Mediterranean potato, tomato and pepper salad

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week and the May Bank Holiday in the UK, impress your friends and family by having a go at making this wonderfully flavoursome Mediterranean potato, tomato and pepper salad.

It’s really easy and cheap to make, looks exotic and appetising, and it’s low in fat!

As the weather slow starts to warm up (if we can brush off this pesky rain), and you’re thinking of organising a barbecue, serve this salad as a summery side dish, or as an alternative addition to a veggie Sunday lunch.

It can easily be doubled, tripled or multiplied further if you’re feeding the masses.

Mediterranean potato salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8-10 Charlotte or new potatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 green olives
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 2

Method

1. Half-fill a medium to large saucepan with cold water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil.
2. Pour the olive oil into a decent sized frying pan and put on a medium heat. Add the onion slices and fry for 5-7 minutes, until they begin to soften.
3. Meanwhile, when the water has boiled, add the potatoes and cook them following the pack instructions – which is usually around 15-20 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and oregano to the frying pan and and cook for a minute or so, stirring frequently.
5. Tip in the sliced pepper and fry for a further 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
6. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and season well at this point. Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Prod one of the potatoes with a knife and if it’s quite soft, they’re ready. Drain them over the sink using a colander.
8. Mix the potatoes and olives in with the tomato mixture and heat through for a few minutes. Give the sauce a taste and see if it needs more seasoning.
9. Serve the mixture in a large bowl. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and scatter over the mixture.

If you make this dish, I’d love to hear how you get on with it. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

This recipe is based on BBC Good Food’s Mediterranean potato salad.

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Aubergine and asparagus curry

This delicious vegan curry of juicy pan-fried aubergine and crisp and crunchy asparagus is bursting with fantastic flavours from India and Southeast Asia.

At the base of the sauce is a fiery homemade curry paste packed with a wealth of spices, and strong hints of garlic and chilli, which is offset by the sweet and creamy taste of coconut milk and thickening chopped tomatoes.

Aubergine and asparagus curry

The fusion of traditional Indian spices like turmeric and cumin and Southeast Asian ingredients like coconut milk and ginger, as well as seasonal asparagus make this dish really interesting and unlike anything I’ve tasted before.

Serve it with poppadoms to start and sides of brown rice and chapattis and you’ve got the perfect filling feast.

It’s sweet, spicy and scrumptious – give it a go and let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 small to medium aubergines
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • 165ml can of coconut milk (or use just less than half of a regular 400g can)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the paste

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed chillies
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

Optional sides

  • 1 mug of brown rice
  • 2 chapattis
  • 4-6 poppadoms
  • Mango chutney

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

Method

1. Tip all of the curry paste ingredients into a measuring jug and use a hand blender to whiz them together until they form a thick paste.
2. Take one of your aubergines and slice it lengthways, then cut each half in half again. Then slice each quarter into three. You should have 12 pieces altogether. Repeat this process for the second aubergine.
3. If you’re planning on serving your curry with brown rice, then put the water on to boil for your rice at this point. If you’re not, ignore this point and move on to number 4! Brown rice takes about 25 minutes to cook, twice the amount of time it takes white rice. I use half a mug’s worth of rice per person, with double the amount of water (my mum’s failsafe instructions).
4. Pour one tablespoon of sunflower oil into a large, non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat. When the oil’s hot, lift the pan up and tilt round so the oil is evenly dispersed around the pan. Add half of the aubergine slices and fry for 5-7 minutes, until they start to soften and brown up. When the first batch is done, lay the slices on some kitchen roll on a plate or chopping board. Pour in the second tablespoon of oil and repeat the process for the second batch.
5. Put a wok or a large saucepan on a medium heat and add in a tablespoon of oil. Pour in the curry paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring often. Add the aubergines and mix in with the paste for a couple of minutes, until they’re well coated.
6. Pour in the coconut milk and chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Chop the woody ends off the asparagus. Add them to the pan and mix them in, then cook for a further five minutes.
8. While the curry is finishing cooking, heat the chapattis in the oven as per the pack instructions.
9. Season the curry well and serve on a large plate with the brown rice along with the chapattis, poppadoms and chutney.

Aubergine and asparagus curry

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s aubergine and green bean curry in his book River Cottage Veg.

Grilled salmon salad with a warm almond and ginger dressing

This simple salad topped with succulent salmon and an aromatic, nutty dressing makes a deliciously healthy Bank Holiday lunch. And you can have it on the table within 15 minutes.

Grilled salmon salad with an almond and ginger dressing

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of salmon. It’s so versatile; you can use it in a range of dishes and it’s used widely across different cuisines, it’s not too pricey to buy, easy to cook, good for you and really tasty.

The base of this salad is a simple mix of my favourite salad leaves: spinach, rocket and watercress. The spinach and watercress ground the dish with subtle, earthy flavours and the rocket adds a peppery taste and jagged texture.

The dressing is based on a satay sauce I use for pad thai, but using almonds instead of peanuts. The almondy taste is a bit sweeter than peanut and more subtle. Combined with Asian flavours of soy sauce, ginger, chilli and honey, it adds a spicy kick to the salad and brings it to life.

Ingredients

  • Low fat cooking spray
  • One salmon fillet, chilled
  • 60g mixed salad leaves
  • ΒΌ slice of lemon

For the dressing

  • 1Β½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • Β½ tbsp rice wine
  • A small handful of almonds (roughly six or seven)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Β½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ginger (I used Sainsbury’s frozen chopped ginger)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12-14 minutes
Serves one

Method

1. Put the grill on to a medium to high heat. Place the salmon fillet on a rectangle of foil and fold up the edges. Spray a few squirts of cooking spray on the fillet and pop it under the grill for 12-14 minutes, checking it half way through cooking.
2. Meanwhile, put all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl with high edges. Use a hand blender to crunch up the almonds and mix the ingredients together. If you have a food processor, you may wish to opt to use that instead as the almonds can be a little tough to crush, but if like me, you’ve only got a hand blender, then persevere with it and you’ll get there with them! When the almonds are crushed, mix them in with the other dressing ingredients with a metal spoon.
3. Put a small saucepan on a low to medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and add the dressing to it. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Rinse the salad leaves and scatter them across a large pasta bowl or a plate.
5. When the salmon is ready, lay it on top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over the fish and the salad leaves. Cut the lemon quarter in half and pop that on the side as a garnish.