Hi there,

Friday was my first day back at work in a while and this is what I brought. I’d been eating it all week and can confirm I’m officially addicted.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber and peanut salad with lime and ginger dressing topped with crispy  scallion tempura

You’ll need:

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 large cucumber diced

2 large handfuls peanuts roughly chopped

1 large bunch coriander roughly chopped

1 bunch scallions

A very small amount (about 2 cm long) of fresh red chilli finely chopped

Self-raising  flour

Vegetable oil

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons rice mirin

The juice of one lime

2 teaspoons finely grated ginger

2 tablespoons runny honey

Cucumber Salad ingredients

I generally make the rice ahead of time and have it ready to go before I start. Soak it first (1 cup will be enough)  as this cuts down on cooking time and also make it (and all grains incidentally) easier to digest. When it’s cooked, let it cool before you start preparing the rest of the ingredients.

When you’re ready to start, begin with the dressing – combine all the dressing ingredients, mix well then set aside.

I like the cucumber diced so it’s nice and small but it’s up to you.

Diced Cucumber

Take about half scallions and slice them finely. The peanuts and coriander can be roughly chopped. The only thing that you need to chop really finely is the chilli as this can be fiery. I tend to serve kids first before adding this as we like things too fiery for them . Auggie has been known to yell “too spicey!!!!!!!” before he’s even tasted dinner if he’s not in the mood to eat but as an excuse he reckons it’s always worth a shot) When you have all the veg ready, mix it up with the rice. Add the dressing and most of the peanuts keeping some back for decoration.

To prepare the crispy scallions, slice them into pieces about 2-3 cm long. Mix a heaped tablespoon of flour with enough water to make a paste the consistency of runny honey. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan. When it’s nice and hot dip the scallions in the batter then drop into the oil and fry until golden.

To serve top each portion of salad with some crispy scallions and a scattering of chopped chilli.

This makes a great lunch but if you’re bringing it to work I’d probably skip the crispy scallions and really, the dish works just fine without them. If it’s dinner you’re after, serve this alongside some pan-fried tofu or a piece of fish and you’re set.

Have a great week,

Sarah

PS:  Next week is National Organic Week and we’ll have lots of special offers. Claire will keep you posted so watch out for an email.

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Haloumi salad

For at least a portion of the day you don’t need a jacket. It’s summer. Officially!! This week’s cucumber seems perfect. I used it as part of a salad to go with some panfried  haloumi. Haloumi, if you’re not familiar with it, is a Cypriot cheese you cook. It can be grilled but I find a light dusting of seasoned flour then a minute or two on a lightly oiled pan til golden is the best way forward. It’s extremely delish but there’s a catch – you have to eat it pretty much straight away (one of the reasons you won’t find it on restaurant menus). It goes tough otherwise. It also squeaks in your mouth which is a big selling point in our house. The salad you eat with it is a moveable feast. Simple and green works well especially as we have such lovely baby leaves from the Healys. I made one with fennel, grated carrot, cucumber very salty greek olives. Very tasty but don’t hang about, it’s best straight off the pan.

A summer salad with pan-fried haloumi

You’ll need:

1 block of haloumi cheese sut into about 7 or 8 slices

1 heaped tablespoon flour generously seasoned with salt and pepper

1 bulb fennel (roughly 300gr) trimmed and finely chopped

1 large carrot grated

Half cucumber cut into chunks

1/2 bunch scallions washed, trimmed and chopped

1 good handful of black olives torn

2 large handfuls salad leaves – whatever you fancy

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

A scant teaspoon honey

First of all prepare the veg then toss everything together in a bowl and set aside. Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar and honey together with a pinch of salt. Taste and add a little more vinegar if you think it needs. You want a bit of sharpness to cut through the cheese. When you’re ready to eat, dress the salad then heat a little oil in a pan. Dip the haloumi into the flour, shake off any excess then pan fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden. Serve the cheese on top of or beside the salad and (hopefully!!) eat in the sunshine.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah