King Salad

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Good evening salad buffs! Today is classic salad Tuesday. This is a new invention, and I think it's going to be a hit. Today's classic is Chicken Caesar salad. This is always a restaurant worthy order, but there is something really satisfying about making it yourself, dressing and all. Perhaps the satisfying thing is, you get to eat it in your pants. I did.  

For my Chicken Caesar Salad you will need:

2 square ciabatta rolls (or 1 medium ciabatta loaf)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Baby gem lettuce

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove
2 anchovies from a tin
Medium block Parmesan or Grano Padano cheese for grating and shaving (you won't use all of it)
5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

To begin with, we are making our own croutons. Preheat the oven to 200c and then tear your ciabatta into square-ish pieces. You can cut them into squares, but who has the patience for that kind of faffing? I'm a tearing girl at heart.

Cover a baking tray with the bread and pour over about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure the bread is covered in oil. Use hands if necessary, as you've probably guessed, I did.

Season with salt and pepper then put in the oven for 10 minutes. Take the tray out once or twice and shake the croutons up so they brown evenly. 

Whilst the ciabatta is making its wonderful transformation into croutons, you have time to prepare the chicken. Heat a pan, ready to put the chicken in. Cover the chicken in the remaining olive oil and season. Put the chicken into the pan, if it is hot enough it should sizzle. Sa sa sa sizzzzlin'.

Cook on one side for four minutes and then for another four minutes on the other side. Make sure chicken is cooked through before taking off the heat.

The croutons should be ready now, so take them out of the oven and put them to one side. Beware of trying these gems before your salad is ready. You may somehow eat them all. They are delish. 

Now to make your dressing. Begin by mashing your anchovies in a bowl with a fork until they form a paste. Not pretty I know, but it does taste great. Give it a chance! 

Add five tablespoons of mayonnaise to the bowl and mix in. This was a great struggle for me. I've only just started to get along with mayonnaise in cooking. Had to do it at arms length, but it's in!

Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. 

Then peel your garlic and crush it with the flat side of a knife.

Now if you have a garlic crusher, crush your garlic. But if you don't have one, like me (what student has a garlic crusher?!) chop the garlic very finely. Flatten it a little with the flat side of a knife too. Add to the dressing mix. 

Grate a little of your Parmesan and add it to the dressing. If you don't like your dressings too cheesy/salty then you can omit this.  

Season to taste. Mix all the ingredients in thoroughly. The dressing should have the consistency of yoghurt. If it's too thick add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out.

Now tear your chicken into bitesize shreds. Boyfriend came in at this point and thought bitesize shreds needed a taste check. They didn't. But he insisted.

 Now wash your lettuce and tear up the leaves.

Line the bottom of a serving dish with the leaves and scatter half the chicken and half the croutons over the top.

Pour most of the dressing over the salad. Mix in thoroughly with your hands. 

Scatter the rest of the chicken and croutons on the top. Then shave as much Parmesan as you like to serve with. Personally, I can't resist a bit of Parmesan so I go overboard.

 Enjoy readers! Super duper easy to assemble. Did I just say super duper...

Serve with the Olympics and maybe a glass of wine. Or two.
Happy Classic Salad Tuesday!
L. xxxx

Mexican Salad

Monday, 30 July 2012

I'm at work all of this week and I wanted to find a load of easy and more importantly healthy (I'm on a little detox) meals that are really tasty and that I could take in as a packed lunch if I had any left over. So, we see the dawn of 5 days of salad, readers. But never fear, I'm not doing a few wilted leaves and slices of ham. I'm doing darn exciting salad that you could see yourself ordering in a restaurant. Why should it be boring after all?
My recipe today definitely isn't a dull one. It's a brilliant spicy Mexican bean salad. The colours alone make it worth making, just to photograph it and show your friends. Handily, it also tastes fab. 

For Mexican Salad you will need:
2 eggs
1 avocados, peeled and stoned
400g cans of kidney beans (you could alternatively use pinto beans, or a combination of both) rinsed and drained
Small red onion, finely sliced
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped
150g cherry tomatoes, halved

For the dressing:
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
Pinch of cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Few sprigs of coriander
Salt and Pepper

To begin, boil a small pan of water and gently place your eggs in and boil for 6 and a half minutes.

Whilst the eggs are boiling, you'll have time to prepare the rest of the salad.
Begin by rinsing the kidney beans and draining them of all liquid.

Then peel (or attempt to peel as I did) your avocado and remove the stone. This took me the whole 6 minutes to do. Pathetic avocado peeling attempt. If anyone has any tips on this, please send them to me asap. 

Slice into pieces and layer the bottom of a large serving dish with the avocado.

Once 6 and a half minutes is up, remove the eggs from your pan and place them into a bowl of cold water to cool off. 

Now you need to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Slice all of your tomatoes into halves and add to the avocado in your serving dish. 

Pour in your drained beans.

Now finely slice your red onion. Make sure the slices are thin. Chunky onion in a salad can be overpowering rather than tasty. 

Roughly chop up the coriander for the salad. Add it to the dish. Predictable move, eh. 

Now for the dressing. Start by putting 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar into a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.

Chop up the coriander sprigs allotted for the dressing. Add them in along with a little salt and pepper and stir up. 

Finely chop a chilli. Do not touch your eyes for the rest of the day. I washed them at least 5 times and my fiery fingertips still made my eyes water. 

Add the dice into the dressing, stir up and give it a taste. Add any more ingredients to your taste. Personally I like a lot of coriander, but withheld my herby cravings as I already chopped up a bunch for the main salad. 

Toss the salad with the dressing. Now take the shell off of the eggs and cut them in half and slice into about sixths.

Nestle the yolky gems into the salad. They will add the last, most important splash of colour, taste and texture.
Man it looks good.

This baby serves well on its own - something I was looking for this week. However if you're feeling particularly peckish and are in need of a carb hit, then this can be served with tortilla chips.

What a beauty!
I'll be back tomorrow with more exciting salad. No more to the wilted leaves of yesterday! It is time for you to make the man who sells the doughnuts at work jealous. Too long has it been the other way round.
L. xxx

Seaside Adventures.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

I have decided, it is a brilliant time to be British. That's right readers, I have Olympic fever, British buzz and I'm soaring on a sunshine high. Enough alliteration, I'll get to the point of today's blog.

On Thursday I was by the seaside celebrating my Mum's birthday. We had a wonderful day of beach walking and wine drinking (I especially enjoyed the latter) and I managed to acquire some spectacular sunglasses marks on my face. Authentic Brit for you there. But the evening held the true highlight of the day and this blog's content. We had fish and chips on the front. Doesn't sound fancy, but read closely readers, I have a little gem to share with you.

The Golden Galleon. This wonderful little chippy can be found in Aldeburgh. It has received praise across the wide internet world and in the press for producing some of the best Fish and Chips around. It has been on the to do list for a while and it seemed only fitting (and rather wonderful) to go and eat such fantastic British food during the summer of our Olympics.

The atmosphere of Galleon is brilliant in itself. You queue down the picturesque road, peeking into the open windows and breathing in the smell of hot batter, salt and vinegar. People try not to dribble, but seldom succeed..

My Mum and Sister looking very cheery. Successfully controlling the urge to steal chips from other people as they walk out. 

Patriotic decor? Check. Won me over in my current state of mind. Royal Britannia!

The food is great. I'm not talking your average fish and chips that's slightly soggy but will do I guess. I'm talking has this been made my fishy cherubs of food love? It really is that good.
Wonderful flaky haddock in crisp, tasty batter.

Chips that tasted like none other I had ever tried. Hot, fluffy and almost creamy little sticks of heaven.

My family sitting silently (for once) enjoying the food and the view.

This is my chancer of a pup, Archie. Luckily for him, he can do this face. If he could talk, I think he'd call it the 'you ain't getting past these puppy dog eyes. Gimme a chip'. Or something similar.

The eyes got the better of all four of us. With opposable thumbs, this dog could rule the world.

I thoroughly recommend a trip to Aldeburgh. The fish and chips is worth the drive on its own. But then you have the gorgeous little shops in the town, the picturesque walks and of course the sea! I'm a sea girl. I've been known to have a dip mid November...

I hope you get to visit readers! Really is worth it. And if you can't quite get there, try my fish and chips here, I love them just as much!
L. xxxxx

Slutty Toast.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ok, so you may be wondering (and rightly) how toast can be slutty. Well, let me tell you. A couple of weeks ago I flew to Italy and was a little peckish before my flight. I was queuing up at a generic breakfast bar and that's when I saw it. Nutella and Banana toastie. Just sitting there innocently. I thought this is probably one of the best things between sliced bread, I must try. I did. And my word, this toastie is no innocent one. And so so easy to make. See, slutty toast.
As soon as returned form Italy I grabbed myself a loaf of bread, jar of Nutella and a banana. I'm not at all ashamed to say readers, I gorged myself. My Mum found me half way through consumption and snaffled TWO bites. I suggest if you are going to have one of these little devils, eat in private. Learn from my public consumption. This is too good to share.

For a Nutella and Banana toastie you will need:
Two slices of bread (brown preferably)
1 Banana
2x slathers of Nutella
You'll also need some kind of grill, I always use my one true love, George Foreman.

To begin you'll need to smear Nutella all over your bread. Preliminary Nutella taste test is most likely to be essential at this point.

Chop up enough banana to cover one piece of bread. Make sure it's a generous covering. Loads of banana = loads of nom nom nom. Technical term for you there. 

If you have any left over banana it is practically a crime not to smother it in Nutella and eat immediately. Eat it.

Whilst you're using up your left over ingredients (being economical, very good of you) put your toastie into a grill. It will only need about 3-4 minutes.  

You'll know it's done when the Nutella is gooey and the bananas are practically melting.

Take out of the grill, slice into triangles and eat. Alone. 

Oh my God, my mouth is watering. Where's my George Foreman?! I need another one!

Try to savour it, it will be gone before you know it. Especially if you're Mum finds you and insists she just has to know what it's like.

Try to only have these when you're going to the gym, or it's a special occassion, or just when it's a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...
Enjoy readers! I apologise in advance for your increased Nutella and Banana consumption.
L. xxxxxx
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