As London is being promised a heatwave this weekend, I'm looking forward to Summer starting with the promise of longer brighter days and warmer weather.
I love Summer because I find it much easier to make healthier eating choices with delicious salads, wonderful in season fruit and vegetables on offer.
Today I'm going to share with you some of my favourite fuss-free recipes that make for wonderful tasty meals that are easy-peasy to make.
To start us off;
Tomato, Basil and Feta salad:
You will need:
325g Baby Plum Tomatoes
200g Greek Feta
3 Spring onions
15g Basil (half a pack)
110g Pitted Black olives
It serves two as a main meal, or four as a starter and takes 10 minutes to make.
1. Taking the baby plum tomatoes chop in half. You can do this either in half or length ways.
Place the tomatoes on a pretty plate or serving bowl.
2. Chop the Greek Feta into small squares and chop the spring onions into thin slices.
Add the spring onion to the tomatoes.
3. Taking the pitted black olives slice in half. Add to the salad and garnish with the basil, you can leave whole or tear if you prefer.
If you like your salad with a vinaigrette I would suggest French. This is really easy to make, take 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, five teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Shake all ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sit outside in the garden, relax and enjoy.
My next favourite salad to make is Goats'cheese mango delight.
You will need:
Half an English cucumber
330g Cherry tomatoes
1 ripe Mango
125g Goats Cheese
80g Pomegranate seeds
15g Mint Finley Diced
It serves two as a main meal, or four as a starter and takes 15 minutes to make.
1. Take the cucumber (these are different to American cukes which have a bitter taste), cut in half and thinly slice.
2. Take the cherry tomatoes and chop into small quarters.
3. Taking your ripe mango slice and cut into cubes.
My advice for making sure a mango is ripe is to touch the mango and see if the skin gives (squashes a bit) if you press it. If it doesn't, it's not ripe. Smell the mango does it have a strong perfumed smell? The riper a mango is the stronger the smell. If in any doubt opt for mangos that state they are already ripe.
Now everyone has a hint and tip on cutting mango's. Mine are use a serrated knife and place on a chopping board. To stop it rolling around cut a small piece off the pointed end, this will help it to balance as you cut it. Remember a mango has a flat stone in the middle so you need to cut either side of this.
Add the cucumber, tomatoes and mango to a bowel.
4. Taking the goats cheese rip small clumps and add to the ingredients already prepared.
5. Add the pomegranate seeds. Now you can de-seed these yourself but to save time they are easier to buy already prepared.
Taking the pomegranate jewels scatter them throughout your salad.
6. Take your mint and remove the leaves from the sprigs. Bunch together and finely chop.
Scatter the mint to garnish your wonderful colourful and tasty salad. Any guest receiving this salad will be very thankful not only is it a feast for the eyes but the taste buds too.
If you don't like any of the ingredients they can easily be substituted. I sometimes substitute the pomegranate and mango, adding fig and honey.
Do you have any favourite salads to share?
The perfect thing to accompany my salad is a wonderful BBQ.
I love to make lemon, lime and garlic chicken which can either be cooked on a BBQ or in a frying pan.
To make you will need:
Chicken breasts (one per guest)
Juice of three lemons (this will do four breasts)
Juice of one lime
2 cloves of garlic crushed
Teaspoon of olive oil
If cooking the chicken on a BBQ place all the above ingredients in a sandwich bag and add your chicken breasts. Leave to marinate for as long as possible but at least an hour so that the chicken can absorb the flavour.
If cooking in a frying pan, add the olive oil to a heated pan, add the lemon juice once the juice is heated add the chicken breasts. Turn regularly so that the chicken gets an even coating of flavour. Add the lime and garlic and continue to cook the chicken turning regularly.
If the chicken is not caramelising, the heat is not high enough. The chicken in a frying pan should take twenty to twenty five minutes. Always make sure the meat is cooked both on a BBQ and frying. The easiest way to do this is skewer the chicken and to check if the juices run clear? If they don't, the chicken needs to be cooked longer.
Serve with your salad and enjoy. I hope the weather is hot this weekend wherever you are.