Salads

Fried egg spicy salad

Easiest little lunch, just a couple of eggs and salad made that bit more special with a hot and sour dressing.

For one person, you’ll need:

Some lettuce, shredded - I had Little Gem

A tomato, hard core removed then diced

Some thin slices of red onion

The juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1-2 birds eye chillies (depending on size of chillies and your preference)

cooking oil

2 eggs

Make the salad by combing the lettuce, tomato and red onion in a bowl.

Mix the dressing ingredients (lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chilli) together in another little bowl and set aside.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and then crack in two eggs.

Fry the eggs, once to cook the yolks through (I didn’t quite manage this and my yolks are still a little runny - for this dish they’re better cooked through).

Take the eggs out of the pan when cooked and allow to cool.

Cut the eggs into squares or small pieces then add to the salad.

Top with the dressing and toss carefully to combine.

Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad
Rachel Redlaw fried egg spicy salad

And that’s it!

Super simple,nutritious, easy, tasty little lunch for one …. done!



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Avocado + mango salad

Today, I just wasn’t really feeling making a salad for lunch out of whatever was in the salad drawer but I’m so so so glad I made it and didn’t get something else instead.

Because today’s salad is my new favourite and I’m going to be eating it a lot.

You can of course use whatever salad ingredients you like - plus avocado and mango - but what I had worked perfectly (I think) in a sort of salsa-like kind of way.

I had:

2 spring onions, topped and tailed and sliced

2 radishes, topped and tailed and sliced

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 sticks celery, just the good middle part of the stalk, sliced

red, green and yellow pepper, cut into chunks or sliced

fresh mint leaves and fresh parsley leaves, chopped (coriander would be good too if you like it)

1 small red birds eye chilli, diced (only use as much chilli as you like of course)

half an avocado, cut into slices or chunks

half a mango, cut into slices or chunks

a grind of salt

the juice of one lime (or half a lime if it’s very juicy)

flaked almonds, toasted quickly in a dry pan

Rachel Redlaw avocado mango salad

I just chopped it all up, then added the salt and lime juice and mixed it all together with clean hands.

Tipped it onto a fresh plate and topped with the toasted almonds.

I’m going to have this for lunch tomorrow too - to use up the other mango and avocado halves!


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Thai-style avocado salad + peanut lime dressing

Well, I had intended to take more photos but …. it was just there. Nothing to take photos OF!

I chopped lots of lovely salad things:

avoacado

mango

red and yellow pepper

tiny tomatoes, halved

spring onions

a carrot

one courgette

a sliced red chilli

fresh coriander leaves

…. and put it all into a shallow dish

And then I made the delicious dressing!

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon demerera sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons crunchy organic peanut butter

4 tablespoons light olive oil

Blend it all together with a grind each of salt and pepper … and taste, taste, taste to see if you think it needs more of anything before you serve it.

And that’s that!

You could always add prawns, chicken or chick peas perhaps if you wanted to make it more substantial, but I thought it was perfect the way it was - and the peanuts add richness.

Rachel Redlaw avocado salad



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Spicy sour salad with coconut chicken + coconut rice

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a spicy sour salad!

I make my ‘sort-of’ som tam several times a week, substituting courgette for green papaya when I can’t get it.

And today I just started playing around (playing around with food and trying out new ideas is one of my very favourite things to do).

NOTE: THIS RECIPE ISN’T ONE WITH LISTED OUT INGREDIENTS ETC AS IT’S JUST WRITTEN AS I DID IT. HOWEVER, I HAVE GONE BACK AND ITALICISED THE INGREDIENTS SO HOPEFULLY THAT’S A LITTLE BIT HELPFUL!

So instead of my usual chicken cooked on the griddle, I tried poaching it in coconut milk - well, actually the watery liquid from the tin of coconut milk plus additional water.

I simmered the quartered chicken breast in the coconut/water for I think ten minutes as wanted to make sure it was thoroughly cooked and then I drained it and when slightly cooled, shredded the chicken.

Being in a playing-with-food mood, I then cooked some rice (using my absolutely foolproof method of course) in water but also added the solid cream from the tin of coconut milk.

So now I have coconut rice and coconut chicken all ready - and that lovely rich soft coconut flavour to add to my favourite spicy sour salad flavours.

(Nope, neither poaching chicken nor coconut rice cooking look that great, but I thought I’d add the photos so that you can see that it doesn’t look appetising at this stage!).

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

And now for the salad.

Make a quick and easy sugar syrup for the dressing by putting one tablespoon of demerara sugar in a small pan with three or four tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Stir to ensure all the sugar has dissolved and then removed from the heat to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

I’ve got a green papaya today but you can always use courgette in its place if you can’t find green papaya (or as I do when I’m too lazy to make a trip to the Thai supermarket).

Peel the papaya/courgette and slice with a julienne peeler.

I’ve also got a few green beans, spring onions and cherry tomatoes, so just slice these too so it’s all ready.

And I’ve a small garlic clove and one red birds eye chilli - but use more or less garlic and chilli to your own taste. Today I want the flavours softer than I sometimes do and for the one chilli to balance the soft coconut rather than overpowering it.

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

Using a pestle and mortar squash first the chilli and garlic into small pieces - not a total mush, but nice and small as we’re eating it raw.

Then add the green beans, spring onion and tomato and squash it all together again.

Finally add the green papaya plus a handful each of fresh coriander and mint leaves, and … yup … give it all another pounding!

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam

Tip in the cooled sugar syrup, the juice of one juicy lime and a tablespoon of fish sauce.

Stir, mix, combine, scrunch with your (clean!) hands - whatever way you like to mix the flavours - and then taste and see if it needs any more lime or fish sauce.

Add the cooled coconut chicken and coconut rice and mix again.

This is sooooooo delicious!

I love combination of the rich soft coconut rice and chicken, with the sour spicy dressing and the fresh herbs.

In fact, I’m making this for dinner again today ….

Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam
Rachel Redlaw coconut chicken with som tam


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Watermelon chicken salad

Yes, I KNOW it sounds odd, but please bear with me and please TRY this!

This is so simple, and trust me, it WORKS.

So, how did it come about?

Recently, at my parents for the weekend, my step-mum (a very good cook) put together a quick lunch of salamis, cooked meats, breads and .... watermelon. It worked.

And I thought back to a couple of years ago when I made some Thai-influenced little chicken burgers for a party, and I'd added a chunk of watermelon to them in place of a bun, just a little piece of watermelon skewered with a cocktail stick on top of the burger patty.

Oh and I ALSO thought back to days in Thailand, driving through a rural area when suddenly there would be sign up for gai yang, and you could see the chickens roasting on the spit, and we'd slam on the breaks and jump out.

Where the guy would come out his house, take the chicken down, get that big cleaver out and chop it into chunks (bone included) and bag it up to give you.

Rachel Redlaw - Thai watermelon chicken salad

Where roast chicken is eaten dipped in sweet chilli sauce.

Rachel Redlaw - Thai watermelon chicken salad

So, combine it all together and you've got watermelon chicken salad.

First time I made it I cooked a roast chicken and had the chicken warm with cold watermelon chunks and a good drizzle of sweet chilli sauce, with rice salad.

Since then I've griddled a piece of chicken to mix with watermelon and Thai sweet chilli sauce.

I've been camping in France and bought cooked chicken from the supermarket to mix with the watermelon and the sweet chilli sauce (I brought this with me as haven't found French supermarkets to have the diverse range of foods I take for granted now in London).

And every time I've made it, it's been good.



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Creamy yogurt lemon mustard dressing

OK, World-Cup-obsessed means simple dinners - tonight shop bought fishcakes (they sound delicious too - cod and chorizo).

I was thinking I’d just squeeze lemon juice over the salad but suddenly decided to experiment to make a creamy yogurt lemon mustard dressing.

This was enough for two:

Half a big juicy lemon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2tsp salt (I have this lovely lemon thyme Cornish sea salt but normal salt is fine!)
1 tablespoon vinegar - white wine vinegar would be ideal but I only had white malt vinegar so used that
1 tablespoon light olive oil (virgin olive oil would have too strong a flavour for me)
A good grind of black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons plain yogurt - just natural or Greek would be lovely
1/2 or a tiny clove of garlic, minced


Then just stir or whisk it all together - taste and adjust as needed!

Rachel Redlaw creamy yogurt lemon mustard salad dressing

Does it need a little more lemon? Yogurt? Seasoning?

Up to you!

I'll be making this again .... I think it would also be lovely over some simple grilled fish.



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Thai green mango salad / som tam mamuang

I love som tam, the traditional spicy sour Thai salad made with green papaya ... and I often make my version using courgette in place of green papaya.

But this one, made with green mango ...

I'm sorry as I always like to give a substitute and try to avoid specialist ingredients as much as possible, but for this one it's green mango or bust.

I don't make this very often, but when I do I take some care over it - there's something very special to me about a green mango salad.

WhenI lived in Thailand, we had a huge mango tree, with it's branches spread above the decking by the pool.

We had a non-stop supply of sour green mangoes which were dipped into a sauce so fiery, sour, salty .... with fermented fish heads, crabs legs, all sorts of things.

And it was so good!

When the mangoes were ripe, there were fruit flies, we wanted to get rid of the fruit ... and every person who visited left with a carrier bag full of ripe mangoes - imagine, that many mangoes we had to give them away by the bag-load. 

But now, it's a little more special for me to make green mango salad and there's also something I find very elegant about it too.

It's the sweet, sour flavours I think, and that it just works best with prawns or other seafood, so as I said ... I just take that little bit more care than I sometimes do when cooking. 

I don't find it a chore, but actively enjoy each little step, from toasting the almonds (that I prefer in place of traditional peanuts as peanuts aren't nuts but actually legumes, and have more calories than nuts and don't have the good fats either), to blanching the green beans.

I want every single element here to be perfect.

And I also create the salad vegetables together with the dressing - it saves time, washing up, and also - so I believe - blends everything so perfectly that the whole dish comes together as one, all those elements combined into one perfect salad.

Green mango salad for two (perhaps served with rice) or for one greedy one (probably without the added rice) ....

LET'S GO!


1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) demerara sugar

4 tablespoons water

flaked almonds

green beans, ends removed 

a few small tomatoes, quartered

2 or 3 spring onions, sliced

1 medium green mango

some raw prawns, defrosted if frozen, and a whole squid tube, defrosted if frozen

1 garlic clove

1-2 birds eye red chillies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

the juice of one juicy lime


Put the sugar and water into a little pan, bring to the boil slowly and when boiling stir to dissolve the sugar and then remove from heat and cool.

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add a handful of flaked almonds and toast for a few seconds, shaking all the time - it'll take maybe 30 seconds - then remove from heat.

Get the vegetables ready: slice the ends from the green beans and cut into inch-long pieces; quarter the cherry tomatoes; slice the spring onions.

Peel the mango and then chop into long thin slices - the easiest way is with a julienne peeler - and put to one side.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

Put a saucepan of water on and when boiling add the prawns for a minute or so until almost done, then add the green beans for a minute to blanch, then remove from heat, and cover with cold water to prevent them from cooking further.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

If adding squid, cut the tubes, score on both sides, and cook on a hot griddle pan for a minute or so each side. I love how the tubes roll up! 

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and chilli into a rough paste but not a pulp.

Then what I like to do is make the salad veg and dressing all as one - so add the green beans, tomatoes and spring onion and pound again.

Tip in the sugar syrup, the fish sauce and the lime juice and stir and pound again, to meld it all together.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad
Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

And then it's just all about putting it together! Add the salad veg/dressing to the green mango and toss with (clean) hands.

Rachel Redlaw som tam mamuang Thai mango salad

Pour it all into your serving bowl or plate and place the prawns and squid on top, and then lastly the toasted almonds.

Elegant, delicious, delicate at the same time somehow as having those huge hot and sour flavours ... this is a special one.



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Thai-style salade nicoise

I had eggs and I had tuna and I had green beans.

So it was looking like a salade nicoise ... but I was STILL hankering after my favourite salad dressing of the moment, which goes with EVERYTHING!

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IMG_7024.JPG

I've had it with roast beef, with sliced steak, with chicken.

Why not with tuna and egg?

Here's how to make my Thai-style version of a (kind of) salade nicoise (give or take the lettuce, olives, potatoes, French dressing ...) for two.

For the dressing, mix together to dissolve the sugar:

1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 small garlic clove, minced very fine

1-2 teaspoons sugar, to your taste

the juice of 1 juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the salad, whatever you like really!

I had tomatoes, spring onions, courgette (cored and sliced with a julienne peeler), cucumber (peeled and diced), radishes, green pepper.

What makes it really good is also to have some chopped fresh mint and coriander (or parsley if you don't like coriander) leaves.

Oh, and toast some almond flakes in a dry pan ready to add to the finished dish.

For the tuna - I decided I wanted the tuna to be spicy rather than all the salad or the dressing:

1 tin tuna, mixed with a few drops of soy sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and a finely diced red chilli (just use a few slices or half a chilli if you don't want it too hot).

And finally, you'll need:

some fine green beans

2 eggs


Put a pan of water on to heat, add a pinch of salt and when boiling carefully add the eggs.

After two minutes add the green beans and boil for a further four minutes.

Immediately remove from the heat and rinse and rinse in cold water to prevent the eggs or beans cooking further, then set aside.

Combine all the salad ingredients, add the salad dressing and mix - I just use my (clean!) hands to scrunch it all together.

Put the green beans on top, then the tuna mixture and peel, halve and add the eggs.

Top with the toasted almonds and a little freshly ground black pepper.

Rachel Redlaw
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New fave salad dressing // rare roast beef Thai-style salad

Yep, I made my salad with rare roast beef because I was in the supermarket and this lovely piece of beef was in the marked-down pile.

I hate food waste.

I also hate not choosing meat that's free-range and/or organic, animals who had a happy life. Sometimes I have this internal tussle about whether it's 'better' to choose that poor little battery hen who's ended up in the reduced pile, it's life worth nothing in life or death .. or whether to stick by the principle that if we don't buy that stuff, well, that's the important thing, to ensure there's ever more limited demand.

It's a hard one. 

Anyway, that was a bit of an aside as on this occasion, I did buy the reduced little beef joint, and cooked it rare, as I like it.

So this is a long-winded way really of saying that this post is actually ALL about the amazing dressing ... and serve the salad with whatever you choose! 

Make a salad out of JUST those things you really love - I used to make salads stuffed with things I didn't - goodness knows why, perhaps it was habit or thinking that was what you 'had' to have.

I’ve got peppers, radish, spring onion, celery, carrot, tomatoes .... plus some sliced red chilli.

Not too much chilli either - just enough to feel it tingle - as the dressing shines and doesn’t want overpowering.

And then add some toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander and mint leaves, chopped.

This really adds to the beautiful fresh flavours - DO add these! 

And then such a good dressing!  Here we go!

This was enough to dress a salad for two:

 the juice of one juicy lime

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

a piece of ginger (grated)

1/2 (or one small) garlic clove minced very fine

All just stirred together to dissolve the sugar, poured over the salad and mixed with my (clean!) hands.

Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad
Rachel Redlaw Thai salad dressing rare beef salad

Then topped with the sliced rare beef, or whatever you're choosing to have with it.

This is kind of a back-to-front salad, starting with the dressing rather than the meat or salad itself!



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Yum talay (Thai seafood salad)

Sometimes I don't think what I do is really 'cooking'. Not 'proper cooking'!

I don't really weigh things out, it's never very precise, and you HAVE to taste and taste and see what tastes good to you. 

I see it as less 'cooking' and more 'faffing about playing with food'.

It's ALL about having fun and really ENJOYING making something good to eat - that's usually simple and quick too.

This recipe is a perfect example ... lots of playing and very little actual cooking. 

And it tastes really good.

I love seafood and I love hot and sour flavours - and the lemongrass and lime leaf makes this just really delicious - so full of flavour.

Thai seafood salad - let's get started.

I made a big bowl just for me - so adjust the quantities of course depending on how much you're making.


Here's a list of the ingredients I used, but read through the whole recipe and see where you might adapt or change according to what you've got and what you like.

frozen prawns and squid, defrosted

1 tablespoon demerera sugar plus 3 tablespoons cold water

1-2 birds eye chillies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1-2 limes

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

a few slices of white onion

2 spring onions, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 stalk of lemongrass

1 lime leaf, torn to remove the stalk

extra wedges of lime, to serve


You can use any fish or seafood you like (or happen to have).  I always like to have prawns and squid in the freezer as it's just so easy then to make something to eat - and generally I have scallops too but not today. Defrost before using - seafood defrosts quickly in a bowl of cold water - then rinse with fresh cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

You need to cook the fish first before adding it to the salad - do this any way you like.

The quickest way for my prawns and squid to cook would be to drop them quickly into a pan of boiling water and cook for only about a minute or less ... I did do the prawns like this - they're ready when they've gone from raw grey to completely pink!

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

But I wanted my squid to have a bit more texture too it and I just like cooking it on the griddle and watching it roll up! (Yep, 'faffing about playing with food').

So I scored my squid tubes, opened them out and cooked them on a very hot griddle and squeezed lime juice over them as they cooked.

Once the fish and seafood is cooked, just leave to one side to add at the end.

The next part of playing with food is to make the dressing - I added one tablespoon of demerera sugar to three tablespoons of water in a little saucepan and brought it slowly to the boil, stirred to dissolve the sugar and removed from the heat to cool. You could stand the saucepan in some cold water in the sink if you want to cool it more quickly.

I pounded up two birds eye chillies (use 1-2 depending on your taste) then added a tablespoon of fish sauce and the juice of a really juicy lime, then the sugar/water mixture.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

Stir it all together and taste - see if you need to add anything else. It might need a little more lime juice depending on how juicy your lime was! 

Do make this dressing to YOUR taste. I like it very spicy and very sour so use lots of chilli and lime, but you might prefer a sweeter dressing, so just taste and play and experiment.

Next - the salad.

Use what you like really!

I had carrot, some white onion, a couple of spring onions, a tomato and some celery - but you could use anything you like.

Very finely slice just the bottom third of a lemongrass stalk (having removed the tough outer layers) and also finely slice a lime leaf and add to the salad. 

If you can't get these then do make it anyway, but the lemongrass and lime leaf are SO GOOD do get them if you can! I'm lucky that my local supermarket sells them so hopefully yours does too.

Add the dressing to the salad, mix well, and tip out onto a plate or bowl and add the seafood

Serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay
Rachel Redlaw yum talay

And that's it!

One delicious, authentic, Thai seafood salad - easy and fun to make and very little actual cooking!



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Green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

This is a really lovely dish from Rachel Roddy writing in the Weekend Guardian recently - an Italian warm vegetable sort of salad/stew with soft flavours of braised runner beans, tomatoes, olive oil, salt - all warm and beautiful on a summer's day served with some good bread.

I couldn't resist trying it immediately (nope, patience has never been a strong point of mine!) so I ended up making it slightly differently with the ingredients I had.

I still loved it and I'll be making it again, both the way I made it, and going back to try the original.

It's pretty much perfect in its simplicity just as it is, although would make a great accompaniment to any grilled / barbecued meats of fish too.

You'll find the original recipe HERE.

And because my local shop didn't have any fresh basil the day that I made it, and because I had fine beans rather than runner beans, I made some tiny changes to the flavours - without the basil it would need something so I also used a few slices of chilli pepper and some ground cumin.

If you have fresh basil, then omit the chilli and the cumin.

Note that you leave the dish to sit for an hour or two after cooking to be served warm, so factor that into your timings!

Or just eat it hot of course.

Or make it the day before you want it and reheat very gently to serve - I imagine the flavours will only get better when left overnight.

Here's how I made a big pot, enough for two.

You'll need: 

1 medium white onion, very finely sliced

salt

1/2-1 small red chilli, very finely diced

a couple of tablespoons olive oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray cooking oil and a splash of water when it needed it) 

equal quantities of green beans or runner beans, and ripe tomatoes - I think I used 200-300g of each (and use the very best tomatoes you can get hold of - ones with lots of flavour)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

a good chunk of Feta cheese to serve

Get the ingredients together

Get the ingredients together

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Top and tail the beans and cut into small pieces

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Remove tough cores from the tomatoes and dice

Put the oil in a pan and when warmed, add the finely sliced onion and a small pinch of salt, and the chilli (if using) and cook gently over a low-medium heat until the onion is soft - if you use a spray oil like me, you'll need to add a splash of water or two as it cooks to prevent the onion burning. Cooking onions until soft always takes longer than I think it will - probably around 10 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan, stir well to combine with the onion, then cook - still stirring - for a 3-4 minutes.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

Add the tomatoes, another small pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (if using) then cover the pan and leave for a couple of minutes. Uncover the pan and stir, then cover for another 4-5 minutes (have a look and stir if you like - and if you need a little splash of water add it - although the juice from the tomatoes should be coming out now as it has time to cook with the lid on).

Once the tomatoes are releasing their juice, uncover the pan and cook uncovered on a low heat, simmering gently, for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta

The beans will be really tender and the sauce lovely and thick.

If you have fresh basil add a handful of torn basil leaves now for a couple of minutes. 

Taste and see if it needs any seasoning, then remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour or two before serving warm with the piece of feta crumbled over and served with bread, if liked. 

 
Rachel Redlaw green beans, onions, tomatoes + feta
 


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Steak, mango and avocado salad

This recipe first appeared in The Guardian newspaper in February 2010 and it's from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

One of my sisters saw it and tore it out - we made it and it was delicious.

Several years later when I was with her, I remembered it, and took a photo of the page - and a few times I've made it, zooming in on the photo to enlarge it enough to see the detail of the recipe.

Seven years later, thought it was about time I just shared it, so I'll have it right here whenever I need it.

Oh! And - of course - so that you can have it too.

This is simple and elegant and delicious and full of flavour. Easy enough for a normal supper, and lovely enough for a dinner party, or lunch - we had it today for Sunday lunch and it was perfect.

I've changed the recipe just a little, so this is my version I'm giving you.

The mango, avocado, steak and spicy dressing isn't a combination I'd have thought of - but it works supremely well.

So for two people, this is how you do it!

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad

The marinade: 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced; 1 tablespoon oyster sauce; 1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional - I didn't have any); 1 teaspoon soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; some grated fresh ginger; a little black pepper.

 

 

 

 


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

1-2 steaks depending on their size and your hunger.  Rump or sirloin will work best.

Rub in the marinade and leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

 

 

 

 


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Make the dressing: 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 1.5 teaspoons toasted sesame oil; juice of 1/2-1 limes; 1.5 teaspoons light soy sauce; 1/2 teaspoon sugar; 1/2-1 birds eye red chilli, finally chopped; 1 very small or half a clove of garlic, finely minced.

 

 

 


When the steak's almost done marinating, prepare the rest of the salad: peel and slice half a mango (or as much as you like); same with a ripe avocado (I used half a large avocado). Put rocket on plates with the mango and avocado arranged on top.

Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak avocado mango salad
Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Heat a griddle pan until very hot, add the steak and sear for 2-4 minutes each side - depending on thickness of the steak - you want it lovely and browned on the outside and pink in the middle.

Leave the steak to rest on a board or plate for 3-4 minutes before slicing thinly.


Rachel Redlaw steak mango avocado salad

Add the steak to the plates of salad, drizzle over the dressing, scatter over some coriander leaves and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 


SUCH a great dish. Hope you love it too!



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Moroccan salad (with griddled chicken)

I was in Marrakech recently (again - one of my very favourite places and yes I really am going to write a quick post about it soon).

It was the most beautiful weekend away with my co-conspirator-traveller-niece. We shopped in the souks, sunbathed on the roof terrace of our riad, and ate a LOT of tomato + cucumber Moroccan salad.

We had it in the riad, we had it for lunch at the Henna Art Cafe and we had it every time we ate in the main square too. 

We had it with bread, with grilled smoky aubergines, with a chilli dip, and with skewers of grilled meats (well, I did; Mia's vegetarian). 

It's so simple too, I don't know why I haven't made it before now ... but now I have, it's going to be a regular thing at Tiniest Thai HQ! 

What makes it special, what makes if Moroccan is the addition of ground cumin - I'd brought some back with me too (along with Ras Al Hanout, that spice blend for stews and for tagines - will be using it next and making a tagine).

You can have the salad with whatever you like, but I did some simple griddled chicken for a light lunch for me and a friend yesterday. (I made the salad, she brought the Prosecco). 

So, first the salad (serves two).

Dice some tomatoes (take the tough cores out if need be). I used a mixture of two large tomatoes and then quartered a few cherry tomatoes too. Peel and de-seed some cucumber and dice that too. 

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato salad
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato salad

Chop half an onion very finely, and add it all to a big bowl with a handful of chopped parsley and a pinch of salt - and stir to mix well.

Then make the dressing. I used one and half lemons squeezed into a bowl (just squeeze them over your open hand so you catch the pips easily), 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tsp ground cumin and a shake of white pepper.

You could use a little olive oil too, but I prefer the taste of the lemon to really shine through.

Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar, then tip over the salad and mix.

 
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad
 

And for the simplest griddled chicken, I just opened out a chicken breast (actually it was one and a half chicken breasts) so they are thin and quite flat and will cook quickly.

My grocery shopping delivery that morning had included lemon thyme in replacement for lime leaves which they hadn't had in stock (yep, strange replacement, can only assume someone just saw the words 'lime' and 'lemon' and thought, 'that'll do'!), so I thought I'd use it with the chicken.

The chicken was sprinkled with cumin, some lemon/thyme salt I found in the cupboard (or just use salt) and the leaves and some sprigs of lemon thyme. You could use another herb, or just leave this out if you don't have any. 

And I added 2 teaspoons of oil and rubbed it all together to coat the chicken pieces.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken

I heated the griddle until very hot (you could just use a frying pan or grill the chicken if you don't have a griddle) and added the pieces of chicken, which started sizzling (LOVE that sound!).

They took around three minutes each side ... but do slice into them to check they're properly cooked through.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad / chicken

Serve with the chicken on top of the salad and with another little pinch of ground cumin over the top of it all.

Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad
Rachel Redlaw Moroccan tomato and cucumber salad

Simple, light and fresh tasting. So good! 


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Sesame chicken

I was making a salad for my lunch and about to just put some chicken on the griddle and then decided to do something different with it. I had been thinking about toasting some sesame seeds to put in the salad but thought I'd cook the chicken in them instead.

This is really simple and made a nice change!

Start by making a very quick sugar syrup for the salad dressing.  

It's just 1 tablespoon of sugar (I used demerara sugar but white sugar is fine) brought slowly to the boil in a small pan with 3 tablespoons of water, then stirred to dissolve the sugar and remove from the heat. 

I sliced the salad vegetables that I had in the fridge, which was courgette, carrots, spring onions and cherry tomatoes. Use whatever you have and like!

To make the chicken, I used half a chicken breast and sliced it again into two thin strips (you need it thin so it cooks quickly, so do give it a bash with a rolling pin between cling-film or greaseproof paper if you need to).

Then I just tipped some sesame seeds (I think it was two tablespoons) onto the chicken and added a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce and coated the meat.

Rachel Redlaw sesame chicken
Rachel Redlaw sesame chicken

I used my 1-calorie spray oil (20 sprays) into a pan and then fried the chicken until cooked. Cook the chicken quickly on each side to brown and crisp the sesame seeds and then cook for another 2-3 minutes each side until cooked (cut into it to check).

Because there's not really enough oil to fry it, I did have to add a splash of water too once the seeds had browned.

 
Rachel Redlaw sesame chicken
 

If you're not on a weight-loss diet, then use a tablespoon or two of cooking oil to fry the chicken and you won't need the water! 

Once cooked, leave to one side to finish the salad. 

Using a pestle and mortar crush into tiny bits (but not a mush) a birds eye chilli and a garlic clove.  Then tip in the cooled sugar syrup, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and the juice of a lime and combined with the salad before topping with the sesame chicken.

Rachel Redlaw sesame chicken


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Sunshine food / simplest souvlaki + Greek salad

A Bank Holiday in the UK often (like today) = a bit grey and cloudy.

So, nothing for it but to cook up THE most sunshine-y lunch I can think of right now - and that's an easy, delicious chicken souvlaki, with Greek salad.

And rose. Pink wine just says SUMMER!

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad

For two, I used one big chicken breast, cut into small cubes and put in a bowl to marinate for 30 minutes or so with:

the juice of 2 lemons

and the zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

then I used a teaspoon of this lovely salt with lemon and thyme, but you could use 1/2 teaspoon each salt and thyme

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki + greek salad

While the chicken marinates, make an easy Greek salad. 

I used:

1/2 red onion, sliced as thinly as possible

2 tomatoes (on the vine - you want the sweetest tomato-est tomatoes you can find), cored and cut into chunks

a piece of cucumber (I took off most of the skin as it was quite tough), cut into chunks

a few very thin slices of green pepper 

some black olives 

1 teaspoon each of red wine vinegar and olive oil (no need to mix first)

a good squeeze of lemon juice

some salt and black pepper

.. and then I tossed it all together using my (clean) hands to make sure it was all combined

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
 

As I'm making this lunch while on my Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet I didn't put a big slab of feta on the top (I'm a bit addicted to feta) and just crumbled a little to make it go further - and sprinkled it with a little more dried oregano. 

Again, if I weren't on a diet, we might have had some nice hot toasted pitta bread too but ... I can't be trusted not to eat the rest of it once it's got in the house! 

Once the chicken's marinated, thread it onto wooden or metal skewers and cook.  I cooked mine on the hot griddle, adding the rest of marinade over the chicken, but you could also cook it under the grill or fry in a pan.

I cooked mine for probably 4 minutes each side, turning now and then, and checking it was cooked thoroughly before serving. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad

Serve with the salad, pitta bread if you're having it and some lemon on the side to squeeze over.

And if you, like me, like a glass of rose when you're pretending it's summer, have one (or two) of those too!

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet souvlaki and Greek salad


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Yam plaa - crispy fish salad

My nephew bought me a Thai cookbook for Christmas, one I haven't seen before.  It's called ... hold on ... The Little Thai Cookbook - and there's some great recipes in it.  I love reading cookbooks so am thoroughly enjoying working my way through this one.

When I find any recipe in any cookbook I like the sound of, or that I've eaten before, I then think through if there's any changes I'd make or what else I could make with it. 

So, with just a very few Tiniest Thai changes, this absolutely delicious crispy fish salad has shot to the top of my current home-alone favourites - when I'm cooking just for me, this is EXACTLY what I usually want to eat. 

It's spicy + sour and crunchy + salty, full of flavour and texture 

And the basic salad and dressing is so simple to adapt to other toppings if you're not in a crispy fish kinda mood.  

I've made it with a chicken, prawn and red pepper topping, stir fried in a little soy sauce and also with prawn and squid. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad

I absolutely love hot and sour salads and hope you give this a try

So, crispy fish salad for one ... you'll need .. 

a piece of white fish (I had cod)

1 tspn salt

1 garlic clove

1 red bird eye chilli (or more if you have milder chillies, or want it spicier!)

1/2-1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of one lime

1 tspn sugar

1/4 red onion, cut into chunks

2 spring onions, sliced

3 or 4 cherry tomatos, halved, or 1 tomato, chopped

1 carrot, julienned or diced

small handful each of fresh mint and coriander leaves, chopped

a tablespoon peanuts, chopped (or use other nuts, I toasted almond flakes today, but peanuts are best!)

cooking oil 

Heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180C.

Rub the salt all over the fish and get all the other ingredients together.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Put the fish on a rack over a baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 mins.

While it cooks, start the dressing by roughly chopping the garlic and chilli then crushing into a paste with the mortar and pestle. Don't pulverise it but do be aware that you're going to be eating whatever sized bits of chilli and garlic you end up with, so adjust to your taste! 

Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Chop and prepare all the salad ingredients and put into a big bowl. 

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
 

Tip over half the salad dressing, stir or scrunch (with clean hands!) to combine - and set aside.

Take the fish out of the oven and flake with a fork, or with your hands, until it has the consistency of large breadcrumbs.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai crispy fish salad yam plaa

Pour quite a lot of oil into a wok and heat until a tiny piece of fish dropped in sizzles on hitting the oil.

Then add the fish 'breadcrumbs'.  Leave to cook in the very hot oil for 30 seconds and then stir, and leave again.

Mine took longer to cook than I'd thought it would and actually I'll leave it longer next time as it's so good when it's really crispy!

Keep cooking and stirring (very carefully) then remove the fish with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper or strain into a bowl (and then dispose of the oil when it's cold).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad

Put the salad onto a plate, add the crispy fish (or other topping) and mix.

Pour the remainder of the dressing on top and mix again - before eating ... 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai yam plaa crispy fish hot and sour salad
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai hour and sour crispy fish slad yam plaa


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Spicy steak salad / yum neua

The most delicious and simple lunch for one.  

I'm a big believer in making meals special and I hate the thought that you might eat purely for sustenance 'just' because it's only you you're cooking for.

So today, home alone, I made myself this salad and I highly recommend you sometime soon do the same!

Or make double and have it with someone else of course - I'm not saying keep it to yourself, just that it's as easy as heating a tin of soup to make yourself something that tastes incredible.

Steak salad with a hot and sour dressing for one then it is.  

Coming right up.

You'll need:

1 steak - whatever you like.  My preference is for rump, but sirloin would work too.

light soy sauce

fish sauce

1 lime

sugar

1/4 - 1/5 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 spring onions

one little gem lettuce, or other lettuce leaves

coriander leaves

mint leaves

a red chilli, to garnish 

 
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
 

Get the steak out of the fridge half an hour before cooking and put on a plate or in a bowl with a slosh of soy sauce.  It cooks better from room temperature. 

I made the dressing first, before cooking the steak, and it's so easy! 

In a bowl put 1 tablespoon fish sauce, the juice of a lime (should be about 2 tablespoons so you may need a little more or less), 1 teaspoon of sugar and the dried chilli flakes (note - weirdly half tsp was fine when I made this for one, but one tsp way too much when I made it for two, so go cautious).

Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add your sliced spring onions.

Shred some lettuce and put it on a plate, and chop some coriander and mint. Prepare a few slices of red chilli ready to serve.

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

Cook the steak to your liking.

I usually griddle it for a few minutes each side, but today cooked it under the grill, much more slowly than if cooking a steak to eat whole in a pan or griddle.  I cooked mine 7 minutes each side.

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

Let the steak rest for 4 or 5 minutes, then slice crossways into thin slices.

Add the steak to the bowl of dressing and stir or scrunch (get your hands in there!) to combine.

Put the steak mixture on top of the lettuce and pour over all the dressing.

Top with the coriander and mint leaves, and a few slices of red chilli (if liked). 

Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai
Hot and sour steak salad rachel redlaw the tiniest thai

SO delicious.  

Please please try this one and let me know what you think! 



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Does feta make everything taste better?

I'm currently obsessed with feta cheese.  But less as a cheese and more as a seasoning. 

It's slightly sharp and sour and salty, and a little crumbled over many dishes just makes them that little bit more special.

Experiment with any dishes you like of course, and I'd love to know what you found works, but my top three (this week anyway) are ... 

1. Salads

Rachel Redlaw feta

Any salads really.  

I've had a little feta in my lunchtime salads this week.  

All of them had a variety of leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and spring onions.  A couple of days I had avocado, and some black olives, another day I had some chicken that I'd stir-fried the night before with red and yellow peppers and some oregano.  

All with a little olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon. 

All with feta crumbled over at the end.

2. Omelettes 

Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta

Two eggs, beaten and a few pieces of diced butter.  One tomato or a mushroom, chopped finely.  

Heat the pan and add a little olive oil, tip in the airy beaten eggs and the chopped veg on top.  Season.  

Cook, tilting the pan, letting the uncooked egg run under where it starts to cook and right at the very, very end, crumble in some feta, fold the omelette and remove from heat.  

Eat ... 

3. Couscous and stir-fried things

Rachel Redlaw feta

I always though couscous was both incredibly bland and also a bit of a faff (with putting it into a bowl mainly so probably not that much of a faff really) until I saw this recipe in Jamie's 15 Minute Meals.

Ingenious, simple and tasty way of making couscous.

While the kettle's boiling, throw some spinach leaves in the food processor along with some mint leaves and a couple of spring onions.

Blitz up then remove the blade and throw in half a cup of couscous (for two people) and a whole cup (just double the water to couscous) of boiling water.  

Cover and leave while you cook the rest.

Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta
Rachel Redlaw feta

When done, just fluff up the couscous with a fork, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon (or to taste) and season with salt and black pepper.  Stir well.

For the topping, the original recipe was chorizo and squid, with red peppers stir fried with a drizzle of honey and some sherry vinegar.  I had chorizo but not the other things so did a stir fry with chorizo, garlic, chilli, red pepper then after about four minutes added some prawns and scallops that I'd found in the freezer.  A splash of water, a squeeze of lemon, a tiny pinch of sugar. 

I've made this couscous before with all sorts of toppings - chicken, chorizo, seafood, stir fried veg ... all good. 

Tip the couscous onto a plate or platter, top with the stir-fry and ... yep ... crumble over some feta cheese. 

Rachel Redlaw feta

These are just a few ideas, but I can't wait to hear what else you add feta to!



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January salad

January food, to me, is ALL about freshness.  

After a lot of rich food over the Christmas period I absolutely crave a return to spicy fresh tastes and I really want salads ... and chillies too!

I want spicy and sour and sharp and completely zingy, plus crunchy and fresh.

So I've been making variations of my 'January salad' all week.

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

So easy, it's just a simple basis from which to experiment - and a great way to use up things in the freezer - which is the other thing I'm doing in January.  No more buying what I feel like on the way home when in the freezer I found chicken, pork mince, scallops, squid and prawns!

To go with the salad I cook rice and a quick protein-based stir fry.  

One night it was strips of chicken sprinkled with a little soy sauce and some black pepper and stir-fried.  Another night it was prawns and squid stir-fried with sliced red and yellow peppers and a dash of oyster sauce.  Anything easy and quick and just what you have really.

Just don't make it spicy as the salad is hot! 

And, onto the salad part itself then.

I KNOW this is going to sound a bit of a faff for a salad but bear with me - it's honestly not, there's just a few components, but they are really simple to make and they make your salad something special. 

Read through right to the end before you start making it - and see what you already have that you could use! 

These are the approx quantities I use to make 'January salad' for two (greedy) people, but you really do have to taste as you go with this one and get it to your liking.  

The more often you make it, the easier and more instinctive it gets of course.

First, make the sweet part of the dressing that will balance out the spicy and sour flavours. 

Put two tablespoons (measure them!) of light brown sugar (use white if you don't have light brown) into a small saucepan with three tablespoons of water and slowly bring to a boil, simmer gently for literally just a minute and then remove from the heat.

Rachel Redlaw January salad

Next put all your salad-y things in a big bowl with room to toss it all together later.  

I used about 3/4 of a bag of 'crunchy' salad from the supermarket so it was crunchy lettuce and red cabbage and carrots.  I added thinly sliced green pepper and white onion.  

All of these are good: white onion, red onion, spring onion, carrots, courgettes, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, peppers and anything else that's crunchy.  Just slice it nice and finely so it looks lovely as well as tastes good.

Put a few cherry tomatoes to one side to add later, or quarter a tomato or two (remove the core! no one wants to eat the core!).

I also really like a bit of added crunch to the texture so some nuts are good if you have them.

A small handful of peanuts would be perfect.  I didn't have any in the cupboard, so quickly toasted some flaked almonds in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes.

Now the fun bit.  

Put a roughly chopped clove or two of garlic (depending on size) and a roughly chopped chilli or two (I used two birds eye chillies) into a mortar and crush them up with the pestle - you want them in really small pieces but not a total mush. 

Next my 'secret' ingredient - dried shrimp.  This is optional but if you can get hold of it (at an Asian supermarket or online) it keeps forever in the freezer, takes only minutes to defrost and makes your pad Thai authentic too ... 

 
Rachel Redlaw dried shrimp January salad
 

If you're using dried shrimp, add a small handful to the chilli/garlic mix and give it a bit of a bash then add the nuts (if using) and crush a bit more.  

Then add peanuts - if using - and bash a bit more.  (I was using more delicate toasted almonds so just added them at the end rather than over-crushing them now).

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

Then the tomatoes go in to be squished and THEN tip everything from the mortar into the bowl of crunchy salad and stir it all in and maybe give it a bit of a crush with the pestle to make sure it's all mixed.

Pour in the sugar syrup, add 1.5 tablespoons of fish sauce and squeeze in the juice of a lime.

Use your (clean!) hands to scrunch and toss it all together and add a handful of chopped or torn coriander leaves too, if you have them and if you like coriander (I know a lot of people don't).

And, this is the really important bit, TASTE it and see if you need more fish sauce or more lime juice.

 Personally, I like my salads very spicy and very sour, but I've learnt to tone it down a little bit if I'm sharing - haha - so I think the quantities I've given should be right for most people, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to taste and make sure it's right for YOU.  

It's YOUR dinner so it needs to suit your palate.

And that's it.  

Honestly, I love this and right now eat a variant of it several times a week  - and often take leftovers in to work too for lunch the next day (with an extra chilli to add slices of and an extra lime to squeeze in).  

 
Rachel Redlaw January salad
 

I love the sharp flavours and the freshness, the soft chicken or prawns and the steaming rice with beautiful spicy sour salad.

Really want to know what you think of this one, so please do comment if you make your own version! 



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Valentina's Sicilian Orange Salad

This is a really good and easy salad, another family recipe from my friend Valentina, and a traditional Sicilian dish. 

I think this would probably make enough for 4-6 people depending what you served it with.  I halved the quantities for two and it was perfect with grilled tuna steaks and my favourite tomato and onion salad.

You'll need:

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

For the dressing -

4 tablepspoons extra vergin olive oil

the juice of 1/2 lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper to season

For the salad -

4 oranges

2 fennel bulbs

approx 60g black olives

1/2 white onion

Make the dressing first by mixing all the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper) in a bowl.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

Even though I halved the salad quantities and the olive oil, I still put in this much lemon juice as I like it really lemon-y so do taste and adjust as you like. 

Set aside while you prepare the salad. 

Peel and segment the oranges, removing all pith then slice or halve as you prefer, but do cut them gently to try to keep the juice within the orange pieces rather than all over the bowl.

Slice the onion and fennel bulbs in very thin slices and add the olives.

Add the orange pieces and combine gently, then add the dressing and toss with clean hands so that everything is coated and thoroughly mixed.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Sicilian orange salad

It will keep in the fridge for a day or so, but is best eaten fresh.  It was deliciously summery with grilled tuna steaks and I'll be having it with steak soon too.

If you make this I'd love to know what you eat it with so do let me know in the comments below.



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