I Love Salads!!

Lunch, Salad

As most of you know by now, I love salads!! Favourites are always hard to choose but time and time again I find myself coming back to these two recipes so obviously I had to share them.

The bitter tang of feta with the smooth crunch of toasted hazelnuts make a simple broccoli and tomato salad sing for me. My second salad recipe offers you a taste of the Middle East with the addition of a simple tahini sauce to enliven a simple red cabbage slaw.

Both recipes will keep well in the fridge for at least 3-4 days once stored in a resealable container. I would regularly make these at the start of the week and refill my lunchbox daily from these along some simple salad greens and a protein source. Check out my food prep guide for more simple mealtime ideas.

Salads, Delalicious

Broccoli, Tomato, Feta & Hazelnut

Serves 4 as a side.

Broccoli, Tomato, Feta & Hazelnut Salad, Delalicious

  • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g Feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, remove from the heat and add the broccoli florets. Cover with the lid and allow to blanch for 8-10 minutes (you want the broccoli to still have a bite but not rock hard).
  2. Strain the broccoli and rinse under cold running water until fully cooled. Continue to strain any excess water until ready to use.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts on a frying pan or in a medium heat oven until the skin begins to loosen, remove from the pan/oven and allow to cool.
  4. Once the hazelnuts are cooled, chop in half.
  5. Whisk together the olive oil, honey, sesame oil,  apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  6. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.

Middle Eastern Style Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 5 as a side.

Middle Eastern Style Red Cabbage Slaw, Delalicious

  • 200g red cabbage
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3 tsp tahini paste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tsp
  • 3 tbsp water
  1. Finely slice the red cabbage and spring onion. Julienne (or finely slice) the carrots.
  2. Place all the vegetables and seeds in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir through 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of olive oil.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and water until you get a runny sauce (depending on the consistency of your tahini, your sauce may still be too thick or too thin – if so, just add more tahini to make it thicker and more water to make it thinner).
  5. Serve the salad in a large bowl with a drizzle of the sauce over the top.

Tomato, Olive & Fennel Seed Oat Loaf

Breakfast, Snack, Treats

This is a twist on my Oat & Seed Loaf that gives a Mediterranean vibe to have with soup or salad. Perfect for gluten-free (substitute gluten-free oats) or lactose-free (substitute lactose-free yoghurt) diets! Simply bump up the quantity of olives, tomatoes & fennel seeds to your liking!

  • 8 pitted black olives
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 300g oats
  • 1 tsp bread soda
  1. Finely slice the olives and tomatoes. 
  2. Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well together until it’s well combined. 
  3. Place the mix into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180C for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes cleanly out.  

 

Smoky Aubergine, Bacon & Tomato Lentils

Dinner, Lunch

This lentil dish is a real hearty meal full of middle eastern flavours that will keep you going all day. Shredded chicken would also work great to substitute the bacon. It also freezes really well so perfect for a work lunchbox filler.

  • coconut oil
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4-5 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g brown lentils
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 150g smoked cooked bacon/rashers/left over ham
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  1. Melt 2 tsp coconut oil over a medium heat in a large pan.
  2. Roughly chop the aubergine into generous chunks, add to the pan and fry for about 15-20 mins until softened. 
  3. Add the finely sliced garlic, paprika, chopped tomatoes & balsamic vinegar & fry for another 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir through the lentils, add the stock and bring to a boil. Return to a simmer and cover to cook for 40 minutes until the lentils are soft & plump.
  5. Chop the bacon into cubes and add to the lentils with the creme fraiche. If you struggle to find cooked smoked bacon, I get mine in Polish/Eastern European grocery shops. 
  6. Serve hot with some beetroot stalks, kale or spinach.

Tuscan Style Baked Cod

Dinner

I recently entered this recipe in this years Cono Sur Food Bloggers competition and I was lucky enough to be shortlisted. The top three in Ireland is decided by public vote which closes on Tuesday October 15th, make sure and vote at: http://bloggercompetition.conosur.com/index.php.

I decided to enter this dish as it is both appealing to our sensory and visual taste-buds. It is a very simple dish to prepare but doesn’t lack in flavour or wow value for the lucky diner who enjoys your creation. Happy cooking and I would really appreciate all of your votes!!

 I made my own nettle pesto from wild, foraged nettles from the fields but it can also be purchased. In Ireland one of the best suppliers is Wild About. If making your own, ensure you pick young nettles that look much smaller and a lighter green than the bigger, older ones. Also make sure to wear gloves or wrap your hand in a plastic bag to prevent those nasty nettle stings and I promise the pesto doesn’t sting you!!

Nettle Pesto:

  • 25g freshly picked nettle tops
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 25g parmesan
  • 10 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. De-stalk the nettle tops and lightly rinse. 
  2. Strain the nettles and squeeze any excess water off.
  3. Add the garlic, ground almonds and 3 tbsp olive oil to a food processor and gently pulse until they form a paste. 
  4. Continue to pulse, whilst adding the nettles, parmesan and 1 tbsp at a time of the oil until it all combines into a pesto. 
  5. Season with the pepper and transfer to a sterilised glass jar (simply rinse with water and place in a hot oven to dry).
  6. Keeps fresh in the fridge for at least 4 weeks.

Baked Cod:

  • 1 cod fillet
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp nettle pesto
  1. Pre-heat an oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a baking tray or oven-proof dish with tin-foil.
  3. Place the cod skin side down onto the tin-foil. Spoon over the pesto to evenly cover the fish. Layer the tomatoes slices on top and simply place in the oven for 20 mins.  
  4. Serve on a bed of roasted sweet potatoes and steamed kale or spinach and courgette.

Cupcake Quiches

Fish, Lunch, Salad, Snack

These mini quiches freeze perfectly so act as a great post-training or lunchbox filler alongside some salad. Or why not try them as a quick breakfast or bunch option with some wilted greens and a dash of my homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce. You can substitute the mackerel with salmon, tuna, ham or chicken as you like!

  • 4 eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 5 medium mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 50g feta cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat an oven to 180°C and line a cupcake tray with silicone cases or else grease each section with some melted coconut oil.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add in the vegetables, cubed feta and flaked mackerel.
  4. Season with some pepper and whisk all the ingredients together.
  5. Evenly pour the mixture amongst the cases and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until a skewer comes out cleanly. IMG_2658
  6. Leave to cool in the cases and gently ease out onto a wire rack.

Put a Spring in Your Step

Salad

As the days are getting longer and the sun has finally arrived, it means salad is in season!! The two recipes below work great on their own or as a side with any meat, quiche, frittata, sandwich or BBQ. The dressing can be stored in the fridge and added to any kind of salad.

Broccoli, Feta, Hazelnut, Tomato:

IMG_1642

  • 1/2 head of broccoli
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 pack Feta cheese
  • handful hazelnuts
  • 3 tbsp “The Frenchie” dressing
  1. Toast the hazelnuts on a frying pan or in a medium heat oven until the skin begins to loosen, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  2. Cut the broccoli into small florets, quarter the tomatoes, cube the feta cheese and place in a bowl.
  3. Once the hazelnuts are cooled, place them in a tea towel and rub together until all the skin is removed.
  4. Add hazelnuts and dressing to the bowl and mix well.

Carrot, Courgette, Sesame Salad:

IMG_1640

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 2 tbsp mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp “The Frenchie” dressing
  1. Lightly toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds over a medium heat until you see the seeds begin to swell, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. Coarsely grate the carrot and courgette into a bowl.
  3. Add all the seeds and dressing and mix well.

The Frenchie Dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Generous squeeze of lemon juice
  • Fresh pepper
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  1. Add all ingredients to a jar, put on the lid and shake until well combined.
  2. Taste and season with more pepper, honey or lemon juice as required.
  3. Keep in the fridge for up to a month.