Asparagus, Artichoke and Roast Pepper Salad with Feta, Olives and Parmesan

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So there are a few cheats in this one, but honestly one of the yummiest flavour combinations that will transform your mid week meals into something special! Super quick to make and packed with deliciousness!

  • 3 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tub of marinated artichokes
  • 1 Roasted red pepper with skin removed
  • About 10 pitted black olives
  • 1 round of feta cheese
  • 2 cups of fresh green asparagus
  • Fresh Parmesan Shavings
  • Rocket leaves (Arugula) to garnish
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle
  • Balsamic Glaze to drizzle

Wash and drain the spinach leaves and arrange on a serving plate / dish and drizzle a teeny bit of balsamic glaze over to dress lightly.

Steam the asparagus for 5 -6 minutes and then add them to ice water to cool. Then remove and pat dry and season with salt and pepper and put aside.

Arrange the sliced roast pepper, olives, feta, artichokes and seasoned asparagus on top of the spinach leaves and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Top with parmesan shavings and rocket leaves and then drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top and serve.

Enjoy x

Pan-Fried Gnocchi and Blue Cheese Salad

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I am LOVING blue cheese at the moment and am loving experimenting with different ways of using it. I came across this recipe and juggled it slightly and was super stoked with the outcome! All  the beautiful flavours of blue cheese buddies with the soft comforting yumminess of the soft, scrumptious gnocchi.

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Package of dried gnocchi
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g Walnuts
  • 200g or a small pack of streaky bacon
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 50g Dried cranberries
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • A big bunch of fresh Rocket (Arugula)
  • 80g Blue cheese of your choice

 

Method 

  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the gnocchi straight from the packaging to the hot melted butter and saute until golden brown. (5 – 10 minutes)
  • Add the walnuts and garlic to the pan with the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Put the gnocchi and walnuts into a warm dish and return the pan with any juice to the stove and add the bacon, onions and cranberries and saute until the onions are soft. add the Gnocchi and walnuts and toss and leave to cool for a little bit.
  • Add the rocket and toss together and crumble the blue cheese on top with a bit more rocket to garnish and serve immediately.

 

Crispy Oriental Chicken Salad

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Well things in our home have been hectic to say the least! A busy toddler is no joke! But I am trying to get back into getting  bit more creative with the meals I have been making and I am trying hard to find a little time to look for some yummy recipes to share with you. I found this one yesterday and made it last night and it was a real winner! My son has a gluten intolerance so I used gluten free flour to make the whole dish gluten free and it was a hit! Beautiful fresh flavours. I apologise for the quality of the photo – I’ll get better!

Ingredients: 

For the Batter: 

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour (I used gluten free flour)
  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad: 

  • 4 – 5 chicken breasts
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, finely Julienne
  • 1 cup red or green baby cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cucumber – sliced
  • 60g flaked almonds and 2 chopped spring onions for sprinkling on top
  • Oil for frying

For the dressing: 

  • 6 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbs sushi vinegar (you can use rice wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Splash of sesame oil (half a teaspoon at the most)

Method: 

  1. Put all the dressing ingredients into a little blender and blitz until mixed and put aside.
  2. Mix the egg and milk together in a bowl and then in a separate bowl mix the flour and cornflakes together and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the chicken into thin strips, then dip each strip into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture, making sure that it is covered completely.
  4. I used my deep fryer to cook the strips but if you don’t have one then you can use a pot and put enough oil in to deep fry at a relatively high temperature until the coating is a crispy golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel. You will need to probably do the chicken in batches.
  5. Mix all your salad greens and bits in a bowl or separate bowls for each person, place the chicken strips on top and then sprinkle with the almonds and spring onions. Finally dress the salad with that yummy dressing! ENJOY!

New Potato Salad

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This recipe idea is from a friend of mine who did something similar. Its such a great take on potato salad and really livens up what can be a somewhat boring and done to death salad!

500g baby potatoes but in half lengthways

1/3 cup tangy mayonnaise

1/3 cup creamy mayonnaise

1 cup cooked corn (either frozen or cut off the cob)

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 boiled eggs (optional) – cut into quarters

salt and pepper to taste

 

– Place the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to the boil and boil them until soft (but not falling apart)

– Drain and cool

– Mix the mayonnaise together and add the red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix into the potatoes. Add the corn and fold through the salad gently.

– sprinkle with the spring onions, garnish with boiled eggs and serve.

 

 

Watermelon, Feta and Black Olive Salad

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I’ve seen a few recipes for watermelon salad and it made me quite curious! I made this one by Nigella the other night as a side dish to some Chicken thighs that I cooked with chinese 5 – spice and sweet chili sauce, sesame seeds and rice noodles.  It worked beautifully together. You may be hesitant to try black olives, feta and red onion with watermelon!! But it’s a fantastic combination 🙂  The little trick with soaking red onions in lime (or lemon juice) works brilliantly if you want to add red onion to any salad. I will use that trick for the rest of my life! 🙂

1 small red onion

4 limes

1.5 kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)

250 grams feta cheese

1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley

1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

100 grams pitted black olives

black pepper

  • Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  • Remove the rind and pips from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 4cm / 1½ inch triangular chunks, if that makes sense (maths is not my strong point). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  • Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.

Recipe by Nigella

The photo is mine

Lamb Kofte, Pitta and Greek Salad

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I think that I shared the same point of view with many other people who have tried to lose weight before with various diets. And that is that healthy, low fat food has no taste, no pizzaz, offers zero challenge or excitement to an adventurous cook who’s looking to up their skills and learn more about food and flavour.  This presented me with a real dilemma in that I felt as though I had to choose between my love of cooking, food and my health.

Something had to give right? WRONG.

I really applaud Jamie Oliver and his intense mission that he has undertaken to introduce healthy eating habits and has not just highlighted a problem, but has offered a solution in his recipes that are FULL of amazing flavour, are quick and easy to make but remain interesting, fresh and different!   I don’t have to choose between interesting great tasting food and my health, I can now cook amazing food that is good for me but that also feeds my cooking and food passion. It’s just about making the right choices, cutting the wrong things out and focussing on flavour combinations and making good, healthy food WORK well by combining it with the right stuff! Something that Jamie does very well and is teaching me how to do which has proven to be a very valuable lifestyle lesson!

I made this from his 15 Minute Meals recipe book last night and have fallen in love with it! The honey and pistachio coating is just gorgeous. The honey adds a subtle sweetness that lamb loves and the pistachios add interesting colour as well as a beautiful texture.  I also really enjoyed the grated red onion and cucumber mixture that he puts on the greek salad. It worked so well and I am not usually a fan of onion in salad, but this was fantastic!

This meal works so well for entertaining as you can just pop platters on a table and people can go nuts! I will definitely do this one again! ENJOY! 🙂

Kofte

400g lean lamb mince

1 tsp garam masala

Olive oil

25g shelled pistachios

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tbsp runny honey

Couscous

½ bunch fresh mint

1 fresh red chilli

½ mug (150g) of couscous

Salad

½ an iceberg lettuce

½ a red onion

½ a cucumber

5 ripe cherry tomatoes

4 black olives (stone in)

4 heaped tbsp fat-free yoghurt

2 lemons

40g feta cheese

To serve:

4 Pita breads

  • In a large bowl, mix the mince with salt, pepper and the garam masala.
  • Divide into 8, then with wet hands shape into little fat fingers.
  • Put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning until dark golden all over.
  • Tear off most of the top leafy half of the mint and blitz in the processor with a pinch of salt and pepper and the chilli until fine. Remove the blade, stir in ½ mug of couscous and 1 mug of boiling water, put the lid on and leave to sit in the processor.
  • Cut the lettuce into wedges and arrange on a nice board or platter.
  • Peel and coarsely grate the onion and cucumber into a bowl, season well with salt, then squeeze out any excess salty liquid and sprinkle over the lettuce.
  • Chop and add the tomatoes, then squash, destone and dot over the olives.
  • Mix the yoghurt in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon, season to taste , then drizzle over the lettuce and crumble over the feta.
  • Bash the pistachios in a pestle and mortar.
  • Drain away the fat from the lamb, then toss with the bashed nuts, thyme leaves and honey and turn the heat off.
  • Pop the pitas in the microwave (800W)  for 45 seconds to warm through, then cut in half and add to the board with the kofte.
  • Fluff up the cous cous, scatter the remaining mint leaves over everything and serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Recipe and photo by Jamie Oliver

Oriental Chicken Salad

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This recipe was given to me by a friend. I tried it the same night and absolutely loved it! It’s light and full of wonderful flavour. The ricotta is also such a lovely touch and works so well with the chilli. It makes a great change to throwing some Feta onto a salad!  Thanks Nikki for a great addition to the blog and my meal planning 🙂

2 Handfulls of rocket

1 handfull of fresh watercress

2 handfulls baby spinach

2 small oranges

1 block or 1 tub of Ricotta cheese

3 Spring onions, finely sliced

3 baby marrows, thinly sliced (lengthways)

6 – 8 baby rosa or cherry tomatoes

4 chicken breast fillets

1 Tbsp chicken spice or BBQ spice

Salt and pepper to season

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp dried origanum

Dressing:

1 tbsp Soya sauce

2 tsp Honey

2 Tbsp Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

A squirt of lemon juice

  • Slice the chicken thinly into strips, season with chicken spice and salt and pepper and brown in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.  Set aside to cool
  • Line a baking tray with foil. Break the ricotta into crumbs onto the baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, dried origanum and chilli flakes.
  • Grill in the oven until golden brown and then set aside to cool.
  • Grill the marrow slices in a griddle pan with some olive oil. (You can serve it raw if you like)
  • Prepare salad greens and other raw veg.
  • Cut the skin off the oranges and then slice into segments.
  • Arrange the rocket, watercress and spinach on a plate and top with the marrows, chicken, ricotta, tomatoes and orange slices.

For the dressing:

  • Mix all the dressing ingredients together giving it a good whisk and then drizzle over the salad when you are ready to serve.

Serves 4

Recipe by Nikki Nilsson

Lindsay’s Rebellious Salad of Walnut, Avo, Feta and Bacon… and a whole lot of other ‘stuff’

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I once went on a diet that required me to eat salad (but the boring lettuce, tomato cucumber type things) day in and day out. When I stopped the diet I fiercely disliked salad. When people asked me to bring a salad to a braai I would secretly groan as I just couldn’t bring myself to look at a lettuce, let alone get creative with it. But then, in my rebellion to the ordinary salad, I created this guy. It became a hit at social events. It has a LOT of awesome goodies in it. But that’s what makes it!

Layer the salad in the following steps, starting from the bottom layer working your way up!  This makes enough for 8 – 10 people, so you can scale it down accordingly 🙂

1)    A mixture of butter lettuce and Crisp water lettuce and baby spinach – enough to cover your salad platter

2)    1/2 a cucumber, sliced

3)    a handful or two of baby carrots sliced in half lengthways

4)    a handful of cherry tomatoes – halved

5)    1/2 of each (Red, yellow and orange peppers) sliced  julienne

6)    1 packet of bacon chopped into small chunks– fried and cooled

7)    3 or 4 rounds of black pepper feta cheese crumbled

8)    1 packet of black, pitted (if possible) marinated olives

9)    2 Avos – cubed. or sliced

10)   1 packet of thinly sliced sundried tomatoes in vinaigrette

11)    100g raw walnuts

12)    1 packet of Woolies Salad nut and seed sprinkle (or any seed and nut salad sprinkle)

13)   Croutons or veggie chips to garnish

14 ) Balsamic glaze to finish it off.

 

Char-grilled Baby Butternut Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Feta and Mint

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I have been eyeing out these little baby butternuts for ages now and finally my curiosity got the better of me and I bought them. They are teeeeny tiny little butternuts. About the size of a small baby marrow. But once I had bought then, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.

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I did a bit of research and came across Jane-Anne Hobbs’ Scrumptious blog. She has a recipe for them that really appealed to my flavour senses. I tried it, I loved it and I will make this again and again! It was amazing! And so great to find and try a new veggie that tastes and looks great on a plate! If you don’t have baby butternut you could substitute with baby marrows. I served this with some plain old ordinary baked fish fillets. I topped the fish with this salad and then gave it all another drizzle of the dressing that was left over and it worked amazingly well and elevated those boring old fillets to a much higher standard! But I can imagine it going well with anything really! Absolutely gorgeous flavours!

10 baby butternut squashes

Olive oil for rubbing

Juice of a lemon

For the dressing:

4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

Juice of a large lemon (about 3 T; 45 ml)

130 ml fruity olive oil

a pinch of salt

freshly milled black pepper

3 T (45 ml) fresh, finely chopped mint

A dash of green Tabasco sauce

crumbled feta cheese

salt and freshly milled black pepper

–   Heat a ridged griddle pan on a hot plate for 7-10 minutes, or until very, very hot. Wash and wipe each little butternut squash well to remove any furry bits. Cut the squashes, lengthways into four ‘leaves’. Using your fingers, rub each slice, top and bottom, with a little olive oil.

–   Place the slices on the griddle, in batches, and cook until dark-gold lines appear on the underside, and the edges of each slice begin to darken. Add more olive oil, if necessary. Flip the slices over. When they are nicely striped on both sides, remove them from the pan and put aside on a plate. When all the slices have been browned, pile them back into the griddle pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, wait for a few minutes for the pan to cool slightly, and squeeze over the juice of one lemon, plus a tablespoon of water. Cover the griddle pan a saucepan lid of the right size. Leave the slices to steam gently until they are just cooked: that is, tender-crisp, but not raw, and certainly not mushy.

–   In the meantime, make the dressing. Finely chop the garlic, or smash it to pieces with a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mint and bash it all together in the pestle and mortar until smooth and slightly creamy. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can blitz it in a small food processor. Let the mixture sit and infuse for ten minutes while you finish cooking the butternut slices.

–   Lift the cooked baby butternut slices from the pan, arrange on a big platter, drizzle the dressing over it and allow to cool for five minutes. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad, and set aside, at room temperature, for 20 minutes to an hour or two so the flavours can mingle.  Don’t put it in the fridge.

Serves 6

Original recipe by Jane-Anne Hobbs, slightly tweaked by me.

Photo courtesy of Jane-Anne Hobbs

Salad with Thai Green Curry Chicken Breasts

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A light and spicy salad with a coconutty twist! delicious!

1 small onion, diced

10ml crushed garlic

7.5ml crushed ginger

15ml chopped coriander

20ml canola oil

10ml thai green curry paste

30 ml desiccated coconut

6 – 8 skinless chicken breasts

5ml cornflour

pinch salt

– Pan-fry the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander in the oil.

– Add the curry paste and fry for a minute, then add the coconut.

– Cut the chicken into cubes and dust with the cornflour and salt. Add to the pan and cook on low heat until cooked through.

– Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

– Serve as a topping on a mixed green salad.

Serves 4 – 6

Recipe from the  “The Ultimate Diet Solution Cookbook”