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So, on the hottest day ever, or something like that, here’s a truly simple salad to help you through the heat!  I always like to keep a melon in the fridge in hot weather, as a slice is like an ice pop and perfect for a cooling afternoon snack!  Chilled melon is perfect for this salad, which is delicious as a side salad, a starter or just with fresh crunchy bread if you want something light.

watercressmelonsaladWatercress and Melon Salad with Caraway Seeds

1 handful of watercress, washed
1 handful of lambs lettuce, washed
1 quarter galia melon, chilled
1 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp caraway seeds

Peel the melon and cut into small chunks.  Add the watercress, lambs lettuce and melon to a bowl.  Add the lemon juice and toss the salad.  Sprinkle the caraway seeds over the salad and serve cool.

I’m always looking for simple and tasty salads in January, to chase away the post-Christmas sluggishness and help beat the winter blues.  This dish really fits the bill.  It makes a great side dish or even a lunch with lots of crunchy bread or a jacket potato.

FennelSaladFennel Salad

1 fennel bulb
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cucumber
1 tblsp Roast walnut or sesame oil
1 tblsp Cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard seeds
salt and black pepper to taste

Prepare the fennel by removing any tough outer layers and the base.  Then slice as finely as possible.  Also finely slice the cucumber (I removed the skin first, but that’s optional).  Add the grated carrot.

Dress the salad by pouring on the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, then sprinkle on the mustard seeds to decorate.

I love broad bean season, as it’s one of my favourite foods to eat fresh.  If I get large enough pods, I like to take the inner skins off, leaving a lovely bright green bean, which looks so good in lots of dishes.

To take off the inner skin, just put the beans in boiling water for no more than five minutes, cool, then pinch the grey outer skin off the bean.  They require no more cooking.

The quantities are vague here, so feel free to use as much of anything as you have!

This simple salad recipe makes a great lunch by itself, a delicious filling for jacket potatoes or pitta bread, or as a side dish to a more substantial meal.  It’s highly nutritious too, full of protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc

Quinoa Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
large handful of broad beans, podded and skinned as above
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp dried herb, such as oregano
1 tblsp olive oil

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for 5 – 10 minutes.  Drain off any excess liquid.  While still warm, mix in the herbs and olive oil.  When cool stir in the beans and tomatoes.

If you want to serve this as a hot dish, briefly put the beans and tomatoes into the quinoa at the end of cooking, then stir in the oil and herbs as before.

As we pretend it’s summer here in rain-drenched Britain, I’ve been trying to remember to eat more seasonal salads.  Many days it feels like something more warming is required, but actually a salad for lunch still tastes good and leaves you feeling refreshed for the afternoon.  This lovely, colourful salad combines the fresh and juicy watermelon with a gorgeously salty feta cheese.  It is, of course wonderful eaten outside on a hot sunny day, but also brightens the dullest lunch hour on the those not so great days!

Watermelon and Feta Salad

A couple of handfuls of green salad leaves, eg lettuce, watercress, baby spinach, rocket
1/2 small watermelon
1 ripe avocado
4 oz / 110g feta cheese
3/4 tbslp vinagrette dressing
A handful of toasted walnuts or pine nuts to finish

Prepare the salad leaves and place in a bowl.  Cut the watermelon and feta into smallish cubes and mix in.  Cut the avocado into cubes a short time before serving and toss the salad in the dressing.  Just before serving, sprinkle the salad with the roast nuts.

Serve the salad with some fresh crusty bread or corn tortilla chips.

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