Goat’s Cheese Salad with Figs and Walnuts

You’ll need spinach, small ripe figs, walnuts, goat’s cheese, a lemon, some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, some chutney, a clove of garlic and a little French mustard.

Start by making the dressing.  Put the garlic clove, a dessertspoon of balsamic vinegar, the juice of half a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the mini-processor with half a teaspoon each of any nice chutney and mustard.  Whoosh them together.

Slice your goat’s cheese, one slice per salad and place each piece onto a small square of greaseproof paper.  Put them under a hot grill.

Scatter a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves over each plate and sprinkle over some of the dressing, a few walnuts and about three halved figs.

When the cheese is golden and bubbling, carry the greaseproof paper to the plate and slide the cheese onto the salad.



Rocket Salad with Rosemary Chicken and Gran Padano


This is a ten minute wonder, inspired by (or rather, totally copied from) my friend, Andrea.

The five minute marinade

You’ll need to chop a few rosemary leaves (we’re talking less than a teaspoonful when chopped) and a small clove of garlic, and rub them into 250g finely sliced chicken breast with the zest of a lemon (don’t use the juice yet – you’ll need it later), a little salt and black pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil.

Leave this to marinate while you drop 100-150g rocket leaves into a bowl and sprinkle through about 30g Gran Padano.  You’ll want about 30g more cheese to add at the end.

Heat up a frying pan to very, very hot, then fry the chicken until just golden (about 5 minutes).  Test your fattest piece to check that it’s cooked through before discarding the oil and tossing the chicken into the salad.

Final flourish

Sprinkle with lemon juice, good olive oil and more cheese.

Chicken and Avocado Salad For One


It seems like a bit of a cheat to post a salad recipe, since it’s just a collection of nice things strewn over your plate, but here we go anyway.

Begin by putting a boneless, skinless chicken breast into a plastic bag, and beating it with a rolling pin until it’s well- flattened.

Put it onto a plate and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, then add about a tablespoon of olive oil, some ground coriander, a tiny pinch of mint and salt and pepper.  Turn over until the chicken is well-covered in the dressing.

Use either your griddle pan or the grill to cook the chicken, about 5 minutes each side, but do check by cutting into the middle.  It should be white and opaque, of course.

Meanwhile, scatter a handful of rocket leaves and some red onion over your plate.  Cut an avocado into pieces and halve some cherry tomatoes.

When the chicken is cooked, slice and arrange it beautifully or messily onto your plate and garnish with the tomatoes, avocado and a few onion rings.

Sprinkle a few tiny drops of balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the plate, and some parsley if you have it.

Salade Niçoise

Easy and healthy:  what’s not to like?

Boil some green beans for about 20 minutes.  I like them good and soft.

Boil 4 large eggs for up to 10 minutes.

Finely slice a red onion, and halve some cherry tomatoes.

Open a tin of flageolet beans.

Here comes the only cooking:  Mix a teaspoon of dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a little seasalt.  Throw in a finely chopped garlic clove and 2 tablespoons of nice vinegar (one of balsamic and one of white wine vinegar works for me).  Whisk together with a fork.

Mix the beans (both sorts) together with the onion, the dressing and a drained can of tuna.  Put into a serving dish and arrange the eggs and tomatoes artistically on top.  Just like in the photo.