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! 


Flu fighters

Yep fighters. Fighters, but not outright winners, I'm afraid. 

When proper flu strikes - as it did this week for me - the only thing that actually 'cured' it was time. Time and rest. And sleep. And more time - even when I'd decided I'd had enough of being ill and would BREAK IT.  

I didn't win.  That surprised me as I famously have the 'constitution of an ox', because I believe that mind can win over body, and because, well, I'm just not used to it.

It was proper flu and proper rubbish.  

Kind friends suggested the following and I'm sharing them because - whilst they didn't cure my flu - they would all work if just a bit down with something, or a heavy cold and, they definitely helped me feel better. 

1. The one from the perfumier / aromatherapist / healer, my friend Karen Quinn.

She suggested two drop tea tree essential oil with one each of lemon and peppermint.  I put this mixture in the diffuser (using my doTerra oils, which I love), and it helped a lot with just breathing.  'Just' breathing, yep. Breathing had been a bit laborious.

Rachel Redlaw flu fighters

2. The one from my friend Neelam, who suggested warm turmeric milk, or 'golden milk'.

I'd actually heard about this before from Layla Saad, but hadn't ever got round to making it, much though I had thought it sounded a lovely warm milky evening drink.  Turmeric is also a wonder ingredient, packed with more health-giving properties than I think I can ever remember hearing.

I made mine by warming a cup of almond milk in a saucepan with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon honey and a tiny pinch of sea salt. If you like cinnamon, I'd add 1/2 teaspoon of that too and another time I'll experiment with adding black peppercorns and a slice of fresh ginger (strain before drinking of course).

Rachel Redlaw flu fighters

3. And my friend Kate recommended slices of fresh pineapple with lots of freshly ground black pepper for any sore throat or cough.  

Now, I didn't dislike this ... and tried it a couple of times ... but I think I prefer my sugar/salt/spice dip (but I do believe in the power of pineapple) ... 

Rachel Redlaw flu fighters

Would love to hear your cold and flu remedies too ... do comment and let me know!