Apple, fennel and radish salad

This is a wonderfully light salad which makes a perfect side dish for your summer dining table. It’s very versatile and will go well with pretty much anything. I served it alongside grilled fish – Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass, and the fresh flavours made for a lovely accompaniment.

More in salads: Watermelon, Tomato and Halloumi salad | Griddled courgette, pine nut and mozzarella salad | Bulgarian Shopska Salata (Salad)

Apple, fennel and radish salad

Apple, fennel and radish salad

Serves 6 | Prepare 15 mins | Cook 5 mins
Easy | Vegan | Gluten and Dairy Free

You’ll need:

  • 50g blanched hazelnuts;
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored;
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed;
  • 100g radishes, trimmed;
  • 2 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice;
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped dill.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for 5 minutes or until golden and smelling nutty, leave to cool while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients, then roughly chop.

Finely slice the apple, fennel and radishes, the mix together in a bowl. Mix the oil and lemon juice, season and toss through the salad. Scatter with the dill and roasted nuts, and serve.

Nutritional information: 113kcals/1.6g protein/3.3g carbs/3.1g sugars/10.4g fat/1.2g saturated fat/1.6g fibre/trace salt.

Original recipe from Waitrose and Partners Magazine, issue August 2013, not available online.

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Grilled fish is without doubt the best way (ok… my favourite way) to eat fish. The fish retains it’s flavour, it’s lovely and juicy and it just tastes perfectly fresh. This dish is perfect for summer – it’s light, but filling and the fish is so tasty it needs just a simple side salad or two to complement the flavours.

For this dish, I also attempted to gut and descale the fish myself – first time for everything! I reckon the lockdown is a good time to learn more about preparing food from scratch completely… Though usually you’d ask your fishmonger to do this for you!

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine.

More with fish: Sea bass with potato and tomato bake | Swordfish tacos with mango & jalapeno salsa | Chipotle salmon with avocado salsa and chilli broccoli

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Serves 4-6 | Prep 15 mins, plus marinating | Cook 20 mins
Easy | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 2 green chillies, stalks trimmed;
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 56g fresh coriander;
  • 50g fresh mint, leaves picked;
  • 4 tsp ground ginger;
  • 5 limes, 1 cut into wedges;
  • 3 whole sea bass (about 300g each), gutted.

Put the chillies, garlic, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, the juice of 3 limes, a good pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water into a blender and whizz to make a smooth salsa. Divide the salsa into 2 portions; put 1 portion in a serving bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge to serve with the fish.

Cut 3 slashes into both sides of each fish, then rub the remaining salsa all over the outside and inside of each fish. Cover, chill and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high. Put the fish on a rack and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over the juice of 1 lime. Serve immediately with the remaining salsa alongside and the lime wedges for squeezing over.

Nutritional information per serving (4): 1268Kj/300kcals/6.1g fat/1.5g saturated fat/3.7g carbs/1.1g sugars/1.2g fibre/55g protein/0.8g salt.

Original recipe from Waitrsoe & Partners Food, issue August 2020, not available online.

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

I love recipes like this when I have people over. If you start cooking a little before your guests arrive, you can pop it in the oven and enjoy a chat and some nibbles while this dish practically takes care of itself. It is very flavoursome and fairly easy to make. You can either joint a whole chicken or use 4x thighs and 4x drumsticks here. This recipe also thought me the secret to a perfectly crispy chicken skin in a stew – a little flour. This was originally from a Waitrose magazine (Aug 2014). The original recipe reckons you can serve up to 6 people, but my hungry crowd of 5 mopped every single last bite here. I’ve made some small changes to the recipe, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

More with chicken: Simple chicken & veg soupRoast chicken with goats’ cheese and watercress stuffingMalaysian-style chicken

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

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Serves 4-5 | Prepare 30 mins | Cook 2 hrs
Easy | Dairy-free

You’ll need:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped;
  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped;
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped;
  • 1 bay leaf;
  • 100g smoked pancetta, cut into small lardons;
  • 1.5 kg whole chicken, jointed and cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks;
  • 3 tbsp plain flour;
  • 125 ml white wine;
  • 400g fresh or canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped;
  • 3 thyme sprigs;
  • 75g pitted olives, drained;
  • small handful basil leaves.

Before you start preparing your ingredients, salt the chicken liberally and let it sit at room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure it’s well seasoned from within.

Preheat the oven to 200C | 180C fan | gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large casserole, add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes to flavour the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the bay leaf and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is golden, about 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ‘saffritto’ from the oil and set aside.

Dust the chicken with flour and raise the heat under the casserole. Brown the chicken over a medium-high heat (in batches if needed, one layer at a time), turning until golden and crisp all over. Return all the chicken to the pan and add the wine. Bubble to evaporate off the alcohol, then return the saffritto to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and olives. Pour over boiling water until the chicken is just covered and season to taste.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1hr – 1hr 20 mins until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender. Before serving, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the basil and serve as suggested above.

I served this with fresh green salad (lettuce, cucumber, spring onion, black olives, sea salt, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil), mash and garlic bread (though if you want to go authentic, opt for a good quality crusty bread).

Original recipe by Waitrose Food Magazine, issue August 2014, no longer available online.

 

Watermelon, Tomato and Halloumi salad

So picnic weather might be quite hard to imagine for those of us in Scotland right now, but the sunshine is never too far away. This salad is perfect as part of a picnic or served on the side at your next BBQ. I got the recipe from Waitrose Magazine originally but have adjusted it it a bit.

More with halloumi: Lentil, squash, halloumi and bacon saladSweetcorn & Halloumi fritters with avocado salsa and poached eggsMashed avocado with grilled halloumi & poached egg on toast

Watermelon, Tomato and Halloumi Salad

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Serves 6 | Prep 20 mins | Cook 5 mins
Easy | Gluten-Free

You’ll need:

  • 15g basil, leaves only – 1/2 finely chopped and 1/2 sliced into ribbons;
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar;
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice;
  • 1/2 small watermelon, flesh cubed;
  • 500g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved;
  • 250g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices.

Make the dressing by combining the chopped basil leaves, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large bowl. combine the watermelon, cherry tomatoes and remaining basil. Add the dressing to the salad, and mix well. Transfer to a large serving platter or leave in the bowl – whatever you preference for serving the salad is!

Heat a griddle pan or a non-stick pan over high heat. Add the halloumi slices and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until deep golden. Top the salad with the halloumi slices and serve.

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Adapted from a Waitrose Magazine recipe, no longer available online.

 

Granola with roasted cherries

I started making my own granola about a year ago and ever since I’ve really enjoyed experimenting and trying different recipes in search of the “perfect” granola. I’ve posted a few recipes on the blog already and they are all nice in their unique ways. Some have used egg whites for extra crispiness (and protein), different fats, nuts, fruits, and usually honey or agave for sweetness. Basically – the world of granola is free and you can use whatever nuts you have in your pantry, or whatever flavour combinations you like.

However, this particular granola is what I would serve if I had a little cafe somewhere. It’s the kind of breakfast item you’d see as a lighter option but it is so lush and so special. The baked cherries really make this a proper treat! This recipe doesn’t make as much granola as other ones you’d find on the blog so if you want to stock up for a couple of weeks double up on the granola ingredients. The roasted cherries  I stored in a jar in the fridge and enjoyed with my granola (and porridge) throughout the week. I’d recommend eating them within the week though as they won’t keep for long.

More in Granola & Granola toppers: Tropical Fruit and Nut Granola  | Jordan Bourke’s Spelt, help seed and lemon zest granolaAnna Jones’ Easy Clementine Compote

Granola with roasted cherries

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Makes about 6 servings | Prep 10 mins + cooling | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Vegan | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 125g porridge oats;
  • 50g whole almonds, roughly chopped;
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds;
  • 2 tbsp coconut (or sunflower) oil;
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup;
  • 360g cherries, pitted and halved;
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar;
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with parchment. In a bowl mix together the oats, almonds and seeds. Heat the coconut oil, maple syrup and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Pour over the oat mixture and stir well. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until golden; set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toss the cherries, sugar and vanilla with a pinch of salt. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes, until tender and some of the inky juices have leaked out. Cool slightly before serving with the granola and Greek yogurt, if liked.

Store the granola and baked cherries in airtight containers for up to a week.

Original recipe from Waitrose Food magazine, issue July 2016, available online here.