Chargrilled Baby Aubergines with Feta, Aduki Beans, Rocket & Pickled Chillies
Summer isn’t over yet and with plenty of days left to spend eating Al Fresco in the garden, this is another perfect accompaniment for all that delicious grilled meat and fish or even a meal in itself brimming with goodness and bursting with a variety of mouth-watering flavours. I found pickled piri-piri chillies whilst browsing the aisles at Tesco and had to use them for something and they are perfect in this salad and as they are pickled, they aren’t remotely as fiery as usual, so be generous with them. Serves 4
2 packs of baby aubergines
200g of feta cheese
1 bag of rocket leaves
1 tin of Aduki beans, drained and rinsed til water runs clear
6-8 chillies in brine (Tesco stock piri-piri chillies in brine and Sainsburys do green chillies)
1 medium white (or red) onion thinly sliced into half moons
6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Preheat a griddle pan (or regular frying pan if you prefer) on a high heat (or medium high on gas), slice your baby aubergines lengthways in half an rub the flesh side well with cooking oil and give the skin side a good coating of oil too. Then cook the aubergines flesh side down for about 8 minutes before turning over, adding a little oil to the pan and cooking again for a further 5 minutes. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
Finely chop your chillies and tossed them into a large bowl along with Aduki beans, aubergines, rocket leaves and onions. Then pour over your olive oil and vinegar and lastly crumble your feta cheese in to the bowl and using your hands (because there is no better way) toss the ingredients together until they all get an even coating of the dressing and are well mixed. Then enjoy with some grilled chicken, lamb or just by itself.
Warm Salad of Grilled Peach, Pancetta & Halloumi
The sun is shining and salads are a great way to have a hearty meal that is still light and healthy. Salad is a word many people fear, but limp lettuce and soggy tomatoes needn’t be your only option. You can combine cheese, meat and fish with both vegetables and fruit and come up with something splendid to suit your own tastes. When you are cooking for yourself, there really is no right or wrong, just do what feels right for you.
Fruit is sweet and plentiful during the summer months and being the kind of ying and yang person that I am, wherever there is sweet, I tend to crave salt to go with it. This week’s recipe is a perfect example of bringing salt and sweet together through a simple fusion of fruit, cheese and smoked pancetta. Serves 2
2 large ripe peaches, washed and stoned then halved and cut into 6 equal segments
8 thin slices of pancetta (or smoked streaky bacon if you prefer)
1 block of halloumi cheese, sliced lengthways into 6 slices
1 bag of your favourite salad leaves
Top quality balsamic vinegar (vintage is best, but whatever you are happy with is fine)
If you have a griddle pan, then great but if not, use 2 heavy bottomed frying pans instead. Preheat the first pan over a high heat (electric) or medium-high heat (gas) preheat and rub your peach slices with a little olive oil and sear each side for about 5 minutes at a time, then set the slices aside. In the other pan on the highest heat possible, lay your pancetta slices down and fry them until crisp and brown on both sides (this happens pretty quickly, so be warned!) Then in the pan you used to sear your peaches, add a little olive oil and brown your halloumi slices for about 6-8 minutes each side until they are nicely browned, but not burnt.
Remove all ingredients from pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, place your washed salad leaves and drizzle a little olive oil onto them along with a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar and using your hands give it a quick and gentle mix. Serve a generous portion of leaves on each plate and take 2 slices of pancetta and crumble onto the leaves, add your peaches, halloumi and then top with the remaining slices of crispy pancetta. Drizzle a little extra olive balsamic vinegar on top if desired! A simple summer supper that can’t be beat! If you don’t like halloumi, you can also just tear some buffalo mozzarella into the salad instead and avoid having to cook any cheese at all. It goes just as well!