Gorgeous Greek bean salad

Gorgeous Greek bean salad

This is my take on a Greek salad. Light and fresh and full of healthy fats. It’s tasty and really cheap to make and works great as a side dish for bbqs or picnics. It also keeps well in the fridge so is perfect for meal prepping your week’s lunches! The fats and protein will keep you full for ages and it usually keeps me satisfied during a long afternoon at work and a train ride home.

Ingredients

  • 400g tin mixed beans or chickpeas
  • 400g reduced sugar baked beans, with the juice
  • 1 cucumber, cut into small chunks with the seeds removed
  • 1 cup of Black/kalamata olives
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 50g Feta cheese, crumbled, optional
  • Black pepper, to taste

Method

Mix all of the ingredients together, including the juice from the baked beans as this will help make the dressing.

Serve chilled, it goes great with houmous and couscous for a quick and easy lunch!

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Places to eat: Blue Sky, Bangor North Wales

Photo Credit: Blue Sky Bangor
Photo Credit: Blue Sky Bangor

A little gem, hidden just off from Bangor high street in rural North Wales, Blue Sky is one of my favourite places to be. Always bursting at the seams with hopeful customers, it’s best to get there early to grab a table. I will always have a soft spot for this place. It’s where my husband and I used to go when we were teenagers and when we first started dating. He had a part time job there and I would catch the bus into town after school to go and meet him and share a bowl of their delicious, chunky chips.

We both love this place so much that we decided to have our wedding evening party here. It was the perfect place, with it’s huge wooden beams, wood burning stove and friendly, lively atmosphere. It suited our relaxed style and want for a really fun wedding entirely. We ordered generous platters of their delicious marinated chicken, tasty falafels and mountains of chips with plenty of side salads and houmous to fill up our hungry guests. The bar served local ales and ciders, we plugged a huge speaker into my laptop and danced the night away.

Now, whenever I return to visit family in North Wales, Blue Sky is on the top of my list of places to visit. Walking up their wooden staircase I always feel a bit nostalgic, remembering taking those same steps , dressed in my wedding dress with my handsome husband and walking into a room filled with our beautiful friends.

Although everything on the menu is locally sourced and delicious (they’ve featured in the Good Food Guide for the past six years), I do have a couple of firm favourites. Their chicken in a basket, the same chicken that we had on our special day, is just the best. It comes stuffed into a wholegrain pitta bread, which is already bursting with fresh salad, and is joined by their famous chunky chips. And that’s right, it is served in a basket. I don’t know what goes into their chicken marinade but I NEED that recipe! On occasion, when I’ve been watching the waistline, I’ve been able to replace the chips with extra salad. The staff at Blue Sky really are very accommodating and are happy to help with any dietary requirements or to help with a need for flavour with less calories!

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The second star of the show for me is their Cobb salad. Layers of organic perl las blue cheese, free range chicken, crispy bacon and hard boiled eggs with the brightest yolks I’ve ever seen, all on top of a fresh salad. A marriage made in heaven.

I may sound a bit obsessed but Blue Sky really is that good. A cosy, friendly atmosphere, great quality food and happy staff. You really must try it out.

Kachumber Indian Spiced Salad

I’ve always loved this simple salad when it’s been served to me with poppadoms in an Indian restaurant, so when I was planning to throw my own curry night I decided to try and make my own. It’s a beautifully fresh and crunchy salad that goes perfectly with almost any Indian dish. Recently, I’ve become rather interested in the art of curry making and how to combine the different spices to create the waves of flavours that come with any well made curry. My dad has always made fantastic indian dishes and steers clear of the shop bought curry pastes so I thought it was time that I did too! This salad is a great starting point to introducing yourself to Indian recipes and is also a great way of getting a good kick of nutritional veggies!

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Ingredients

1 medium sized white onion, diced
Half a large cucumber, diced
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced with the seeds removed
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp roasted cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt

Method

After chopping all of the vegetables up, throw them into a bowl together and mix well. Then add in the cumin, coriander, lemon juice and salt and mix well until the vegetables are nicely coated. Taste to check the seasoning and if you like add some more lemon juice or salt!

Serve with poppadoms and mango chutney or as a side to your favourite curry!

Soy, ginger and red chilli salmon, with buttered new potatoes and leafy salad

One of the things I love the most about winter is the food. Rich, comforting stews brimming with tender chunks of meat, steaming cups of cocoa and spicy, festive gingerbread. Yet, occasionally it’s a good idea to go for something a little fresher and a tad lighter to stop us turning into dumplings! Last night was one of those times, so we decided to go for some pan fried salmon with some fresh, crunchy veg to remind us of warmer times.

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Ingredients

Serves two

2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 x 150g salmon fillets
5 tbsp runny honey
7g root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Enough new potatoes for two (I tend to do 3 small potatoes each but I’m sure Steve could eat more!)
Leafy salad with any extras you choose (I like to go for olives)
Dressing for the salad: 3 tbsp Olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp honey

A few shavings of butter

Method

Place the potatoes in a pan of lightly salted boiling water, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

For the salmon, melt a bit of butter in a griddle pan, then add the salmon, skin side down first. Once crispy, turn it over to cook the other side. This should take around 15 minutes in total.

Whilst the potatoes and salmon are cooking, mix together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and chilli and heat gently in a saucepan so that the flavours can combine. I tend to serve this sauce on the side but you could decide to brush the salmon with it.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and toss them in a little butter. Pile the potatoes onto plates and serve immediately alongside the fish.  Serve with a big bowl of dressed salad. Fresh, simple and healthy! Perfect for those nostalgic for the summer months!