What an amazing few weeks were having here in the UK. The sun is beaming down with such intensity I cannot go inside for fear of missing out, but even then cant go from under the shade due to me burning like a rose petal in a furnace with the slightest lick of a UV ray!. It even smells summery in the garden most days with the humidity and the flowers, the only draw back being the mammoth sized bee’s flying around the flower beds, but I can deal with that.
I have a few things I have done this week to post all together in what I am calling the Gecko summer collection. Both super easy, One is for my friends at ‘forever’ and the other one is just purely indulgent on my part. Lovely, full flavoured beauties that can compliment your barbecue or give you something to pick at after you have finished watching the rugby highlights, Wimbledon or the German F1.
First up, for the ‘Forever together’ detoxers and healthy people among us:
My ‘Sunshine salad’ Approx 400 calories per serving give or take
3 eggs, boiled.
3 Basil leaves
Big handful of mixed leaves of your choice.
3 spring onions
1 Medium sized red chili
4-5 sundried tomatoes
6 thin slices of cucumber
Vinaigrette of your choice. (I used a raspberry one that I picked up at the food festival last week)
1) Put your handful of leaves in a large bowl, tear up any big ones roughly. keep it comfortably bit sized throughout!
2) chop the chili, basil, spring onion, cucumber and sundried tomatoes and add to the bowl.
3) Lightly drizzle with your vinaigrette and gently toss .
4) Place the salad onto a plate and slice to eggs in nice thin sections.
5) Scatter the egg around the salad and top with a slight, waist friendly hint of cheese to add an alternative texture to the dish.
…Now I don’t care where in the world you are, you shouldn’t resist at least trying this!. Its super easy but very satisfying when the modd doesnt allow you the motivation to make something too taxing. Salads are a quintessential part of summer eating and this is a fresh, tasty way to spend lunch in your garden.
Number two, Another fairly healthy one but this one will make your mouth feel as hot as it is outside.
My ‘Oriental noodles with grilled salmon and firecracker sauce’.
To serve 2 you’ll need:
4 small Pak choi
handful of button mushrooms
4 baby corns
1x dried noodles. (usually flat packed in packs of four)
mixed peppers, sliced length ways.
4 spring onions
2 decently sized pieces of salmon fillet
Pinch sea salt
for the Firecracker sauce:
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons red cooking wine
1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 long chili’s (I used 1 green and one red)
1 tablespoon of honey.
This is a beautifully aromatic sauce that smells amazing and provides intense taste while providing a real punch. If you aren’t a fan of the spice just leave the fresh chili’s out and add a touch of mild powder or none at all even.
Method for the sauce:
1) Add the stock and wine and bring to a gentle simmer. Chop the chili’s finely.
2) Once at a simmer add the honey, garlic, ginger and chili’s (including the seeds!)
3) Now leave on a medium heat for around 15 minutes until it reduces a little, then take it completely off the heat.
Method for the noodles:
Preheat your grill at a medium to high heat. (mines goes from 1-4 I put it on 3)
1) Add the salt to some water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Then add the noodles and leave for approximately 5 minutes on a high heat.
2) Pat dry then add a little salt and pepper to one side of each salmon fillet and place under the grill. grill for around 4-5 minutes each side. the flesh should release a milky, mayonnaise sort of looking fat into the grill pan and will flake really easily once cooked. (Keep an eye on it and don’t over cook it as it really is key to the dish to have that lovely salmon on top!)
3) Chop the corn into thirds, the mushrooms into halves and the Pak choi into quarts.
4) When the noodles start to loosen and separate in the pan, add the corn and leave for 3 minutes to simmer on a medium to high heat.
5) Add the Pak choi, mushrooms, spring onions and the peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes. I prefer my veg a little crunchy so cook for a little while longer if you need to.
Serve a decent grasp of the veggie noodles onto a plate, top with the grilled salmon and serve the sauce on the side to top as much as your brave enough too!
Now my advice is to get in the kitchen real quick while somebody else grabs the garden furniture, run outside with this pair of fabulous summer platters, and smash it with a nice cold glass of ginger beer or elderflower cordial before it starts to rain again!