Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

As the weather warms up pasta salad are really quick and tasty meals that are perfect for summer days. I love grilled haloumi and this combination of haloumi, asparagus and avocado is just fantastic. Use whatever shell or shaped pasta you have in your cupboard but using bow ties or twirly shaped pasta just makes it look so much better and feasting with your eyes before it goes into your mouth is half the pleasure… (4 people)

What you need

250g pasta shells
600-700g asparagus steamed until just tender
400g Haloumi cheese sliced thinly
1 avocado sliced into bte size pieces
Rind of 1 lemon finely grated
Juice of 1 large lemon about 50ml
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Palm of other fresh herb like chives or basil ripped.

The process

Put your pasta on the boil according to the instructions on the pack and cook until done. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down. leave it in a colander until you are ready.

Heat a pan to a medium heat with a little olive oil and cook the haloumi until browned on each side. Remove and set aside.

Now get a large bowl, add the pasta, haloumi, asparagus and avocado and toss with your hands.

In a separate bowl add 80ml of olive oil, the sugar, lemon rind, ripped chives and lemon juice and give it a whisk.

Pour over the pasta mixture and toss again to coat the mixture with the dressing.

Thats that, it’s really delicious and fresh, perfect for a summer lunch.

This smoked salmon pasta salad is a real winner as well.

Grilled Haloumi Salad

Grilled Haloumi Salad

haloumi-saladEvery now and then I get the Ghalishing for grilled Haloumi cheese and this salad is a real winner. The cheese is salty and has a slight sweetness from the grilling that is just incredible. It’s light and at the same time filling enough for a dinner if served with a nice crisp rye roll fresh out of the oven, but it’s best for a lunch.(for 2 people)

What you need

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 baby eggplants sliced
6 or 8 large cherry tomatoes halved
250g Haloumi sliced about 1/2 cm thick
handful of rocket leaves
Basil leaves, about 1/3 of the amount of rocket
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

The process

In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and cook the Haloumi until browned on both sides. Then do the same with the eggplant slices and tomatoes. Only cook the tomatoes on the fleshy side and do them last, they will blacken slightly which is good but you don’t want that on the eggplant or Haloumi.

Then in a bowl, add the rocket leaves and basil, toss in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and give it a good toss with your hands.

Now add the cooked Haloumi, tomatoes and eggplant, toss lightly and pile up on a plate.

I have put this in the cooking for one section as well… I have been known to devour an entire 2 man serving, it really is delicious.

If you don’t have eggplant, use baby marrows, they are just as good.

Enjoy it, and for meat eaters, try these beef and Haloumi kebabs

Bulgar wheat salad

Bulgar wheat salad

cranberry-saladBulgar wheat is a healthy grain usually available from health food section of your supermarket. I buy the Pouyoukas bulgar wheat but there are other brands in supermarkets and most health food stores will stock it. This salad is fantastic using cranberries and pine nuts and is a great dish to compliment pork recipes or as a main meal for vegetarians. (4 people as a main)

What you need

1/2 cup Bulgar wheat
1/2  cup pine nuts toasted
1/2 cup spring onions finely sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 Red onion chopped small
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup chopped parsley or coriander

The process

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and pour over hot vegetable stock. Allow to stand for about 20 to 25 minutes until the bulgar wheat is soft and the stock has been absorbed while you prepare the rest of the salad. If there is any stock remaining, drain it off, you don’t want any excess liquid.

In a pan on a low heat, melt the butter and soften the onions.

Add all of the ingredients to the bulgar wheat, toss and you are ready to eat.

You can really go to town wit this recipe, add whatever grabs your fancy like dried peaches instead of cranberries but keep the basics. If you are watching your weight don’t cook the onions, chop them very small.

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

raita

cucumber raita

This is a fantastic little extra for any curry and takes just a few minutes from start to finish. If you are having a hot curry, you are going to thank me… Try it with a traditional biryani or any of the many other curries on the site just do a search for “curry”.

What you need

1 cup cucumber diced into small cubes
1 large onion halved and finely sliced
3 roasted garlic cloves chopped
1 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint finely chopped
salt

The process

Place whole garlic cloves or a whole buld in a 180 Celsius oven for about 20 minutes to roast. Do more than 1 bulb, the sweetness of the roast garlic is excellent with chicken or a good steak.

Combine garlic and youghurt in a bowl and mix well.

Add the rest of the ingredients,mix well and then season with a little salt.

You can also add a chopped fresh green chili if you are a heat freak but I prefer it just like this.

For your curries you need a good Tandoori Masala, make your own Tandoori Masala

Summer bruschetta

Summer bruschetta

bruschetta

Bruschetta

It has been so hot in Cape Town lately and last night when I got home I just could not face cooking anything so I made this really fantastic bruschetta with some great rye and wholewheat bread. It was just what the doctor ordered, cool with a little acid from the vinegar that left me satisfied with a clean fresh aftertaste. I had a few skewers left over from the Greek lamb kebabs I made on Monday that complimented well. (for 2 people)

What you need

4 slices rye or wholewheat bread toasted
2 garlic cloves
2 large tomatoes
Dash of olive oil
Dash of white wine vinegar (you could use balsamic)
Salt and pepper

The process

Chop the tomatoes into smallish cubes with a very sharp knife. (there is nothing more frustrating than using a blunt knife to cut tomatoes) and add the to a bowl.

Spalsh a little olive oil over them (about 4 tablespoons), splash a little vinegar (about 1 tablespoon) and mix together.

Taste and add vinegar to your taste.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside to marinade.

Toast the bread and while still hot rub with the garlic cloves to get the garlic flavour into the toast.

Top with the tomato mixture and serve.

It’s great as a starter or an accompaniment to a meal.

You can also add some crumbled feta and a few leaves to make it really special.

Calamari salad

Calamari salad

calamari-salad

Calamari salad

Calamari or squid salads are really light and take only 15 minutes to make. It is important not to overcook squid or it can become rubbery and not very appetizing. A quick turnin a hot pan is all it really needs and toped off with the really great thai style dressing will make this salad a firm favorite. (serves 4)

What you need

4 calamari steaks or about 400g of calamari rings
1 mango, sliced
4 spring onions
Mixed greens ( 1 packet of mixed salad leaves)
1 large red chili chopped (optional)

Dressing

3 teaspoons brown sugar
60 ml lemon or lime juice (4 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon fish sauce

The process

With a sharp knife lightly score the calamari steaks diagonally in both directions to create diamond shapes on the surface. Be careful not to cut through the steak.

Heat a frying pan to hot and add a little oil for frying. Quickly fry the calamri pieces tossing them until they curl up and are lightly browned. This should take no longer than 1 or 2 minutes. remove from the pan and cut into strips.

Place all of the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk furiously for a minute or so.

Place all of the salad ingredients including the mango, along with the sliced calamari into a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss around ensuring that the leaves and calamari are coated with the dressing.

Depending on your taste you can make double the amount of dressing and drizzle some over the top when served.

Add tomatoes, finely sliced cucumber or whatever takes your fancy.

Steak and avocado salad

Steak and avocado salad

steak avo salad

Steak and avocado salad

This is a salad with a difference, crunchy potatoes, avo and a mustard dressing. It’s really good and a substantial meal that takes just a few minutes to prepare. The aged steaks available at Pick n Pay or Woolies are such great quality and so tender these days that a good piece of rump does the trick but of course a piece of fillet is for a special occasion. Good for 4 people.

What you need

600-700g rump or fillet
Salt and pepper
300g pack of baby spinach leaves
2 avocado’s

2 large potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
1 heaped tablespoon butter

Dressing
2 teaspoons granular mustard
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon brown sugar
90ml olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
90 ml cream

The process

Steak
Season the steak with salt and pepper and cook to your liking. Let it rest for abiut 10 minutes and then slice into thin strips across the grain.

Potatoes
Peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes about 1-2cm. In a pan on a medium heat add the oil and butter together, fry the potatoes until golden brown, remove and drain on a paper towel.

Dressing
Add all of the ingredients to a small pot over a low heat. Heat through and mix well then remove from the heat.

Combine the spinach leaves, chopped up avo and potatoes, mix together and drizzle over a little of the dressing. Add the steak slices and pour over the rest of the dressing.

It’s a truly delicious salad recipe.

Chicken caesar salad

Chicken caesar salad

caesar salad dressing

Chicken Caesar slad

Caesar salads are really all about the dressing and I like to add chicken and croutons to mine to make it a whole meal. Some people like to add bacon bits and a couple of other toppings so see what you have in the fridge and dress it up as you like. These are such simple salads and seriously delicious. (for 2 people)

The process

Dressing

2 garlic cloves minced (about 1 teaspoon)
5 small anchovy fillets chopped finely
Good grind of black pepper
30ml lemon juice
½ teaspoon strong mustard (Dijon)
1 egg yolk (can be replaced with 75ml mayonnaise)
75ml olive oil

Salad

1 Romain lettuce (must be romain)
2 cooked chicken breasts shredded
Handful of croutons
Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

The process

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk well until completely combine and a pale colour.

Separate the lettuce and wash well, spin or shake dry and place on a plate.

Pour over most of the dressing and finely grate a good amount of parmesan (palm full or so), give the leaves a light toss to coat with the dressing, then cover with the chicken and croutons and pour over the rest of the dressing.

Serve with a grind of black pepper.

Enjoy it folks.

Try the Chicken caesar pasta salad recipe for something different.

Couscous Moroccan style

Couscous Moroccan style

couscous

Couscous recipe

Couscous has got to be the simplest meal and combined with these flavors and a few slices of tender rump steak, make a truly fantastic meal in 10minutes flat. You can easily spice up Couscous for your own tastes if this does not do it for you, use your imagination! Good for 4 people.

What you need

500-600g rump steak
250ml chicken stock
1 ½ cups dry couscous
Palm of chopped dried apricots
Palm of raisins
1 small onion finely sliced
Palm of chopped mint leaves
Palm of chopped dill
Palm of pine nuts
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

150ml of your favorite salad dressing (not a creamy dressing)

The process

Heat a frying pan on a high heat and toss in the pine nuts and cumin seeds. Toss them around a bit until the pine nuts have a nice golden color to them. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil, remove from heat and add the couscous. Leave to stand and absorb all of the stock while you cook the steak to your liking. Remember to season with salt and pepper.

Set the steak aside to rest, use a fork to break up the couscous grains and place them in a large bowl. Add the apricots, cumin and pine nuts, mint, raisins, dill and finely chopped onion. Mix them all together, then spoon onto a plate, top with slices of rump and drizzle over a little of the salad dressing.

It makes a fantastic summer meal. Enjoy.

Heat a frying pan on a high heat and toss in the pine nuts and cumin seeds. Toss them around a bit until the pine nuts have a nice golden color to them. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil, remove from heat and add the couscous. Leave to stand and absorb all of the stock while you cook the steak to your liking. Remember to season with salt and pepper.

Set the steak aside to rest, use a fork to break up the couscous grains and place them in a large bowl. Add the apricots, cumin and pine nuts, mint, raisins, dill and finely chopped onion. Mix them all together, then spoon onto a plate, top with slices of rump and drizzle over a little of the salad dressing.

It makes a fantastic summer meal. Enjoy.

The North African beef recipe is a similar recipe or you could try the Seared steak salad recipe.

Chicken Waldorf salad

Chicken Waldorf salad

waldorf salad

Chicken Waldorf Salad

This is a variation on a Waldorf salad that’s really great for hot summer days and perfect to take to work or school for lunch. Wa;dorf salads don’t usually use chicken but believe me, this is a really great salad, crunchy, satisfying and seriously delicious. Good for 4 people.

What you need

500g red apples sliced
500g cooked chicken
6 sticks celery sliced finely
2 spring onions chopped
Heaped palm of chopped walnuts
Palm of raisins
Lettuce
½ cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon

The process

Place the sliced apples in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise and marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Chop up the chicken into bite sized pieces, add the chopped walnuts, celery, raisins nad spring onions. Then add the rest of the mayonnaise and mix well, add the marinated apples and combine it all very well.

Cover the base of a serving dish with washed lettuce leaves and pile on the mixture.

Serve as is.

If you liked this recipe you will also enjoy the Chicken rice salad and the Chicken pasta salad.