that chicken would also work well in this salad, or prawns- depending on your own preferences. It’s an incredibly easy dish, and you could even double the quantities and take leftovers for lunch…

Ingredients (for 1 serving)

  • 1/2 large courgette, chopped into semi-circles
  • 2 cooked beetroot (these come vaccum packed in supermarkets; don’t get the pickled ones), chopped into chunks
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves, torn up
  • 30g quinoa + boiled water
  • 2 heaped tbsp. pomegranate
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • Black pepper, salt, chilli flakes, to taste

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July’s Salad: Feta, Pearl Barley, Courgette, Asparagus & Pomegranate

July is the time for courgettes, asparagus, pomegranate and spinach (according to the site I use: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all ). And they all work surprisingly well together- so they’re all in this salad. Chuck in some feta for creaminess, and some pearl barley, and you’re good to go. Pearl barley, by the way, is one of my favourite new ingredients. My flatmate used to cook pearl barley occasionally last year, and though I initially couldn’t be arsed waiting for it to cook (bulgur wheat, quinoa- or even rice- cooks faster), with a little bit of forward planning I’ve finally used it. In the name of time though, feel free to sub in bulgur, quinoa, rice, or even chunks of sweet potato…
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 courgette, made into ribbons using a peeler
  • Handful of asparagus (4 spears, roughly), each cut into about 4-5 pieces
  • 30g feta, crumbled
  • 2tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 40g dried pearl barley
  • 1 large handful of spinach leaves
  • To taste: black pepper, dried chilli flakes
 
Method
  • Begin by preparing the pearl barley according to the packet instructions. This takes a while to cook- about 30 minutes- and so once there’s about 10 minutes remaining begin prepping every thing else…
  • In a large non-stick pan, over a medium heat, begin to cook the asparagus. Lightly sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add in the courgette. Cook for another 2 minutes over the same heat.
  • Empty the pearl barley into a large mixing bowl, and then add the asparagus and courgette, followed by half of the pomegranate seeds. Toss together.
  • Wilt the spinach in the same pan you used for the asparagus and courgette, and then transfer to a plate. Empty the pear barley mixture on top of the spinach, and then top with the remaining pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta…

June’s Salad: Morroccan Inspired Aubergine & Chickpea Salad with Salmon


What with exams to complete my second year of uni, getting some work experience sorted, and applying for some summer jobs, I’ll bet you all thought I had forgotten June’s seasonal salad, huh? Well, I didn’t. And although its late, that also means that these ingredients are not only still around, but probably going cheap in the supermarket.

According to the seasonality table I have been using so far (the BBC one, take a look right here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/ ) all of the following are in season: aubergine, pepper, salmon, mint, tomato, and lettuce. And all of those are being used in this recipe. The chickpeas you can get hold of year round on the canned isle, and ditto to the spices. As for the avocado, feel free to leave it out, and you can always use (just a dash of) bottled lemon juice if you don’t have lemons.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium aubergine, chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2-1 can chickpeas (approximately 100-200g, dependent on how hungry you are)
  • 1/4-1/2 large avocado, chopped into chunks
  • 1 salmon fillet
  • Add a dash of each, to taste: Smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, hot chilli powder, cumin, turmeric
  • 1 small handful of mint leaves, torn up
  • OPTIONAL: Lettuce (use it as wraps, put it on the side, shred it and mix into the salad…)
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200*c, 190*c if you have a fan oven. Grease an ovenproof tray, and throw the aubergine onto the tray. Sprinkle the spices over the aubergine, and toss to coat. Place into the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Whilst the vegetables are cooking loosely wrap the salmon fillet in foil, and after the aubergine has been in the oven for 15 minutes, pop the salmon into the oven as well.
  • When the salmon has been in the oven for 15 minutes, throw the pepper on top of the aubergine for the remaining time.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the tomato, chickpeas, lemon zest, cooked vegetables, and avocado chunks. Toss together before plating up, placing the salmon fillet on top. Add black pepper, mint, a wedge of lemon, and dig in…