Recipe: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

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Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!

Recipe: King Prawn Linguine

I have a vivid memory of eating a dish similar to this in Zizzis once when out with friends. It was a lovely summery evening and I was enjoying a catch up with two friends I hadn’t seen for a long while and decided to order outside of my comfort zone. This was a few years ago when I was still a little on the fussy side and had only just started to venture into the unknown world of fish and seafood. I’ve still only dipped my toe in but I do enjoy a good prawn dish. The king prawn linguine I had at Zizzi was rich, flavourful and a little spicy and it was a really memorable dinner, surprising as it was only in a chain restaurant. I’ve wanted to recreate this dish for a long time and think I’ve pretty much nailed it. Though I do say so myself.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 a fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 180g cooked and peeled king prawns
  • 200g linguine

What you do:

  1. This is a really quick recipe so get everything out and ready to go. Start by heating the olive oil in a pan with the fennel seeds, chilli and garlic. Sizzle away for a minute or so then pop in the tin of tomatoes and the herbes de provence (or any other mixed herbs) with some salt and pepper and let this cook for around 10 minutes until it has thickened and the sauce is nice and rich.
  2. Whilst the sauce is blipping away, cook the linguine according to the packet instructions and reserve a small cupful of the cooking liquid.
  3. At the end of the cooking time, add the prawns to the tomato sauce and stir gently to heat them through. Drain the pasta and add it to the prawns and tomatoes along with the reserved cooking liquid. Stir until well combined then serve in big deep bowls, ready to dive in.

 

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NERDY TIP: Using the pasta cooking liquid in a sauce helps the sauce stick to the pasta due to the starch that has released into the water. It’s a good one to remember for pretty much all pasta dishes.

I really enjoy this dish, it’s super quick, really easy and relies on a lot of things you probably already have in the cupboard. It’s lovely with a crisp green salad and some garlic bread, because, let’s face it, who can eat pasta without garlic bread? Not me.

What I Ate In A Day #9

Welcome to the great British Summer! What happened to the bright, sunny days and long, balmy nights of my childhood where I would be playing with the hosepipe from dawn till dusk and only stopping for some al fresco feasts? Will we ever experience the sun on our shoulders again or were those couple of days last month the start and end of our summer season? Lest we forget.

Despite the downpours and plunging temperatures I refuse to go back to slow cooked stews and porridge. I refuse I tell you! This particularly wet day started with some fruit compote made with a chopped peach and a large handful of frozen summer berries, topped with Greek yogurt and some homemade sultana and almond granola. You can find the recipe for that here. It’s super easy, tasty and great to have on hand for a quick, filling breakfast. As usual on a workday most of my food was eaten out of plastic containers ‘al desko’.

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This surprisingly got me through until lunch, where I chowed down on some potato salad. To make this you just boil some Jersey Royals or other salad potatoes then drain and cool. Once cooled, combine the potatoes with some chopped ham, tomatoes, gherkins, shredded spinach and salt and pepper. Mix through some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a little mayonnaise until well coated then box up and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. It was pretty good.

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I had a banana at lunch too. Boring but true. It wasn’t the nicest banana. Shame.

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Then this angelic little voice from the other end of the office said the words that everyone likes to hear on a gloomy afternoon: “does anybody want anything from the shop?” “YES!” I shouted, as if I had just been offered a date with Jason Statham. I put in my order for a bar of Galaxy and 5 minutes later was greeted with this baby. My naughty colleague had bought me the big one as I ‘looked a bit stressed’. I vowed to only eat half. I failed.

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We went food shopping after work so needed something quick and easy for dinner. Cue the quiche. No, its certainly not homemade, I mean who has time to make quiche from scratch? It was lovely though and I had it with another helping of salad potatoes with butter and cheddar cheese melted on them plus some tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of smoked sea salt. Simple but delicious.

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In keeping with my ‘screw the weather it IS summer’ theme, I had my first strawberries from Kent. They were absolutely amazing and didn’t even need to be dunked in Nutella.

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This weather might be rubbish but it has reminded me of one thing: IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!