“Avocado Mash on Griddled Sourdough” from “Sirocco”

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Kirstin: So this is the third time I’ve made us avocado mash from one of our cookbooks of the month.

Tom: This is great!

Kirstin: I love the spring onions, chilli and griddled bread with this. All supremely good additions. Also I finally found the tahini after a trawl of our local shops.

Tom: I was worried the tahini would be too much and overpower it all.

Kirstin: But it’s good with the lemon zest, isn’t it? You know when you make food and you get all the ingredients together and you just know they’re going to make you smile when you make the final meal. That’s what happened with this recipe.

Tom: I can see why!

“Avocado Mash on Griddled Sourdough” from “Sirocco”

“Avocado Toast with Quick-Pickled Breakfast Radishes”

Kirstin: I’m a recent convert to the wonders of avocado toast and I have to admit I’ve been trying all sorts of variations on a theme, so I was particularly up for trying this. And even more so after watching Nigella make it as part of her new series! I also have to admit that I cheated; I didn’t make the breakfast radishes as she suggested. In fact, I couldn’t even find any breakfast radishes, so I just sliced some normal radishes onto the top. Yes, this was super quick. And very delicious and Asian with the coriander and lime. But I still prefer my own version. So Nigella, if you’re reading this, you might want to give my version a go… lime juice, salt, sriracha sauce, preserved lemon and a fried egg on the top.

“Avocado Toast with Quick-Pickled Breakfast Radishes”

“Papaya, Halloumi and Watercress Salad” from “The Art of Eating Well”

 

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Anna: This salad is amazing. I think it is my dream salad. I cannot recommend it enough. I mean, anything with halloumi (or feta, or any other salty cheese) gets my attention. And I have to admit that I scaled up the amount of halloumi just a little bit. But I had been for a run this morning…. Combining it with papaya though, that was a revelation. Sweet and salty. Peppery watercress. Red onions, pine nuts…. It was so simple and quick to make but tasted really indulgent and totally delicious. I’m having it for lunch again tomorrow. And I think maybe the next day too!

“Papaya, Halloumi and Watercress Salad” from “The Art of Eating Well”

“Blackened Chicken San Fran Quinoa Salad” from “Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals”

Peter: My, what a lot of washing up. And we seem to have produced something Mr Burns would be proud of in this bowl.

Anna: What, no serving platter presentation?

Peter: No. We ran out of worktop space shortly after the feta cheese.  Does this dish really require cress?

Anna: I think you’re suggesting there’s too many ingredients. And I do agree that the cress is barely noticable. How long did it take you to cook?

Peter: 27 minutes. After everything had been assembled into a single place. So plus 5.

Anna: And did you find it an easy and accessible recipe, given you aren’t the most frequent cook?

Peter: I think Jamie is setting himself up for a fall describing these recipes as 15 minutes. If they were 30 minutes you’d be pleasantly surprised. But 15 minutes seems unachievable unless you want to eat pink chicken and a whole avocado.

Anna: And be happy to live with a kitchen that’s turned into a bombsite. I think the salad itself tastes ok, but it’s a bit like our superfood salad we make which is easier and quicker.

Peter: It was ok, I like all the component parts but I don’t think it works as a whole. I’m not bothered about having it again.

“Blackened Chicken San Fran Quinoa Salad” from “Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals”

“Pan-Fried Tortilla Sandwich” from “Food”

Anna: I made this for my lunch the other day, as a treat. It was very very good, though perhaps a little indulgent. Indulgent was what I was looking for… it was one of those days. So this did the trick.

A quesadilla by any other name, the combination of avocado, spring onion, chilli and lots and lots of cheese was gorgeous. And usually I shy away from anything that involves warm avocado, but this worked. I kid myself that the avocado made it a little healthy but that is probably a bit of a stretch. What I would say is that it totally filled me up and I had that nice warm feeling you get when you’re eating something cheesey and yummy. I will definitely be having this again, when I can find a good enough excuse……

 

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“Lentil Salad Three Ways” from “Virgin to Veteran”

Anna: Mr Stern offers 3 options for this recipe. I chose the one with smoked salmon and bacon as it sounded delicious.

Peter: Cold lentils could taste a lot worse than this.

Anna: Lentils are served cold all the time!

Peter: I haven’t had them before. But these are good.

Anna: Puy lentils. You’ve got to love them.

Peter: I wouldn’t have thought about having bacon and smoked salmon together.

Anna: Did it make it too salty for you?

Peter: No, I like it salty. I could have eaten a bit more… being a salad it’s virtually calorie free surely?

Anna: Well I did up the quantities of salmon and bacon slightly otherwise you may have thought we were just having a starter for dinner.  Unfortunately both bacon and smoked salmon aren’t well-known for their low-calorie properties. But it is a carb-free salad.  And pretty filling I have to say.  I think you would like the version with chipolatas.

Peter: Clearly this is a flexible salad. I like the sound of chipolatas.

Anna: So you would like me to do this again?

Peter: I wouldn’t say no.

“Lentil Salad Three Ways” from “Virgin to Veteran”

“Crisp-skinned salmon salad with green goddess dressing” from “Bill’s Basics”

Kirstin: This was amazing!

Anna: Very La La Land darling.  Wasn’t the Green Goddess on Good Morning Britain or whatever it was called?  

Kirstin: Get fit Lizzy.

Anna: Happy days.

Kirstin: The dressing was the perfect foil.  And I don’t normally like grapefruit in a salad but this worked really well.  In fact I might just have to have another bit of salmon.  Peter won’t mind, will he?  I am slightly disturbed that the dressing in the picture is a lot lighter than ours.  Ours looks a bit like mushy peas.

Anna: No.  Minted peas.  Your theory is that it’s because it would have looked like puke in the photograph, no?

Kirstin: Actually, more like bile.  It’s my medical training. Thankfully it didn’t taste like bile though.

Anna: I’m glad we’ve finished eating.  Your medical training didn’t help much with that grapefruit dissection though did it?

Kirstin: That wasn’t my fault.  They were mutant grapefruit. We cooked the fish for longer than Bill suggested.  I like my salmon rare, but not that rare.

Anna: Would this be the time to mention that you don’t actually like salmon skin either? Nor does Peter, so you’re not alone.  I love this.  I really do.  It’s healthy and vibrant and filling at the same time.  It would be the perfect summer salad for ladies wot lunch.

Kirstin: Today was just like summer, so it was the perfect dinner.  Let’s make this again next summer.

Anna: Perhaps in Uzes.  Avec le salmon et une pamplemousse.  It would be the perfect hot summer night dinner.

Kirstin:  Wouldn’t it just?  Seriously though.  Wouldn’t it?  Lucky Peter with all these leftovers.  See how I’ve wrapped it, so I can’t pick at the leftovers.  Otherwise he would have none. And Oscar can’t have any either. He’s already had quite enough! Look at those eyes of his; big as saucers…guess that’s what Bill’s salmon does for us and cats, eh?

“Crisp-skinned salmon salad with green goddess dressing” from “Bill’s Basics”