Tasty lunchtime chickpea & steak salad.

 

I really enjoyed making this salad. It’s simple, delicious and very satisfying as well as being good for you too. We’ve been thinking of new recipes, new ways of using veg and getting as much goodness into us as possible. This looks like a big list of ingredients but you can always adapt it to suit you. You can change the seasonings you what you have in your cupboard and use more spinach instead of rocket, I just like the peppery taste the rocket gives but it’s not essential.

1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 generous handful spinach, roughly chopped
1 handful rocket
1 tbsp feta, cubed
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 small red chilli, deseeded
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp piri-piri seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
450g steak, I used a cheaper cut and cooked it to medium
5 tsp left over tomato sauce (or you can add a couple tbsp of tomato purée)
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper, to season

Firstly put a large pan or a griddle pan on the highest heat meanwhile season your steak with the paprika, piri-piri, cayenne, salt pepper and a tsp olive oil, rubbing it in all over. Cook the steak until medium or to how you prefer ( I cooked my steak to medium as I got a cheaper cut ) and rest on a plate.
In another large pan heat the remaining olive oil under a medium heat. Add the red onion and fry for a minute then add the chilli for another 1-2 minutes. Once the onion has softened add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and stir. Once heated through add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted and take off the heat.
On a large serving plate place a handful of rocket and spoon on the chickpeas. Thinly slice your steak and place that on top of the chickpeas. Crumble the feta on top followed by the sour cream mixed with the garlic. Add an additional sprinkle of paprika over the salad and serve.

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Chicken & avocado salad

 

 

This is a very simple salad, so feel free to add whatever you want. A little bit onion, mustard maybe a bit chilli or garlic. It’s very versatile and great the way it is or with something extra in it to give it an extra kick.
This afternoon I didn’t feel like anything spicy or garlicky so I made this salad quite simple and of course just using what ingredients I had lying around.

Ingredients, serves 2

1 chicken breast, cooked & cooled
1 tomato
Large handful of Romaine lettuce
1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp mayonnaise
Salt & pepper, to season
Parmesan, shavings to garnish
1/4 lime juice

Method

Dice the chicken in to medium sized strips and add to a large mixing bowl. Deseed the tomato and chop in to medium pieces along with the avocado and add to the bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime, salt and pepper and combine together. Roughly chop the lettuce and add to the mixture and combine. Garnish with parmesan & a little more pepper. Enjoy.

  

Spicy carrot and angel hair pasta salad with roasted chicken drumsticks.

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I like this dish because it’s tasty, hot and very fresh tasting. I feel over the summer I have totally over indulged. Some people feel the sun makes them want to get fit and healthy and pig out in the winter, I kinda do both. The sun makes me want to eat nice food outside with friends and have a few glasses of vino and the cold weather in the winter makes me want to snuggle up with some cheese or carb related food. Of course I am still sensible and I’m not over weight at all but I seem to get to a point at this time of the year that I feel I’ve over done it especially because both our birthdays are in the same month and we seem to go all out with food and drink.
I don’t believe in diets because I don’t think they work on the long term. I much prefer to eat in moderation and exercise which when you’ve stopped for a while ( like me over the summer ) it’s hard to get back into it but once I’m past the hardest hurdle of getting out of bed and I have started I actually really enjoy exercise and you feel great after it. So here is my fresh and healthy spicy salad on a budget of course.

Serves 2/3

Salad:
2 carrots cut into fine strips with a peeler
1/2 small radicchio, finely chopped
1/4 small ice berg lettuce, roughly chopped
100g angel hair pasta or noodles
4 chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
1tbsp olive oil

Dressing:
Zest 1 lemon & juice of 1/2
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
Salt to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. In a small baking tray mix 1tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning with a pinch of salt. Cut three little slices on the top of the chicken drumsticks and place them in the baking tray rubbing the seasoning all over. Roast for around 25-30 minutes turning occasionally until thoroughly cooked through. Meanwhile bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook your pasta until al dente around 5 minutes, drain, place in a bowl and add a dash of olive oil to stop it sticking together. Put all veg in a large bowl. In a small bowl add all the dressing ingredients and pour 3/4 over the pasta and stir until thoroughly combined. Once the chicken is ready pour the remaining dressing over the veg and stir them add the pasta and combine everything together before placing on plates with the chicken drumsticks on top. Lovely.

A quick tuna salad for lunch…

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So at the moment I don’t have a full time job and the job I do have is only seasonal and about dying out ( I know it is as stressful as it sounds ). So when I am at home I spend my time learning Italian, thinking of recipes and preparing English lessons which I have just started last week ( also stressful ). I like to think back to my job in Scotland working in a call centre dealing with screaming, angry customers all day. It makes this stress seem like happy stress haha, there’s so much going on and a lot to look forward to here.
I like to eat a healthy salad for lunch and a tuna salad is one of my favourites. I suppose eating healthy through the day lets me justify my ice cream at night as I watch gossip girl religiously every night at 7:20pm. Yes, I have fallen into the world of cheesy, predictable American series but after trying to learn another language all day, it’s heaven. It started because it was the only English speaking programme on but now I basically have to plan my dinner around it. Ha!
Anyway I use mediterranean flavours in this salad, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives etc they work so well together and are packed full of flavour. Also since it’s just me at home in the afternoon I can buy these in jars and they will last the week, just adapting them into different salads or sandwiches. There’s not much too it, just assembling everything together. I like lunch time.

Serves 1

Rocket salad, a couple handfuls
5 sun dried tomatoes in sunflower oil, cut in half
2 fresh plum tomatoes, quartered
5/6 artichoke hearts in sunflower oil, cut in half
2 tbsp green olives, cut in half
1 small tin tuna in olive oil, drained
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon
Tsp Dijon mustard
Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season

So first things first, grab a couple handfuls of your rocket salad and place in a bowl or on your plate. Add the chopped tomatoes ( both kinds ) artichokes and olives. Add the drained tuna and onion into a separate bowl and add the mayonnaise along with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together. Taste and set aside. Mix together in another bowl a tsp of mustard, lemon juice ( make sure this is mixed together slightly before adding the oil ) and tbsp olive oil with a little salt and pepper and pour over the rocket salad, toss together making sure everything is covered. Add the tuna and toss again. It’s done! I also sometimes add some shavings of parmesan or a soft-hard boiled egg which is also lovely.

Spiced chicken salad

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Since moving to Italy we have realised how loyal the Italians are to their food. No one can understand why you would eat anything else so finding certain spices or any food that is not Italian is almost impossible. The internet is an amazing thing but we have found the cost of delivering different foods to Italy can be ridiculous and not something we do often.
Early this summer my mum came to visit us from Scotland and brought us four spices, cumin seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds and cayenne pepper. Four great ingredients for spicing things up when we feel like it. In Scotland we eat all different types of food from all different nationalities, cultures and countries although most of our cooking back in Scotland was Italian. Since moving here, there is so much to choose from and you can’t go wrong with the quality of ingredients available either but I have to say I do sometimes crave a Spanish chorizo sausage or a spicy curry from time to time.
In this recipe we basically used things we had in our fridge and cupboards already. So that’s why I’ve used a handful of green olives, sun dried tomatoes and artichokes. For this recipe you can add as much and as less of what you like and what you have. I feel all the ingredients in this salad work so well together and with the spicy chicken it’s just delicious.

Serves 2/3

For the marinade:
2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 dried chilli pods
1 garlic clove, grated
A little olive oil
Pinch of salt

For the salad:
80g Rocket salad
5 large plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
Large handful green olives, cut in half
5 or 6 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
5 sliced artichoke hearts, chopped
80g Feta cheese, cut into cubes
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Firstly put all the spices into a pestle and mortar and grind them up. Rub them all over the chicken along with the grated garlic, salt and a tbsp of olive oil, set aside. Now for the salad, place the rocket on a large plate. Add the tomatoes, olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, feta and toss. Now heat a pan under a medium heat and fry the chicken until cooked through. Set aside on a plate to cool for a minute then cut into slices. Add a squeeze of lemon to the salad and a little salt and pepper. I did not need any more oil in this salad as the sun dried tomatoes and artichokes are oily from the jars they were in but add a little if you feel you need it. Now place the chicken on top of the salad, toss and serve. Enjoy.

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