Sun, sea and salad – just a few of my favourite things about summer!!
Salad is one of the easiest things to make at home, you can create a really tasty meal super fast and with very few ingredients.
Transporting salads can be notoriously difficult and can end in a sad, soggy mess. Using a jar is not only great for the environment but also the ideal way to create a simple layered salad. So next time, keep a big one aside for your next salad feast.
When using a jar or lunchbox, the key is how you layer the ingredients. I prefer to put the messy ingredients – yes I’m looking at you tomatoes or beetroot at the bottom. Add a layer of grain on top followed by your remaining ingredients. Finish with the delicate leafy greens on top. Keep dressings separate in a small jar or tub and add when you are ready to eat .
- 1/2 large tomato
- sea salt
- 2 tbsp Curried Apricot & Raisin Couscous
- 1/2 carrot
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- black pepper
- 50g smoked mackerel
- 1 large fistful baby leaf spinach
- Dice the tomato and mix through a pinch of sea salt.
- Spoon the tomato into the bottom of the jar followed by the couscous.
- Create carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
- Add the vinegar and a pinch of black pepper to the carrots and mix well.
- Place the carrot ribbons on top of the couscous, followed by the mackerel and top it all with the spinach.
- Place in the fridge until ready to eat.
I recently got a challenge from some of my friends to make a recipe using chicken and beans and this is the very tasty result. I’ve added a few more ingredients but they are things you will easily find in your cupboards at home. The tomato based sauce can be prepared ahead and frozen in batches or stored in the fridge. The sauce works great as a base for pasta dishes or mixed through some mince or shredded chicken for a quick and easy dinner. Serve the chicken with rice, mashed potatoes/vegetables or steamed green vegetables.
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 paprika
- 1 tbsp Tabasco or hot chilli sauce
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin cannellini/butter beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 3 large handfuls spinach
- 3 rashers, chopped or 50g bacon lardons
- 5 chicken breasts/thighs
- Preheat an oven to 160°C.
- Over a medium heat, fry off the chopped rashers in a large saucepan. Once nicely browned, remove to the side and rinse the pan.
- Melt the coconut oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the cooked rashers, dried herbs, spices and tomatoes to the pan and continue to cook until the sauce begins to bubble. (At this stage you could place the sauce into a container, allow to cool and place in the fridge or freezer for future use.)
- Reduce the heat and stir through the beans and spinach before transferring to a large ovenproof dish.
- Rinse the saucepan and brown the chicken on all sides.
- Nestle the chicken breasts amongst the bean mix and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Salad in my mind should be fresh, crisp and clean; this recipe combines all three. This salad is inspired by a side-dish in Campagne, Kilkenny where you should definitely experience the work of chef Garrett Byrne. The toasted hazelnut dressing adds a deep layer of flavour whilst not drowning the leaves.
- 2 tbsp hazelnuts
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 10 florets tenderstem or purple sprouting broccoli
- 1 head baby gem lettuce
- 2 large fistfuls baby leaf spinach
- Handful veg crisps
- Place the hazelnuts in a frying pan over a medium heat & toast until the skin begins to detach.
- Save 1 tbsp for later, place the remaining hazelnuts in a food processor & blitz to a fine crumble consistency.
- Place the blitzed hazelnuts, oil, lemon juice & zest in a clean jam jar. Tighten the lid & shake to combine. Taste, if you want more lemon just add another squeeze of lemon juice.
- Bring a small pan of water to the boil, remove from the heat & add the broccoli. Allow to blanch for 5 mins, strain & refresh with cold water.
- In a large mixing bowl, separate the leaves from the head of baby gem, add the spinach, broccoli, toasted halved hazelnuts & 2 tbsp of the oil. Mix it all together gently with your hands.
- Transfer to a large serving platter & sprinkle the veg crisps over to finish.
This quiche is a nod towards Little Green Spoon’s almond based version. Any mix of meat and vegetables will work great, it can be served hot or cold with a simple salad and your hunger will be quickly banished!!
If you don’t like almonds simply replace the base with traditional shortcrust/puff pastry or leave the pastry base out completely and simply use all the remaining ingredients to create a frittata.
- 300g ground almonds
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp softened coconut oil
- 2 large handfuls spinach
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes
- 3 spring onions
- 1 small hot-smoked salmon fillet
- 1/2 log goats cheese
- 6 eggs
- 50ml milk
- Preheat an oven to 180°C.
- Mix together all the base ingredients with a fork until they begin to form a breadcrumb type consistency.
- Firmly press the almond mix into the base and sides of a lined baking tray, bake in the oven for 10 mins.
- Halve the tomatoes and finely slice the spring onions. Roughly chop the spinach and gently wilt in a frying pan over a low heat.
- Once the base is baked, evenly place the spinach, tomatoes and onions over the base. Flake in the salmon and add in thin medallions of goats cheese.
- Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour into the quiche dish.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 mins until a knife runs clean when placed through the centre of the quiche.