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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.

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I thought I should just explain the lack of posting…my camera is broken.  I feel lost without it – I don’t quite know how I can blog, food just doesn’t seem as interesting when only written about.  So I shall have to post lots of other people’s lovely images.

So, at a time when money is tight and I can’t go out and just buy a new one I am having to think creatively about how to raise the funds for a new camera.  Until that time, you and I are going to have to be content with camera phone pictures – great from a distance, not so good on close-ups of scrumptious food.

Oh well.

Recently we have eaten lots more corn on the cob cooked simply with butter, salt and pepper; sweetcorn fritters – this time with slithers of crispy bacon and tomato salsa; homemade rice paper rolls filled with loads of raw veggies and a soy and ginger dipping sauce – Tes at Home has a great recipe for her spring rolls with creamy peanut sauce.

And I have finally accepted autumn is upon us by starting my day with a bowl of porridge drizzled with maple syrup.  I am quite excited about autumn…Halloween…Bonfire Night…and then Christmas.

Images: {1 and 2} Martha Stewart; {3} Country Living

brunch

This is my perfect lazy Saturday (or Sunday!) brunch. 

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Lightly toasted bread smeared with butter.  Crisp salty bacon.  Sweet cherry tomatoes.  Deep earthy mushrooms.  And golden yolked eggs.  Oh, and a big mug of hot chocolate.

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How to create my perfect brunch

For me, creating the perfect brunch is about excellent ingredients and careful planning of how and when you cook each item.

Firstly, turn you oven onto a low heat and pop in two plates to warm.

In one, large cast iron frying pan I start off the bacon first.  Meanwhile, I chopped my mushrooms and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. 

Once the bacon starts to crisp, I add the mushrooms and let them start to cook.  When the bacon is to cooked to your taste, remove and place in the oven.

Move the mushrooms to one side of the pan, drizzle a little olive oil onto the other side of the pan and add the cherry tomatoes – they should sizzle and spit.  Season both the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Heat another smaller frying pan and add some oil – this will be your egg pan.  As you crack in your eggs and start to fry them, instruct your boyfriend to pop some bread into the toast.

Just before your eggs are ready, remove the warmed plates and bacon from the oven.  Butter your toast, divide the bacon between your plates, slide the fried eggs onto the toast, and spoon over some mushrooms and tomatoes.

Eat!

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My ingredients:

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The asparagus season has started here in England and I have been so looking forward to it.  For that reason, we are feasting on the stuff at any opportunity, and will probably be sick of it by the end of its short season.

This is a simple meal of asparagus, topped with a couple of crispy slices of streaky bacon, accompanied by some toast smothered in butter and a soft boiled egg to dunk the asparagus spears in.  You may see that I slightly over-cooked the egg so there was no dunking for us – not a mistake I will make again!

The asparagus came from Kenyon Hall Farm (also the people who run our box scheme Northern Harvest).  The eggs were from Abbey Leys Farm – I follow Delia’s method for boiling eggs.  The streaky bacon was care of Sue at Little Heath Farm, and the bread from Barbakan.  So all in all a pretty local meal – and a tasty one at that!

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Asparagus with crispy bacon and a soft boiled egg

Serves 2

Bundle of asparagus spears
4 slices streaky bacon
2 eggs
4 pieces of bread
Butter

Prepare the asparagus by gently bending the stems until they naturally snap – discard the woody stem. My preferred method of cooking asparagus is as follows (but feel free to cook them however you choose): Heat a narrow pan of water about half full until simmering. Use an elastic band to gently fasten the bundle of prepared asparagus together and place in the simmering water – the water should come at least half way up the stems. I use another pan of equal size, placed upside down on top of the first pan. This method enables the stems to cook in the water, and the delicate tops to gently steam.

Meanwhile, put your eggs on to boil – I follow Delia’s method for soft boiled eggs.

Cook the streaky bacon in a frying pan until nice and crisp.

When the asparagus is cooked, turn of the heat. Pop the slices of bread into the toaster and lightly toast. Take the cooked eggs out of the water and pop into your favourite egg cup – gently cut the top off to reveal the golden yolk. Butter your toast and pop it on the plate, along with a pile of steaming asparagus and top with the crispy bacon.

Eat immediately!

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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