Salad Niçoise

NicoiseEnough for 2:

  • 2 eggs (hard boiled)
  • 6 small new potatoes (cooked and cooled)
  • Torn green salad leaves (I used a mixture of little gem and rocket)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 25 fine green beans (cooked lightly, cooled and cut in half)
  • Small tin of anchovies (c. 10 fillets), drained
  • 120g can of tuna steak (drained)
  • 12 small pieces of grilled/marinated artichoke
  • 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
  • Dressing: oil, vinegar, black pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Either combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl (for serving) or arrange neatly on two plates – the choice is yours!

Warm Duck Salad

Duck_Salad2-horzThis is a recipe I thought up on a hot day – for 2 people:

  • 2 duck legs
  • 60g wild rocket
  • 90g quinoa (cooked according to the instructions, rinsed, drained and cooled)
  • 1 red pepper (charred (over a gas ring or with a blowtorch, skin rinsed off, and sliced (1/2cm wide))
  • 20 fine green beans (cooked, cooled and cut into 3cm lengths)
  • 40 (approx) pumpkin seeds (I used butternut squash seeds, as I roasted a squash at the same time as the duck legs)
  • 2 spring onions sliced (actually I used some cocktail pickled onions (quartered) that were lurking in the fridge)
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1 fresh pineapple ring (cut into thin wedges)
  • For the dressing:
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 2cm cube of fresh ginger (finely grated)
    • 1 small red chilli (finely chopped)
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
    • Juice of 1/6th of a lime
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • Pineapple juice squeeze from the left-over peelings

Prick the skin of the duck legs all over, and place on a trivet over a roasting tin. Roast for 1.5 hours at 160C (Gas mark 3) or until the skin is crispy and the flesh cooked, basting occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the quinoa, rocket, red pepper, green beans, pumpkin seeds and onions.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix half the dressing with the salad.

When the duck is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Then cut into rough slices, (I found a pair of kitchen scissor were useful here, as you need to cut around the bones).

To serve, divide the salad between two plates. Place the duck pieces on top and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and the remaining dressing.

 

Potato salad

Potato_Salad

This recipe appeared in Waitrose’s Kitchen magazine in May 2014. Enough for 4 people as a side dish:

  • 500g small new potatoes
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (good quality)
  • Juice 1/4 lemon
  • 4 spring onions (finely sliced)
  • 4 cornichons (chopped)
  • 1/2 tbsp capers (drained)
  • 6 sprigs of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh tarragon (finely chopped)

Cook the potatoes (boil for about 15-20 minutes until cooked).

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, oil and lemon juice in a large bowl.

Drain the potatoes (reserving 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid). Return to the pan, and allow to dry over a gentle heat for about 2 minutes.

Cut the warm potatoes in half and add to the mayonnaise mixture, together with the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to combine, and set aside to cool.

When cool add the spring onions, cornichons, capers and herbs.

I served mine with smoked mackerel, horseradish (combined with creme fraiche) and beetroot.

Potato, cheese and onion pie

Potato_Pie_Tile

This is a variation on the classic Pomme Dauphinoise. The recipe is based on one in Jean Conil’s Cuisine Vegetarienne Francaise (published in 1985). Enough for 2 as a main meal:

  • 2 largish onions (finely sliced)
  • 50g butter
  • 500g potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 150ml double cream
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 80g grated Cheddar

Heat half the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in the onions and leave to cook very gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rub a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the ingredients) with garlic (cut in half). Retain the garlic. Butter the dish with the remaining butter.

Peel the potatoes and cut into rounds about 5mm thick. Place in a pan of cold water. Bring the boil and drain.

Beat together the cream, the egg and garlic (crushed). Season with black pepper and grated nutmeg.

Arrange half the potato slices in the bottom of the shallow dish. Pour over half the egg and cream mixture, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Then arrange the onions on top. Layer the remaining potatoes, pour over the remaining cream and egg mix, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake in the oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

Leek, potato and carrot soup

Potage_Flamande

I had some of the green ends of leeks so I made this soup which is based on an Elizabeth David recipe for Potage Flamande. Enough for 3:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 leeks (washed and sliced) – I used the equivalent in ‘green leek tops’
  • 1 carrot (sliced)
  • 1 large potato (peeled and sliced)
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 1 heaped tsp vegi-stock
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Lemon juice and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the leek slices and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the potato and carrot slices and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the boiling water, and stir in the stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend using a hand blender. Reheat until just boiling. Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Serve with croutons (see final paragraph sweet potato and red pepper soup).

Greek salad

Greek_salad_tile

Enough for lunch for 2 (served with bread):

  • 100g feta (cut into small cubes, or crumbled)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1/3rd of a cucumber (diced)
  • 14 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 12 olives (stoned and halved)
  • A few sprigs of mint
  • A few sprigs of flat parsley
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • less than 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • Black pepper

Combine the feta, spring onions, cucumber tomatoes and olives in a bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking together the herbs, garlic, oil, vinegar and black pepper. Stir into the salad.

Serve.

Smoked haddock with lentils

Smoked_haddock&lentils

The recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Eat. The cream and the smoked haddock make a great combination. Enough for 2:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 250g smoked haddock (skin removed)
  • 6 black pepper corns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 carrot (finely diced)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 15g butter
  • 120g green lentils
  • 300ml stock (made with vegi-stock powder)
  • A generous amount of chopped parsley
  • Black pepper and lemon juice to season

Heat the cream in a saucepan (one which will accommodate the fish), together with the haddock, the pepper corns and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave covered. The fish should continue cooking (if not sufficiently cooked gently heat the pan again).

In another pan, melt the butter and add the carrots and onion, and gently cook for 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and the stock. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (are until the lentils are just cooked). Stir in the cream (from cooking the fish (having removed the fish, pepper corns and bay leaves)), and continue cooking so that the liquid reduces, until it just covers the lentils.

Stir in the parsley and season. Divide the lentil mixture between two plates and top each with half the haddock.

Serve.