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I’ve made chopped salads before and love the simplicity of the concept – chop a whole load of salad ingredients together with a splash of dressing. Yup, that’s it. It appeals to me when I’m working at home and want a quick but healthy sort of lunch.
It may seem daft to sort of mush up all those lovely ingredients into one pile of finely chopped salad, but I think it actually does something to the flavour. By chopping things together the flavours begin to mingle to create something new and wonderful.
For this green salad, I started by chopping together lettuce (a crisp crunchy lettuce like cos or baby gem work best – soft leaved lettuce will just disappear into nothing), cucumber, spring onions, and parsley (but you could use herbs and a mixture would be lovely).
Then I chopped up an avocado and mixed everything together in a bowl. Next, I made a hollow in the salad and added my dressing ingredients – a place of mustard (I used Dijon), vinegar (I used red wine vinegar), extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Then give everything a really good mix together so that all the ingredients and flavours can start to mingle.
At this point taste it and adjust the dressing flavourings to taste. You can also add in other bits and pieces – I crumbled in some Cheddar cheese.
Finally, I mounded it into my bowl and topped with a generous sprinkle of crumbled Cheddar. A fantastic way to eat a lot of vegetables – in this case a lot of green ones – and a different take on the salad.
What do you put into your chopped salad? Pieces of crispy bacon appeal to me.
It seems unlikely that I’ll be making cheese this year. Perhaps not one for my New Year’s Resolution list, with barely enough time to do all the things I’ve already committed myself to, I think cheese making will stay firmly as a long term ‘to do’.
I have, however, been enjoying reading this blog by somebody who does have the time to make homemade cheese – and I’m extremely jealous. I can also dream of the day when I might have the time…!
If, unlike me, you have plenty of time to spare, and cheesemaking takes your fancy, this blog is the place to start. They’ve been making everything from blue cheese to ricotta, Cheddar to halloumi, and even Camembert style cheese! Plus they give loads of details on how to do it yourself.
Image: the handyface blog
Now this is all a bit misty-eyed and looking back at the ‘good old days’ through rose-tinted glasses…but I’m totally in love with the recent BBC series of Just William.
I love everything about it. The beautiful vintage kitchen where Mrs Brown makes the family a decent breakfast every morning. I love what the boys wear and I love what the adults wear. I love that the children always look smart even when muddy and grubby.
What I especially love, is Mr and Mrs Brown and the way they ‘deal’ with their children and teenagers emotions. I aspire to be a mother like that one day. Ah…to dream…
Perhaps an unconventional Christmas meal, but with only two of us to feed a turkey or goose would be too much, and with some exquisite stewing venison in the freezer from Dunham Massey it seemed only natural to have venison stew.
We bought our venison from Little Heath Farm a few weeks ago when they received a delivery from the National Trust property just down the road. It is nice to know that the main ingredient in our Christmas meal came from within 5 miles and most likely had a lovely life roaming the parkland at Dunham Massey.
With a large part of my University days spent studying Native Americans both in the UK and Canada, it seemed only apt to follow the recipe for venison stew from Jamie’s America book. Based on a Navajo stew, this recipe is incredibly delicious and is the second time we’ve made it.
My only addition was to make some parsley and suet dumpling, which I popped into the stew towards the end of cooking. There is something very moreish about dumplings – I think I could eat a plateful drenched in a couple of spoonfuls of stew liqueur.
Mash potato was made with our allotment grown potatoes, which must be said have been a bit disastrous. Whether it’s the variety, how we’ve grown them, or how we cook them, but the potatoes just disintegrate into soupy glue if not watched carefully.
I have learnt that the trick with them is to watch them carefully in the water, looking for the moment when the outside starts to break down, but leaving them long enough to make sure they are almost cooked through.
This time I put it through my wonderful French mouli that I picked up at the carboot – it was fantastic! With the help of a little cream (maybe a lot…) and butter, and some seasoning, the mash turned out all right.
What did you eat for Christmas dinner?
After a breakfast of croissants, stocking opening and snacking on multiple treats, we don’t normally need much more for Christmas day lunch than a big plate of smoked salmon to share.
Father Christmas (thanks Mr Rigg’s mommy) sent us a gorgeous side of smoked salmon, and what couple be easier than thinly sliced seeded rye bread, thinly smeared with salty butter and spritzed with lemon juice.
Sometimes I like to grate a little lemon zest over the top, but this time I took some inspiration from my new Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals book and sprinkled over some crisp green cress.
That little bit of greenery helped lift my feelings after so much rich and sugary food.
All helped down with a nice glass of special fizz, bought all the way back from a holiday in the Loire Valley.
13/01/11 – somehow this post was published as January 2010…rather than January 2011 – I just found it in the wrong place!
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Mr Rigg, Buddy and I spent this morning down on the allotment attempting to work off the copious amounts of rich food we have eaten over Christmas.
Though the jobs involved shifting poo and digging out a small oak tree, and at one point the rain came driving down, we had a good morning.
The large mound of manure has now gone and the allotment looks very neat…if very brown and slightly smelly. We relocated four rhubarb crowns from the middle of the allotment to the bottom, to sit happily with the other rhubarb plants.
I cleared quite a number of ratty looking raspberry canes from the end behind the ‘shed’ (should be called a shack really), and together we dug out a small oak tree (one more to go). I know it sounds terrible to be digging out an oak tree, but the allotment officer advised we should before they get too big.
Before we left we lit up the Kelly Kettle – its first use, despite being Mr Rigg’s birthday present back in May.
With the bottom part filled with newspaper and tiny fir cones, it soon got the water boiling and we enjoyed a cup of herbal tea in our new enamel ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mugs. Perfect for allotment picnics!