Tag Archives: salad

Mexican squash and chorizo salad

22 May

Squash and Chorizo salad

With a recently diagnosed coeliac daughter it’s all too easy to forget that the rest of the family can eat gluten to their heart’s content. I even found myself dusting a plate of courgette cakes that the children would never be touching with gluten-free flour instead of the real thing. My creativity seems to be reserved for making suitable gluten-free meals instead of delicious new meals for me to enjoy. So here’s an exception.

This salad was not trivial to prepare, but it was delicious – moreish, spicy and filling (if something can be moreish and filling all at once).

It’s based on a recipe from Thomasina Miers Mexican Food Made Easy – fast becoming my culinary bible, but I did go a little off-piste. This food is so simple it’s wonderfully easy to improvise and adjust.

I turned it into a one-pot dish, roasting all the ingredient together, although I staggered them a little to avoid burning.


1 butternut squash, de-seeded and cut into chunks
2 red onions, sliced
1 handful of baby tomatoes (red looks best)
10cm of chorizo sausage
1 handful of baby spinach
Grated parmesan
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pinch of flaked chilli
1 tablespoon of chopped oregano or marjoram
Bunch of coriander leaves


Heat the oven to 190°C.

Roast the chilli, cumin, oregano and squash in a tin for 15 minutes with a large splash of oil.

Add the onion and continue to roast for 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and chorizo and roast for 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile pound the coriander in a pestle and mortar with some salt and olive oil until it makes a chunky paste.

When the roasting is complete, assemble the salad on each plate – a serving of the roasted vegetables, some spinach, a drizzle of the coriander paste and some shavings or gratings of parmesan.


Warm halloumi, ham and butterbean salad

2 Mar

Halloumi, tomato and proscuito saladHaving decided to have a week where the Gastronome Towers fridge was emptied rather than augmented, by Thursday I was struggling to concoct meals from the remaining morsels.

There was a block of halloumi waiting in reserve for this rainy day, but enthusiasm was low for a plain old salad, or other such simple, not particularly filling, recipes.

Instead I fell back on an ingredient that I’m growing to love ever since I tried it in a readymeal a year or so ago – butterbeans.

Cheap and filling, butterbeans are an ideal ingredient for rapid baking and if you pair them with a bunch of powerful other flavours, they suck it all up, waiting to deliver it all onto your tongue. They are like flavour sponges!

This does of course mean that you need to introduce those flavours to the butterbeans in the first place and with an apparently empty fridge I thought I would struggle.

I thought back to a delicious butterbean-based recipe I had for chicken and chorizo with roasted vegetables and realised that with a bit of imagination the halloumi would substitute for the bird, and a few scraps of proscuito for the sausage.

The results were great. Mrs G and I demolished our respective portions and looked at each other in case there was some left over.

There wasn’t. The butterbeans had done it again – or more accurately, the roasted tomatoes, onions and ham had done it again, turning the bland old beans into something special.


1 block of halloumi torn into chunks
2 red onions (quartered)
10-20 cherry tomatoes
1 large tin of butterbeans
Some prosciutto / parma ham / anything else dried and from a pig! (shredded / torn / ripped apart)
1 handful of young salad leaves
A few basil leaves, torn.


Heat the oven up to 200ºC.

Roast the onions in some olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and roast for a further 10.

Add the butter beans, basil, and half your prosciutto and roast for a further 5 minutes.

Add the halloumi and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove the roasting tin from the oven and stir in the salad leaves and the remaining prosciutto.

Serve immediately and try to stop yourself from eating it too quickly!



Duck leg, pomegranate and mint salad

26 Feb

Duck leg, pomegranate and mint saladThis recipe has Jamie Oliver written all over it. The ingredients are tossed casually onto the plate. The meat is shredded coarsely. It’s packed full of colour. It screams summer.

It’s not actually a Jamie Oliver recipe, but it shows that had I been working as a sous chef at River Cafe in the 90s that Sainsbury ad contract could have been mine.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, this recipe came about as a result of having an excess of duck legs in the freezer – not really a hardship – and a vague memory that Nigella Lawson had done something similar in the past.

The duck legs were roasted slowly at a low temperature for around 50 minutes, then shredded over the salad leaves. I included the skin because frankly it’s the best bit. I dressed it with pomegranate seeds and mint. The juice that came out of the pomegranate made the basis of the salad dressing.

It was light, but tasty and the perfect accompaniment for the unseasonably warm end of the winter.