Super Green Salad with Thai Dressing

I had never heard of fresh Edemame until last week, when I saw them mentioned on Riverford’s Website. I had only ever had the frozen variety, which I love, so I was keen to give them a go and I am pleased to say that they are great. It is so nice to be using fresh, seasonal veg, rather than something from the freezer. I decided to make up a salad in honour of them.

I came up with a Super Green Salad. You are free to play around with the ingredients, as long as they are green. I think asparagus or peas would be a nice addition, when in season, but you could even try adding green apple. I wanted a really zingy, fresh dressing so I turned to Thai flavours for inspiration, with not only fresh lime, but fresh lime leaves as well, to really add zest.

It makes a fabulous lunch on its own, or since my theme this week, is making a little good meat go further, you could add a couple of slices of rare, thinly sliced steak and make it into a Thai Steak Salad. Either way, with all its super healthy ingredients, I think it will leave you feeling good about yourself.

super-green-salad-with-thai-dressing

Super Green Salad with Thai Dressing

Add the ingredients in the quantities the at you like.

A mixture of cooked Wild and Brown Rice  – you can buy this ready cooked if you are in a hurry like me

Cucumber, finely diced

Cooked edamame (the frozen ones are cooked already and only have to be defrosted)

Ripe avocado, finely diced

Spring onion, finely chopped

Pumpkin seeds

Pistachio nuts

Freshly chopped mint

Freshly chopped coriander

Fresh lime leaves, very finely chopped  (large Salisbury’s or Thai Supermarket)

Thai Dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Small piece fresh ginger, finely grated

Add all your salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix up the dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl, stirring well to ensure that the sugar is dissolved. Dress the salad. Check seasoning. You may need a little salt or more dressing. Serve immediately.

super-green-salad-with-thai-dressing-1

Chilled Avocado Soup with Chilli, Coriander and Lime

The first restaurant I ever worked in was called the Brackenbury in Shepherd’s Bush and it was very good, incredibly cheap and packed day and night, mainly with people from the nearby BBC. Because of the amazingly cheap menu – a starter was on average £4 and a main course about £10 and I am talking proper, high quality modern British cooking, most ingredients where as cheap as possible. When handling an expensive ingredient such as the truffle oil or the porcini mushrooms, you could see the head chef and owner Adam literally flinching with stress as he worried frantically about his profit margins – the make or break of many a restaurant. This recipe for Avocado Soup was often on the menu on hot summer days. A whole box of avocados was an expensive commodity and I only worked out years later, that it was considered cost effective, simply because being so easy to make, it counteracted its cost by saving money in wages. Anyway, I can’t tell you how delicious this is on a really hot summers day!

Chilled Avocado Soup with Chilli, Coriander and Lime

Chilled Avocado Soup with Chilli, Coriander and Lime

Adjust ingredients according to taste. I do not like a lot of raw onion, but love coriander. It is up to you to get the balance that you like.

Serves 4

2 large ripe avocados

2 spring onions

A medium bunch of coriander

1 fresh red chilli

2 limes

400ml organic chicken or vegetable stock (you can use good quality stock cubes), chilled

Peel, destone and chop the avocados. Squeeze over the lime juice straight away to stop them discolouring. Roughly chop the spring onions and roughly chop the coriander leaves. De-seed the chilli. Blitz in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth. Season with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then add the stock and puree again. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste. Put in the fridge to chill.

Avocados

Tacos with Re-fried Black Beans, Roast Butternut Squash and Feta

I seem to be writing a “100 easy recipes with butternut squash” blog at the moment.

I also seem to be finding it increasingly difficult to come up with ideas for family meals. My children are finally of the age when we can have a family supper all together in the evening, after years of cooking separate meals for us and the kids. This does however limit what we can eat, as pleasing everyone seems almost unachievable. I am always trying to think up new and enticing ways of presenting vegetables to persuade the kids to eat them. This week I bought some Tacos which always go down well. I offered a little shredded, left over chicken for my daughter, who does not do “spicy” and knocked up some guacamole for my son, who doesn’t like meat. If you offer a selection of different filling, it is almost possible to keep the whole family happy, as least for a while.

Tacos with Re-fried Black Beans, Roast Butternut Squash and Feta

Tacos with Re-fried Black Beans, Roast Butternut Squash and Feta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, very finely grated

Large knob of ginger, very finely grated

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 Chipotle chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried marjoram or handful of fresh oregano

1 tablespoon tomato puree

2 tins black beans

1 packet corn tacos

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced

Small bunch of coriander, leaves picked

Shredded lettuce

A little feta, crumbled

Guacamole (see link)

Whatever else you might like to add – sour cream, tomato salsa, grated cheese,  shredded cooked chicken or sweetcorn

Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook about 1 minute more. Add chilli, the salt, the herbs, spices and tomato puree. Stir and cook 1 minute more. Stir in beans with a little of their juice and cook for 5 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile roast your butternut squash. Cut into quite small dice, toss with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a baking tray in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelise.

Make up your tacos as you like, but I like to  first add some re-fried beans, tops with some shredded lettuce and coriander leaves, scatter on some butternut squash, add a big dollop of guacamole and finish with a little crumbled feta.

Roast Butternut Squash 1

Spicy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers with Avocado

When I was an art student I was. quite predictably some may say, a vegetarian for a few years. I loved cooking at home huge stir-fries and lentil dishes which were cheap and filling. We had a couple of the first vegetarian cafes in Brighton as well but I have to admit, my favourite treat was a Spicy Bean Burger from Wimpy. In those days we even had an old fashioned eat-in Wimpy restaurant in Brighton, with waitress service, so you could make quite an outing of it.

I wanted to recreate my own, but I still have a glut of sweet potato so I decided to add them too. I used my adobo sauce from my Spicy Chipotle Maple Roast Sweet Potato and Brussel Sprout Grain Bowls in the mix and also made a Chipotle mayonnaise to go in my burger, balanced out with some cool, refreshing avocado and I dare say, it was probably a damn sight better than the Wimpy one I so fondly remember.

Spicy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers 2

Spicy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers with Avocado
Makes 4
500g / 2 sweet potatoes
350g drained black beans
1 red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp homemade Adobo sauce
1 small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
High quality vegetable oil or coconut oil
4 hamburger buns (optional)
2 avocados
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tsp homemade Adobo sauce
Polenta flour
Optional other fillings – lettuce, tomato etc

Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the sweet potatoes down the centre lengthwise. Place the sweet potatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until they yield to a gentle squeeze, 30 to 40 minutes or longer. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skin (it should pull off easily).

Meanwhile fry the onion in a little oil until translucent. Add a big tablespoon of Adobo sauce and fry for a minute more. Add the black beans and salt to taste, and mash with a potato masher. Add the sweet potato and mix well.  Add the chopped coriander and check seasoning. You can now chill the mix or carry straight on, it is up to you. Shape the mix into 4 patties. You can use polenta flour to help if you like.

Pan fry the burgers: (If you chilled the mix, turn on your oven to 180C) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over medium heat. When it’s hot, place the burgers in the pan, leaving enough room to flip them. Cook for 4-5 minutes until browned on the bottom and flip. If your mix is cold, put the frying pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or so until hot all the way through. I you did not chill the mix, then just turn the hob heat right down and cook gently for 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile stir the mayonnaise in with the Adobo sauce and serve a big dollop on each burger.

(Toast the buns (optional): Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and bake until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes)

Serve with your favourite fillings – avocado, lettuce, tomato etc

Roast Sweet Potatoes

Roast Blood Orange, Avocado and Toasted Almond Salad

Along with plenty of vegetables, it is good to get some fruit in our diets as well. With this in mind I ordered a small fruit and veg box. I was most excited about the blood oranges, as I love them. They are such a beautiful colour and less acidic than their more common cousins. They are particularly high in antioxidants and of course vitamin C too, which is always important in the winter. In my box I also had red onions and avocados and I set about inventing a salad which could combine the three. Avocados are delicious on their own but a little acidity really make them sing. Usually we opt for tomatoes but I thought blood oranges would make a seasonal change. The onion marinated in the orange juice adds a hint of sweet and sour and the almonds add texture and fragrance.  All in all, I was pretty pleased with my winter salad.

Roast Blood Orange, Avocado and Toasted Almond Salad 3

Roast Blood Orange, Avocado and Toasted Almond Salad
Baking citrus at a high heat caramelizes the sugars and adds depth and interest.
Serves 2
1 blood or Valencia orange, sliced as thin as you can, leaving an inch at each end, seeds removed
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Salad leaves mixed with watercress and rocket
A few leaves of fresh herbs – mint, coriander or basil
1 avocado, cut into slices
A handful of un-blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss the orange slices with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and lay out the orange slices. Roast in the oven until just starting to caramelize, 10–15 minutes. Keep an eye on them as the sugar content means they can easily burn. Toss the almonds with a little oil and roast them in the oven as well for about 8 minutes until light brown and beginning to make a popping noise. Remove and toss with a little salt. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the two ends of the orange and combine with the onion in a bowl; season with salt and pepper and let sit 5 minutes (onion will soften a bit and get slightly sweeter and less harsh). Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste.
Add the blood orange slices to the bowl with the onion along with the salad leaves and herbs. Arrange on plates and top with avocado slices and toasted almonds.

Roast Blood Orange, Avocado and Toasted Almond Salad

Grilled Chicken with Almond Dressing, Avocado and Vegetable Salad

It is not only Omega 3 which provides good fats. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are also good. A moderation of saturated fats is also acceptable from whole milk, coconut oil and grass-fed meat but tran-fats should be avoided at all costs in commercially baked goods, packaged snack foods, margarine and commercially prepared fried foods.
To make sure you are getting enough good fats (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated) stock up on avocados, olives, nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews and walnuts), seeds (sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds), flaxseed and fatty fish.
Luckily I had a couple of Avocados in my box this week so I set about making up a new salad. I am particularly pleased with the salad dressing which turned out really creamy and fresh, I just used tarragon, which always goes well with chicken and some basil for added zing. I also like chicken cooked in this butterflied method as it cooks in minutes as it is so thin, and stays really juicy and tender. Finally, of course you can add any other vegetables you have to hand and your salad leaves are up to you too. I used a mixture of rocket, watercress and a few sprigs of mint mixed through the green Batavia lettuce in my box this week.

Chicken Salad with Almond Dressing 2

Grilled Chicken with Almond Dressing, Avocado and Vegetable Salad
Dressing
50g almonds, soaked
A few sprigs of what herbs you fancy – coriander, basil, parsley or tarragon, leaves picked
100ml extra virgin olive oil

2 x 150g chicken breasts
Zest of a lemon
Dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
Mixed salad leaves and maybe a few sprigs of herbs
1 bulb fennel
1 carrot
1 small courgette
1 ripe avocado
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

For the dressing drain the almonds, add the olive oil, the herbs, a good pinch of salt and pepper and some water and puree with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Add more water to get a good consistency and check for seasoning.

Take each chicken breast and cut it through the from one side to the other, stopping just short of the edge. This is difficult to explain so please follow link. Unfold the chicken breast and lay flat. Season with salt and pepper, dried oregano and lemon zest on both sides. Drizzle with olive oil.
Shave the fennel, courgette and carrot with a mandolin. Peel and thinly slice the avocado. Dress the salad and shaved vegetables with a little olive oil and a small pinch of salt. Arrange on plates. Heat a griddle pan of just a large frying pan. Arrange the avocado on the plates with the salad. Grill the chicken on both sides until just cooked. Place on top of the salad. Drizzle with almond dressing and serve with a wedge of lemon.

Chicken Salad with Almond Dressing

Bacon, Tomato, Avocado and Mayo Sourdough Sandwich

Finally for this week, I tackled Avocados yet again. No one can ever get bored of avocados. They are just such a delicious, perfect thing. But being so perfect, it is quite difficult to find recipes for them, when they are quite happy just being left alone.

So I thought long and hard about what my real favourite way to eat avocado was. And what came in top, higher even than that fabulous 70’s diner party classic of Avocado Stuffed with Prawns and Marie Rose Sauce, came my all time, absolute favourite of Bacon, Tomato and Avocado Sandwich with Mayo. Super simple, super good. Few top tips. Use good bread. I used Gail’s Sourdough, lightly toasted. Use good bacon. I like smoked streaky. The hint of smoke adds flavour and I like my bacon super crisp and only streaky can crisp up to perfection. Start on a lower heat with a little oil and render down the fat in the bacon, before turning up the heat and crisping it up to perfection. Some people like to dip the toast in the rendered bacon fat. I am quite the opposite, I dry my bacon on kitchen paper, but however you like it, I don’t think I really have to say anymore. The photos say it all.

Avocado and Bacon Sandwich 2

Bacon, Tomato, Avocado and Mayo Sourdough Sandwich
Serves 1
2 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
½ a perfectly ripe avocado
½ a perfectly ripe large tomato
1 tbsp. Mayonnaise
5 rashers good quality smoked streaky bacon

Heat a frying pan with a little sunflower oil. Lay out your bacon rashes and cook gently to render the fat. Then turn up the heat and crisp up completely on both sides. Drain on kitchen towel. Meanwhile spread mayonnaise on one piece of toast. Top with bacon, then tomato slices. Season with a pinch of salt, top with avocado and finally the top piece of toast. Eat immediately.

Avocado

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

This week I started with a medium veg box (less roots) and once again, Mexico was my first thought. Sweetcorn, sweet potatoes peppers and coriander and, I hate to say it but it might have been the hint of Autumn in the air,  which made me think of this “Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli”.

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chilli

I have made it many time before and I love it because it is so versatile. You can have it on its own,  with rice, in a jacket potato, add a tortilla wrap and you have a burrito or serve it up in Taco shells. You can even liquidise it and have it as soup. Or how about in an enchiladas or quesadilla. Add what you like – charred sweetcorn, tomato salsa, guacamole, sour cream or cheese. The possibilities are endless.

Taco Shells

Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
4 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed Chipotle Chillis
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried marjoram or handful of fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and celery. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until tender. Add bell peppers and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes or so. Stir often to avoid burning. Stir in garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Add chilli, the salt, the herbs and spices. Stir and cook 1 minute. Next add the sweet potato. Give everything a good mix and add tomatoes and enough water to cover the sweet potato. Simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked. Stir in beans, and continue to cook 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and stir in lime juice. Finally add the coriander and adjust the seasoning to taste.

guacomole

Guacamole

Guacomole can be used to heat up a dish or cool it down so bare this in mind when adding the chilli. The most important factor to perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe. If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be past ripe and not good.

2 ripe avocados
2 spring onions (finely sliced)
1 fresh red or green Serrano chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
½ bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lime
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly grated black pepper
Drizzle of Olive Oil

Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out and put in a mixing bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, coriander, lime, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chilli peppers vary individually in their hotness. Start with a little, add more to taste. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it. Refrigerate until ready.

Sweet Potato Chilli

 

Mexican Tostadas

Finally this week, I have been focused on Mexico. I think it just must just be the sort of vegetables that are in season right now – cherry tomatoes, chillies. sweetcorn, avocadoes and chard all lend themselves handsomely to Mexican flavours and as sweet potatoes appear back in the boxes, I am sure I will be making a whole lot more. Mexican food may at first seem complicated but the essence of it is a selection of fillings which pretty much always comprise of a few staple ingredients – meat or vegetables with chilli (a huge assortment), black beans, re-fried beans, avocados, lime, sweetcorn, cheese, sour cream, queso fresco, salsa of some sort and coriander. These can be put together in any combination of your choice. Then there is the choice of vessel.
I decided to make Tostadas which are little, fried corn tortillas. You can do this quite simply yourself by buying ready made all corn tortillas but if you wished you can make your own. There is a recipe in Thomasina Mier’s book Mexican Food At Home but beware – it does require the purchase of Masa Harina flour, unless you already have some in the store cupboard.
If you didn’t fancy Tosdadas, which just happen to be my particular favourite when we occasionally visit to Wahaca, the following recipes would make equally tasty fillings for a Burrito, Taco or a Quesadilla, maybe with a little extra cheese.

 
To make the Tostasas
All corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
Lay the corn tortillas flat stacking them neatly on top of each other and using a pastry cutter, about 8 cms, cut three stacks of rounds. If you trim up what you are left with, you should have perfect shape for Tortilla chips. Heat about 200ml of oil in a shallow frying pan until it is sizzling hot (you can test it with a piece of off-cut tortilla – the oil should really sizzle when it goes in) and fry them in the hot oil until crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. Fry the Tortilla chips the same way and serve with the salsa or avocado dip.

Chard and sweetcorn

Swiss Chard and Smoky Pan-Toasted Sweetcorn
Kernels from 2 ears sweet corn
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of smoked chipotle chilli
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 handful red, yellow or green chard
Pinch of smoked chipotle chilli
Sea salt
Cut the sweetcorn from the cobs. Do this by first removing the husks and then top and tail each cob to give it a secure base and cut each one in half. (As in photo)

Removing corn kernals

Stand each piece upright and using a sharp knife cut downwards releasing the individual kernals. Heat a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add a little oil and the corn kernels and cook, shaking the pan and stirring, until the kernels brown, about 5 minutes. Be careful because the corn can pop. Season with salt and add the chilli and smoked paprika. Shake well and remove corn from the heat.

Steamed Chard

If the chard has a large stalks (this is not usually the case early in the season) separate the chard stalks from the leaves and chop both leaves and stalks roughly, keeping them separate. Add the stalks to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes and then add the leaves as well and blanch briefly. Remove and spread out on a dry tea towel to cool. When cool use the tea towel to squeeze out as much water as possible. Cut the garlic into very thin slithers. Heat a little more olive oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic until just turning light golden brown. Add the Chard and season with salt and mix well. Fry briefly and remove from the heat. Add the corn and stir through and check the seasoning. I like these topped with sour cream.

Cherry Tomato and Black Beans Salsa

Cherry Tomato, Black Bean and Coriander Salsa
8 ripe cherry tomatoes
½ tin of black beans (drained)
2 spring onions
1 lime
Small bunch of coriander
1 – 2 small fresh red chilli
Sea salt
A glug of extra virgin olive oil

Cut your tomatoes into quarters and chuck them in a bowl. Finely shred the spring onions and add them. Squeeze the juice from the lime and add ½ to the tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and a glug of olive oil. Roughly chop the coriander and add that two. Remove the seeds from the chilli and finely chop. Add ½ to begin with. Stir in the beans well and check seasoning. It should have a good kick, so if it is too mild add more chilli. Add move lime or olive oil to taste. Top with creamed avocado.

Creamed Avocado
This is simply Guacamole without all the ingredients. Since the same ingredients are in the salsa, there is no need to add them twice. I especially omit the chilli as the salsa should have more than enough. The avocado topping is there to cool your mouth down.

1 avocado (perfectly ripe)
Juice of ½ a lime
Tbsp. of sour cream
Handful of coriander, washed, drained and finely chopped
Sea salt.

Mash up the avocado until completely smooth. Add the lime, sour cream and finely chopped coriander. Add salt to taste.

Beetroot Tostadas

Beetroot, Cumin Seed, Sour Cream and Coriander with Feta
This one is not strictly Mexican. In fact I have no idea if they have beetroot in Mexico. However I just felt that these Mexican flavours go so well with beetroot, I had to try it and I was really pleased with the results.
Most Mexican recipes call for queso fresco, which literally means fresh cheese. It is hard to find in England unless you make your own but feta cheese is a good substitute.

1 large beetroot
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tbsp sour cream
Large handful of coriander, washed, drained and finely chopped (save a few extra leaves for decorating.)
100g feta

Pre-heat oven to 180⁰C. Wash the beetroot and trim of the tops and tail. Wrap it well in tin foil and put in the oven. Cook for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. A skewer or knife should insert and pull out again without any effort. Allow to cool until you can handle. Slip off the skins with your hands. (You can wear disposable gloves if you have any.) Finely dice the beetroot and put in a bowl with the cumin seeds, sour cream and coriander. Season well with salt and taste. Serve with crumbled feta and a few extra coriander leaves.

Washed Chard

Charred Corn, Scrunched Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Judging by how quiet the roads still are, I am assuming that most people are still away. And with the rather disappointing weather of late, who would blame them. But I am back from my holidays in the South of France so it is time to get blogging again and I will be concentrating on healthy eating. As always the markets in France were piled high with fantastic vegetables. They really put the English to shame in their conviction of taste over appearance on the veg front. No perfectly uniform, identical greenhouse grown Dutch vegetables here. All sorts of knobbly and imperfect specimens make it to the market stalls which are inspected and chosen with much consideration, conversation and examination.

Market France

But as fantastic as the vegetables were, it appears to have been the Croissant and cheese that made the biggest impact on my diet and weight. So now I am back, I am focused on “healthy eating” and thought I might try a few recipes from a new book I just bought “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. I was particularly looking for a new recipe for sweetcorn and thought that “Charred Corn, Scrunched Kale and Sweet Potato Salad” sounded wholesome.

I have never been a massive raw kale fan so I was keen to see how the “scrunching” works which Anna says is equally good with spinach, Cavolo Nero and spring greens. “I keep the kale raw, which might seem a bit unusual. I love to eat kale raw – but I always scrunch it with lemon or lime juice and a pinch of salt first. This does something amazingly fresh and different to it – the cellulose breaks down, so it softens and sweetens into buttery little ribbons. It is a super-quick and because you aren’t cooking it all the nutrients stay intact” and I have to say that that it did make a difference and the whole salad was really delicious. I just changed the honey for maple syrup and added a little chilli to the sweet potatoes. The caramelised beautifully but keep an eye on them as they burn easily.

Charred Sweetcorn, Sweet Potato and Kale Salad

Charred Corn, Scrunched Kale and Sweet Potato Salad
4 sweet potatoes, washed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon runny honey
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g head of curly kale
Juice of ½ a lime
2 corn on the cob
1 ripe avocado, peeled, destoned and sliced
For the dressing:
Juice of ½ a lime
A handful of cashews (soaked overnight if you have time)
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
2 tablespoons coconut milk

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.

Place the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray with the paprika, cumin, honey, a good splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss together, then roast for 40 minutes, until soft on the inside and charred and caramelised outside.

Strip the kale from its stems and rip or chop it into little bite-size pieces. Put into a large bowl, squeeze over the lime juice and add a pinch of salt. Use your hands to scrunch the kale for a minute or so, then place to one side.

Next, heat a griddle pan until screaming hot. Add the corn and char it on each side, turning it from time to time. Once charred all over, let it cool, then cut the kernels from the corn cobs and add them to the bowl of kale.

Put all the dressing ingredients into a blender with 2 tablespoons of water and a good pinch of salt. Blitz until almost smooth and grassy green.

Taste, and add more lime juice or salt if you think it needs it.
Add the sweet potatoes to the kale and corn, then add the avocado to the bowl too.

Pour over the dressing and toss the lot together.

Sweet Potatoes