Moroccan-spiced cous cous and apricot salad

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This is a really tasty side-dish, which goes really well with either a Moroccan tagine or as part of a BBQ or picnic.  It keeps well in the fridge too so can be made in advance.

(Serves 4)

  • Large mug of cous cous
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of cumin
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoonful of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Toasted almond flakes
  • Fresh mint (chopped)
  • Handful of dried apricots, chopped
  • Small cupful of orange juice
  1. Pop the chopped apricots in a cup with the orange juice to soak
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the spices, until they’re dissolved
  3. Add the red onion to the pan with the oil and spices and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add the apricots and orange juice to the pan and simmer
  5. Place the cous cous in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to stand for a few minutes
  6. Separate the cous cous with a fork and then add the contents of the pan
  7. Add the fresh mint, pine nuts and almond flakes and combine all the ingredients before serving

Avocado, vine tomato and pine nut salad

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This is a really tasty salad that can be eaten on its own or shared as a side-dish.  Perfect BBQ  and picnic food although if taking for a picnic I would take the avocado oil separately to avoid soggy salad leaves!

(Serves 1-2 as a main or 4 as a side-dish)

  • Bag of mixed leaf salad (organic)
  • Punnet of on-the-vine cherry tomatoes (organic) – Halved
  • 1 large ripe avocado – skin and stone removed and sliced
  • Toasted pine nuts (you can toast them for a few moments in a dry, non-stick pan)
  • Avocado oil

Simply combine all the ingredients and drizzle with the avocado oil.

Warm new potato salad with mint and olive oil

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I absolutely love the taste of new potatoes.  The fresher and more locally grown, the better.  This makes a great side-dish for a BBQ or picnic (it’s delicious eaten cold too) and is really quick and simple to make and much lighter than the more traditional creamy potato salads.

(Serves 4)

  • Bag of new potatoes (organic)
  • Large handful of fresh mint
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  1. Boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes, until cooked
  2. Cool them under the cold water tap for a few moments (I tend to serve this dish warm, not hot to ensure that the mint stays crisp and doesn’t wilt)
  3. Serve with the olive oil, mint and salt and pepper
  • Sea salt and pepper to season

Samphire salad with lemon and olive oil

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Samphire grows wild along the marshy coastlines and estuaries of Northern and Western Europe and has a distinctive fresh and salty taste.  Not only is it delicious but it’s also really good for us  – it’s high in vitamins A, C and B and is a great source of folic acid.  I’ve even heard it recently described as the “next big superfood”.

Samphire season in the UK is fairly short (July to August) so do make the most of it whilst you can.   I’ve often had it either deep-fried or lightly boiled in restaurants but I bought some today and it was so fresh that I just served it raw with lemon juice (to balance out the saltiness) and a drizzle of olive oil.

This makes a great side-dish.

  • Generous handful of samphire, washed, roughly chopped with stalks removed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients and serve

Minted pea purée

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I love the combo of peas and mint and this makes a great side-dish.  Think of it as posh mushy peas!

(Serves 2)

  • Cup of organic frozen peas
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Boil the peas for a couple of minutes then drain and add to a bowl with the mint, olive oil and salt.  Blend (I use a hand-held blender for this) and serve.

I served the pea purée with Vbites Fish Style Steaks (available from Health food stores in UK and Ocado).

Tempura vegetables

 

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OK, so this may not be the healthiest way to consume your veggies but as a one-off it’s REALLY tasty!  When I first made these I did so as a starter, which in hindsight was a bit of a mistake as everyone was too full to eat the rest of the dinner!  Now I like to cook up a big batch, serve with a couple of dipping sauces and a great movie!

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

  • Big pile of chopped up veggies – I used carrots, broccoli, peppers, baby sweetcorn and onion but you can pretty much use whatever you have in the kitchen
  • Pan with enough vegetable oil to cover the veggies (I cook mine in batches so as not to use too much oil but if you have a deep-fat fryer then you can do them all at once)

For the batter:

  • Cup of plain flour
  • Teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
  • Sparkling water – add to create the constancy you need (see below)
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Mix the batter mix in a big bowl – the consistency should be liquid but thick enough to stick to the veggies.
  2. Heat the oil up in the pan – it needs to be pretty hot so the veggies don’t absorb too much oil and go soggy but not so hot that it’s smoking
  3. Add the batter mixture-covered veggies a few at a time and fry until the batter is a pale golden colour
  4. Place the cooked tempura on a few sheets of kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil
  5. Serve with dipping sauces and enjoy!

Note: If I’m feeling lazy then I’ll just serve the tempura with ready-made sweet chilli or hoisin sauce for dipping but often I’ll make up my own, which is super-quick and easy:

  • Approx 3/4 soy sauce to 1/4 Chinese cooking wine
  • Chopped fresh garlic
  • Chopped fresh ginger
  • Chopped red chilli (with or without the seeds depending on how hot you like it)
  • Small squeeze of agave syrup for a hint of sweetness

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