One of the results of moving is that I have been reacquainted with some of my old kitchen equipment. I now have four frying pans. I also have my old griddle pan again. I’ve been dying to use it all week.
This is a lovely salad/side dish for summer days. I made it inside on the griddle pan, but it would also work on the barbecue. Don’t slice the courgette too thin, though or the slices will disintegrate.
Mint and lemon always work well with courgette, but here the walnuts add a touch of bitterness to work against the sweetness as well as the textural crunch.
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 twig of mint, chopped
1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
1 courgette, sliced lengthwise into strips
Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, mint and walnuts in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Brush the courgette slices with oil and place on a hot griddle pan.
After a minute, turn them over and cook for another minute.
Repeat until all the courgette slices are cooked.
Arrange the courgette slices on a plate and drizzle the dressing over them.
Serves 2 as a side salad
This has to be one of the weirdest combinations my food-obsessed brain has come up with, but it works. The earthy sweetness of the beetroot is complemented by the dryness of the walnuts, the saltiness of the olives and then highlighted by the fragrant dill.
It is also pink.
If anyone decides to use this as a dinner-party item, please put Barbie Pasta on the menu.
2 pre-cooked beetroots
1 clove garlic
6 black olives
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp dill, chopped
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water.
Put all the ingredients except the dill into a food processor and whizz until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then return to the warm pan.
Stir in the sauce until all the pasta is coated.
Serve with the dill sprinkled over the top.
It’s early spring now, I think. The days are lengthening, the sun is warmer, the birds are singing and the purple sprouting broccoli is in the shops. It’s a pretty thing raw, all long stems, green leaves and florets tinged with purple. But for all it’s delicate appearance it packs the strongest flavour of all the broccolis. That makes it great to match with other punchy flavours.
Here I’ve teamed it with garlic, chilli and the dry crunch of walnuts. Served with crusty bread as a starter, it will certainly issue a wake-up call to the palate!
150g purple sprouting broccoli, larger lower leaves removed
For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
10g walnuts, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
Steam the broccoli for between 5 and 10 minutes. It’s ready when the thickest part of the stem can be easily pierced with the point of a knife.
In a small pan, warm the olive oil, garlic, chilli and walnuts. You’re not frying the ingredients, just heating them so their flavours come out. A bit of sizzle is OK, but don’t let anything brown.
When the broccoli is cooked, remove from the steamer and put on warmed plates.
Season the dressing with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice.
Spoon the dressing over the broccoli and serve.
Serves 2 as a starter
Mr Hamilton: Could you make me a Waldorf salad.
Basil Fawlty: Oh… a… Wa…?
Mr Hamilton: Waldorf salad.
Basil Fawlty: I think we’re just out of Waldorfs.
You might think that a salad invented at the great Waldorf Hotel in New York would be complicated, but it isn’t. Its classic recipe has only four ingredients – celery, apple, walnuts and mayonnaise. I’ve messed about with is slightly, but only by adding a touch of flavour to the mayo. And while we’re on the subject, please don’t put too much mayonnaise in this. I hate it when you have to spade your way through the dressing to find the salad ingredients. A light coating is all that’s needed.
This is a lovely, refreshing starter that’s simple and quick to make.
1tsp fresh dill, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
25g walnuts, roughly chopped
lettuce leaves, for serving
Add the mayonnaise to a largish bowl, stir in the mustard and dill.
If you have enough time, let them stand for about 10 minutes to let the dill flavour develop.
Just before serving chop the celery, apple and walnuts and stir into the mayonnaise.
Serve on lettuce leaves.
Serves 2 as a starter