warm tomato & feta salad

Although we are currently in our winter season, which normally calls for all things slow cooked and piping hot, i still have a big love for a good salad as a healthy dinner option or as a side to a good piece of protein.
This salad, served warm, is a very delicious alternative to normal salads and pairs well with red meat, chicken or fish.
A great addition to this dish is toasted butter & garlic ciabatta or sour dough slices, making it a delicious, light meal on its own.

Easy, simple, fresh, delicious.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2T olive oil
300g-400g vine tomatoes or rosa tomatoes
4 rounds feta cheese, halved
150g green beans
handful fresh basil leaves
1t dried basil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3T balsamic vinegar
2 red onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes and red onion into a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
Nestle the feta rounds in and amongst the tomatoes & onions. Add the thyme leaves, dried basil, garlic, balsamic, salt & pepper and gently coat everything using your hands.
Place the tray into the preheated oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans.
Prepare an icy bath with water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Immerse the beans into the water and cook for about three minutes. Remove the beans from the simmering water and into the ice bath to cool.
Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.
Add the beans to the tray and continue to roast the salad for a further five minutes or until the tomatoes have popped.

Garnish the salad with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

creamy paprika & tomato chicken thighs

For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking .
Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully.
I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans.
If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
3T olive oil
1T butter
deboned, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
2t paprika
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
dried mixed herbs
dried oregano
2 medium carrots, grated
200ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 can chopped tomato
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2t salt
black pepper

Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.

Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Panzanella salad

Panzanella is of Tuscan heritage and made up of soaked stale bread, tomatoes and onions. I love tomatoes so this salad is exactly to my taste! This is my version of a Panzanella salad! The idea, however, stays the same.
It is the perfect summer salad and side to any dish! And I love that you can make your own croutons, using the stale bread in the bread bin rather than throwing it away. Add some capers or olives and garnish with pomegranate pearls for extra deliciousness!!

1 Punnet mixed tomatoes, sliced
1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
Croutons (Recipe below)
1/2 Cucumber, sliced or cubed
Fresh basil, leaves only
Fresh mint, leaves only
Salad dressing (Recipe below)

How to do it
Arrange all ingredients except herbs and dressing together on a platter. Garnish with the basil & mint. Serve the dressing separately.

Croutons (Recipe may be halved)
1 Loaf bread (preferably stale bread)
1/3 C Olive oil
2 Tbs Garlic powder
Black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper. Cut bread into cubes or break the bread into pieces. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the garlic powder, salt & pepper. Scatter onto baking tray, place into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, turning halfway.
Remove from the oven, cool and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Salad dressing
1/4 C Balsamic vinegar
1 C Olive oil
1/2 Garlic clove, crushed
1/2 Tsp tomato sauce
1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbs Brown sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
Black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small jar, place the lid on and shake well to mix all ingredients together. Set aside for about 20 minutes before using. Shake well before use.
This dressing will keep well in the fridge.

Colourful green beans & mange tout

A tasty and healthy side dish that pairs really well with just about anything. I love the colour, the garlic and the toasted pumpkin seeds that bring this dish together. Blanching is a cooking method that I use fairly often. It really just locks in the beautiful colour of the fruit / vegetables and so I use this method in this recipe. This can also be served as a cold salad – simply add a few rocket leaves and some slivered almonds. A very healthy and delicious salad indeed!
I also added crumblings of feta cheese about 1 minute before I removed it from the heat and then garnished it with fresh parsley.
A drizzle of lemon butter brings this tasty side to another level. So go on, try it! Really simple. Really delicious. And oh so worth it!!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, sliced
Green beans, topped & tailed
2 Handfuls mange tout
Small red tomatoes
1/4 C Pumpkin seeds
1 Round feta cheese
Handful fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped
Black pepper

How to do it
Bring salted water to a boil in a skillet. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in a bowl of ice & water. Remove and set aside. Heat olive oil & butter in a skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds and toss for a minute. Add the beans, mange tout & tomatoes, season with salt & pepper and toss for 6 minutes. Crumble feta on top, toss for one more minute. Remove from the heat and garnish with the parsley.