All that salad

Recently I started re-eating salads. Mhhh what a lovely experience it has proven to be. I just wish I could have a farmer’s market closer, like I have at home. But no worries Tesco will always be here (I hate Tesco). And soon so will Sainsbury’s. But the truth is Aldi has a great range of SCOTTISH& BRITISH fruit and vegetables. Yep! you did not see this comming did you?!

Aldi’s British Cox’s apples are sooo delicious and sweet and perfect, while Tesco has a great range of overseas apples that break your teeth and pockets if you are really keen on eating fruits daily.

Scotland has proven a very good home for cauliflower and broccoli so I have been eating a lot of these lately…from soup to salad. Stay tuned to get inspired on how to use broccoli and cauliflower.

Romaine Lettuce has proven to be so tasty so I bought two packs and experimented.

Recipes:

Jamie Oliver, and any food lover would agree that the key to a good salad is the dressing. So what I did to enchance and enrich the flavours of my daily salads was to dress the romaine lettuce leafs with houmous (homemade recipe here), vinegar and pepper. If you are a fan of spices you can add dried basil, oregano, thyme, coriander etc.

After this step I just went with what I had in the fridge…good stuff of course.

Chicken Salad

As you may notice the ingredients added to the dressed lettuce are:

Cherry Tomatoes and Chicken.

How I cooked the chicken: I had chicken fillets, cut them in slimmer pieces, mixed them with a sauce made of passata, olive oil, pepper and dried basil, small oven safe dish and put them in the preheated oven for approx. 20 min. It’s as simple as that.

Raw Cauliflower and Carrot Batons Salad

The added ingredients to the dressed lettuce are:

Carrot batons (cut by hand, not bought)

green olives

cherry tomatoes

Raw Cauliflower may sound weird to many of you, but it is sooo good with houmous. And it is crunchy. The secret is to cut it into small bouquets. ya?

To add taste you can use some of the brine from the olives.

The Pink Salad

The addes ingredients to the dressed lettuce are:

Cooked beetroot

raw cauliflower

olives

cooked salmon

To cook the salmon, in any shape you may have bought it, the easiset thing is to cook it in the oven with some spices, for 10 min. When it is done do not forget to squeeze lots of lemon juice over it. You know what to do with the rest of the ingredients!

I hope that you will enjoy these salad ideas and experiment yourself new salads! It is easy to eat healthy, as long as you don not think too hard about what exactly is in the chicken, how was the salmon cut, how much nitrogen was used to grow the carrots or if the salad was washed with water and chloride.

However, this is not the case with most Scottish& British vegetables or meats. So I have been told. Therefore do try these recipes!

What is it going to be this year: Red…or Blue Valentine?

The above title should be read with Gossip Girl’s voice, otherwise it will not sound right.

It is time to share with you my take on Valentine’s Day Brunch last year (when I had someone to share it with. ahahaha!). As breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, a Valentine’s Brunch seemed perfect. Plus you get more time for… fun  afterwards, ya kno wha I mean (Scottish accent)

Notice that this menu is very simplistic and unsophisticated but give it a go anyway, whether it is Valentines or any other day.

Menu

Appetizer: Salmon Entrées

Main Course: Fondue du Fromage served with a crudité platter

Dessert: Chocolate Lava Cake with Berries

Recipes

Salmon Entrées

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Bread

Cucamber

Radishes

Smoked/Marinated Salmon

Carrots

Parsley

Method:

I did not list any quantities as this a simple recipe and you can be very inventive and make as many appetizers as you like. Also you can use crackers or oatcakes (as long as they are healthy) instead of bread, and your choice of vegetables and spices.

Fondue du Fromage (Recipe from epicurious.com)

2 cups grated Emmental cheese

2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

1 garlic clove

1+1/2 cups dry/semi-dry white wine

Method:

If you do not have a fondue pot set, just use a thick bottomed pot. Rub the garlic clove.around the sides of the pot, pour the wine and simmer over moderate heat.

Next, add the cheese gradually, while stirring in a zig zag pattern to prevent cheese from balling up. Do not let boil. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until melted and creamy and amazing.

Set fondue pot over flame, or if you don’t have a fondue set just use your imagination to come up with a similar pot-flame system.

Serve with whole wheat breads like focaccia or baguette, cut into cubes and vegetables like carrots, cucambers, radishes etc.

Enjoy with a French-like appetite!

And now to the interesting part: Chocolate Lava Cakes with berries

(you will need oven safe ramekins, 4 large ones or 6 smaller ones)

Ingredients:

olive oil, to coat the ramekins

cocoa powder, to dust the ramekins

100g really dark chocolate (85%), chopped

2 eggs

5 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter at room temperature

2+3/4 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon creme fraiche

Method:

First, prepare the ramekins by coating them with olive oil (use a tissue soaked in a bit of oil) and dusting them with cocoa powder.

The next step is to melt the chocolate. Always do this over bain marie (not in the microwave), as this method protects the beautiful qualities of chocolate.

While the chocolate is melting of desire to be transformed into lava cakes, whisk the eggs with the sugar, until pale yellow and smooth.

When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and mix in the butter. Chocolate and eggs are always a winning mixture when baking, so next add the whisked eggs to the chocolate mixture. Enrich this by adding the flour and the creme fraiche. Now the batter is done, so pour it into the remekins and place in the freezer overnight.

As these cakes  should be molted in the middle it helps if they are cooler when you put them in the oven.

To bake, preheat oven to 350 F, place ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 13 min. The cakes should be baked on the margines but moist in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 min. To take the cakes out of the ramekins, use a sharp knife to scrape the cake from the sides of the ramekins. Place the cake on a serving plate and top with berries or fruit of your choice.

Be nice to your Valentine throughout your relationship, not just on Valentine’s Day! Although this menu is very simple and basic it gives you a base on which you can improve and expand.

Have fun!