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tomato salad

An absolute classic, timelessly tasty and always popular with friends.  At its most basic, tomatoes and basil, but here I’ve added in a little crumbled feta.

Mixed Tomato and Basil Salad

Feeds 2 as part of a meal

100g red plum cherry tomatoes
100g yellow cherry tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil
Feta cheese
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters and pop into your serving dish.

Tear over the fresh basil.

Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Crumble over the feta and season with salt and pepper.

Eat!

augustsummermeal2

We ate our salads with cheese – a Danish blue cheese called Castello (available from -the dreaded- supermarket) and a sheep’s cheese called Brebirousse Argental (one of my absolute favourites and available from Barbakan Deli in Manchester).

To finish it off we had a plate of slightly toasted Polish black bread, that we rubbed with garlic and smeared with olive oil. 

Yum yum yum.

Coming tomorrow: Chocolate Cake

augustsummersalads

So when the sun briefly appeared last week, our stomachs grumbled for the delights of fresh summer salads and dinner on the patio.  I whipped up three easy salads – I call them salads, but in fact they could also be side dishes, or part of another meal – some toast and cheese.

My three ‘salads’: Piemontese Peppers, Marinated Green Beans, and a Mixed Tomato and Basil Salad.

piemontese peppers

Piemontese Peppers

*These are my version of Tamasin Day-Lewis’ Piemontese Peppers, minus the anchovies as we didn’t have them, and done under the grill…I couldn’t wait 40 minutes for them to cook in the oven!*

Feeds 2 as part of a meal

1 red pepper
couple of small tomatoes (cherry ones are great)
1 clove of garlic
some feta cheese
extra virgin olive oil
sprig of thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat your grill on a medium setting.

Cut your pepper in half and carefully remove the stalk and seeds.  Halve them again and place on your grill pan.

Dice up the tomatoes and pop a few chunks into each quarter of pepper.

Next, thinly slice the clove of garlic and add a couple of slithers to the peppers.

Sprinkle over some thyme leaves, followed by a good drizzling of olive oil and season with salk and pepper.

Bung under the grill and cook until soft and starting to char at the edges (don’t forget about them like I did or you’ll have to remove some of the more singed bits!).

Remove to a plate and crumble over some feta cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature – also a great dish you can prepare ahead of time and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

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Up next: Marinated Green Beans

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This year is set to be the summer of salads, I’m sure of it.  The heat here in England is incredible at the moment, our office temperature gauge said it was 29°C!  Far too hot to be working. 

At home we are relishing salad after salad, and I am enjoying creating these light, wholesome salads to fill our bellies.  With this heat no one wants to eat much, just a few lovely salads and some grilled meat, or a bowl of simply dressed pasta with a side of green leaves.  We have had friends round for barbecues and my parents visited for a day, so I have been perfecting my salad making skills.  And when I say salad, I don’t just mean a bowl of leafy greens, I mean plates of spring vegetables, prepared with different flavourings and complimented with cheeses and herbs.

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The first of these salads that I’m going to showcase is a dish of roasted spring carrots with cumin and feta cheese.  I serve this warm or room temperature, not hot.  Like so many of my favourite recipes, this is so simple and easy to do – a real ‘no fuss’ dish.  I discovered some bunched English baby carrots at my one of my local farm shops, which were a perfect size for what I wanted – if you can’t find baby sized carrots, just take normal sized ones and cut them into slender batons.

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Trim and scrub the carrots.  Bung them in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil, add a grinding of black pepper and some salt, and finally sprinkle over a teaspoon or so of cumin.  Give them a good toss to coat with all the yumminess an pop them in a moderately hot oven.  They should only about 20-30 minutes, and are ready when they are tender.

Because I like to serve the carrots warm not hot, it means you can cook them in advance, turn the oven off and leave them to cool.  When you’re ready to serve the salad, take a pretty serving plate, spread out the carrots over the plate, crumble over the feta cheese, sprinkle over some fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

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If you fancy, you could always serve the carrots in a tortilla wrap or mashed up a bit and served on a crostini. 

Hope everyone else is enjoying some sunny evening meals in the garden!

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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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