Thai Corn and Mango Salad with Pomegranate Relish

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Tuesday nights are Rock’n’Roll dancing nights. Our usual pack drill is we just go dancing straight from work and skip dinner – and this was the plan yesterday. Instead we left work earlier than usual and went home. We didn’t have time to make any dinner so going home was essentially a waste of time.

That said – I did have to pay Freya’s mum for my new knife (well ‘cleaver’) that she picked up for me from Grand Designs at the weekend. The new ‘cleaver’ is a Hammer Stahl 7 inch Asian Cleaver. It’s beautifully weighted and looks stunning. I’ve been a hardcore advocate of Global knives for years. My friend Brad got me on to them some time ago and I didn’t think I’d ever stray – but the Hammer Stahl is very well balanced. And it was a bargain too at £85. Amazing how cheap you can pick up stuff at these shows. Hopefully I can pick up some more if Flint and Flame are at the Stonor Food Fayre this year.

I used the Asian Cleaver to julienne the mango and the spring onions in the final dish I’m making from Honestly Healthy for Life. It is very sharp – and a pleasure to use.

Anyway! enough of the knife idolising.

We got home from dancing at 11pm and Freya was hungry so I decided to make this last dish. It can be done in less than 30 minutes and we needed to wind down so I put it together and we ate it before going to bed. It’s pretty much carb free so I don’t think it’ll affect the waistline.

You simply boil some corn on the cob, then slice it into 2cm slices and sear it in oil on a hot plate. While you’re waiting you mix together some rocket, pomegranate seeds, mango, spring onions, bamboo shoots (which I omitted because mine weren’t fresh enough) and toss in a dressing of sunflower oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger and pomegranate molasses.

Very simple, very quick, very yummy.

I adapted this dish a little for work the next day and added julienned cucumber and some leftover spinach – and a few shavings of parmesan. It wasn’t quite as colourful – lacking the pomegranate seeds – but it was still an eye turner.

I’m still not the master of stripping down a mango. There has to be a better way than my clumsy way. Any suggestions?

 

Citrus Seaweed Salad

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My penultimate dish from the shortlisted selection from Honestly Healthy for Life is this interestingly different dish.

Another incredibly basic dish that just requires a bit of preparation.

Segment a grapefruit and an orange, dice some cucumber, and toss together with Wakame seaweed, sesame seeds and an Asian dressing.

I bought my Wakame seaweed from souschef.co.uk but  I think you can get it in most Chinese Supermarkets and I’ve since found it on Amazon.

Wakame supposedly has a fat burning protein, although I’m not sure how much of it you’d have to eat – and how regularly – before it made any difference to your waistline!

Wakame is usually bought dry and you rehydrate it by soaking it in water for 20 minutes or so. It’s very tasty and it smells lovely too.

I kept picking at this dish all day while I was working away on the boat yesterday. Freya wasn’t as keen as I think the Asian dressing was a bit too spicy.

It’s always tricky when someone says ‘one teaspoon of red chilli’. What do they mean. Dried chilli? Chilli flakes? Fresh Chilli? And then which chilli? Mild, hot, extra hot? It’s tricky to get chilli right in a dish other than to suck it and see – modify and try again. For me it was perfect but I’m a chilli head and will eat insanely hot chilli. Freya isn’t really one for anything other than a mild one.

If we make this again I’ll tone down the chilli. It was tasty enough without it.

 

Puy Lentil, Brown Rice and Sweet Potato Salad

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I think I’ve just made the best thing I’ve ever eaten – and apparently it’s incredibly good for you too.

This recipe comes from ‘Honestly Healthy for Life’ by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson. This was my birthday present from Freya (the book not the meal) – and I’m really chuffed with it. 

There are so many textures and flavours going on in this recipe. Brown rice and puy lentils, sweet potatoes, edamame beans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, spring onions and dill – hmm its just so yummy – and I know I’ll make this regularly. If I had a top 5 this would be in it.

The pumpkin seeds are especially interesting as they are roasted with tamari (soy sauce) and they end up with a lovely intense flavour that really contrasts with everything else.

There is also a dressing of sunflower oil, parsley, lemon and salt which keeps it all nice and moist and gives a nice citrus tang. The dill also really features well.

You really have to make this dish – we had it warm – but only because time was getting on and I was hungry and impatient for it to cool down. We only ate half so no doubt this will be lunch for tomorrow – and I can’t imagine it being any less awesome cold!

Beetroot, Sweet Potato and Carrot Salad

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I wish I could remember where I found this recipe. It was incredible easy apart from the bloodbath that is peeling and dicing beetroots.

Once they are diced, you boil them in very little water, and when they are half done you add the sweet potato. Once cooked, drain and allow to cool. Then you simply toss them together with some grated carrot, coriander and mint.

What I did love about this salad was the way the beetroot juice bled into the sweet potatoes; it gave them an interesting colouring.

When I remember where I found this recipe I’ll re-edit the post – just thought I’d put it out there!

Buffalo Mozzarella with Peperonata and Rosemary Ciabatta Croutons

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Now here’s a yummy salad. 

Also taken from ‘Friends Round the Table’ by Acland Geddes and Pedro da Silva, this was pulled from the Times Eat supplement.

The peperonata takes some time to make so it you think this salad is going to be ready in 20 minutes, it isn’t. I think it took me nearly 45 minutes to make this. That said it was worth it. The peppers were nice and sweet and went really well with the rosemary ciabatta (not in the photo). 

Peperonata is basically julienned peppers, diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. This one also had capers. 

Once the peperonata is ready you let it cool and serve it on a bed of rocket with some basil and torn mozzarella. The addition of toasted pinenuts and a drizzle of olive oil really finished it off well.

We had a bit of a nightmare with the ciabatta. Not only did Ocado substitute the ciabatta for a rustic artisan stick, turns out that it wasn’t even in the delivery so we had no bread at all ! We stole some stale bread from Freya’s parents while they were away – and revived it in the halogen oven. It kind of worked but it was a bit crunchy.

This was a perfect light meal – and I’ll certainly be making it again.

 

Veggiestan Waldorf Salad

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When I read this recipe in Veggiestan I thought ‘hmm, might be a bit boring’. How wrong could I be.

This is a very exciting take on a Waldorf Salad and would make the perfect side to anything from fish to chicken to Halloumi – I could go on.

We both thought that it could be made into a perfect main with the simple addition of some bread (maybe pitta or garlicky croutons) and some cheese (maybe shaved parmesan – or Freya’s preference Stilton).

I like this kind of dish on a work day because you can take all the ingredients to work in their raw state and just prepare it when you want to eat.

There’s nothing worse than preparing a salad in the morning, popping it in some Tuppaware and then seeing it degrade before you get to eat it. You can prevent this somewhat by keeping the dressing separate but as soon as you start cutting apples or such-like they will lose their colour – so it’s best you just do it when you want it.

A traditional Waldorf salad is made from fresh apples, celery and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and usually served on a bed of lettuce. This dish differs slightly with the addition or raisins, chopped coriander and chopped mint, green pepper and onions. Also there is no mayonaisse. The dressing is made from yoghurt, oil, saffron, seasioning and cider vinegar.

I used some really colourful little gem lettuces (with nice purple tinges), and red onion in my version to make it look less green.

I love this. It packs a punch and has lots of different textures and flavours running through it. It’s a great salad – and it’s made with ingredients I usually have knocking about. I’ll never make a traditional Waldorf again.