Salad days

It’s seems impossible to think of eating sunny-coloured salads on the beach now that the wind, rain and floods have started, but over the summer I discovered a few scrumptious salads that I just couldn’t get enough of.

Carrot and Beetroot

This came about because my neighbours Emmett and Jamie and my writing buddy Brigid had an abundance of beetroot on their allotments. I really looked forward to seeing what basket of delicious home-grown wonders would be waiting for me on my doorstop. To make this salad I grated a raw beetroot and a carrot, mixed them together with a small amount of mayonnaise (enough to combine but not make it sticky) and a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkled a few mixed seeds on the top. It tastes as bright as the zingy colours.

Carrot, Apple, Raisin and Walnut Salad

A slight variation on the above salad and a bit like a Waldorf Salad, but better I think. Grate a carrot, mix with grated or chopped apple (whichever type of apple you like to eat), add a splodge of mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix together. Finish with a sprinkle of raisins and chopped walnuts. I don’t know why this tastes so good when it’s so simple, but it’s really yummy and great to take along to a picnic. Also very good in wraps with chicken, tuna or cheese.

Curried Couscous Salad

My friend P made a huge vat of this for the buffet at her husband’s surprise 40th birthday party and I’d have never thought couscous could be so popular! I’ve always had a problem in the past with couscous being a bit bland or soggy, but this recipe makes it utterly delicious. P’s recipe was originally from Barefoot Contessa but it’s been adapted a little bit. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but it doesn’t take long and it’s really worth it.

1½ cups couscous
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1½ cups boiling water
¼ cup plain yoghurt
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp turmeric
1½ tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup currants or raisins
¼ cup flaked almonds
2 spring onions, thinly sliced (white & green bits)
¼ cup diced red onion
Tin of chick peas (optional)

1. Put couscous in a bowl.
2. Melt butter in the water and pour over couscous. Cover tightly with clingfilm and allow to soak for 5 mins, then fluff with a fork.
3. Whisk together yoghurt, oil, vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, salt & pepper and pour over couscous and mix well with a fork.
4. Add rest of ingredients and serve at room temperature.


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