Minty Cucumber and Tomato Salad

It’s SO hot! I have loads of baking recipes I want to try out, but I think putting on the oven today might actually kill us.

We’ve been having lots of salads in this hot weather and this one is cool cucumber with sweet cherry tomatoes, peppers and cooling mint. I really like to make my chilli and cucumber salad too, but this with the mint is super cooling on yet another hot day.

Minty tomato salad1

When I add cucumber to a salad, I always scoop out the wet seeds. I never peel them either; I think the nice green skin is the best bit.

This is a very colourful salad with red and yellow peppers and sweet cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to be nice and sweet all year round, so this is a good recipe for anytime. Feel free to add in some thinly sliced red onion too, that would work well here – IF you like eating raw onion that is!

This super simple recipe can be made more substantial by adding cubes of cheese, such as feta, or served as a side salad, alongside some grilled fish or chicken. It’s quite portable too, so a very good salad to take on a picnic.

I don’t like to add too much dressing to this, but extra can be served on the side.

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 pack of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper

Dressing:
2tbs olive oil
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
Tiny pinch of salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
Extra mint
Cubes of eta cheese (optional)

Method:
Halve the cucumber lengthways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, then slice and add to a large bowl.

Chop the cherry tomatoes into halves, or quarters and add them to the cucumber slices.

Cut the ‘cheeks’ off the peppers, leaving the core and seeds behind and slice and dice, before adding to the bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Minty tomato salad

Pour over enough dressing to moisten the vegetables and scatter over a little more mint if desired. This is really good with the addition of feta cheese to make a really colourful and cooling summer salad.

Smoked Salmon, Jersey Royals and Asparagus Salad

This salad says summer on a plate. A really simple to make salad, but delicious and substantial. Wild smoked salmon, with Jersey Royal new potatoes and asparagus, served with a honey, mustard and dill dressing.

Salmon potato salad2

The quantities here can be adjusted for as many people that you are serving. I normally serve around 200g of smoked salmon and 150g of potatoes per person.

Ingredients:
Wild Sockeye smoked salmon
Jersey Royal baby potatoes
Fresh asparagus, trimmed

Dressing:
1tbsp Dijon mustard
2tsp runny honey
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one small lemon
Small bunch of dill, stems removed and roughly chopped – leave a little for the top of the salad
Salt and pepper
Extra lemon slices to serve

Method:
Start by boiling the potatoes in salted water until they are tender. At the same time put the asparagus into boiling water for just one minute and then plunge into iced water to set the brilliant green colour.

Drain the potatoes and slice any larger ones, but leave the tiny ones whole.

To prepare the dressing, add the mustard, honey, a pinch of salt and pepper to a small bowl and using a fork – whisk in the lemon juice, followed by the oil. The mustard and oil will emulsify and thicken slightly. Stir in the dill.

While the potatoes are still warm, toss in the dressing, so they take on the flavour. You can either leave to cool at this point, or serve warm.

Salmon potato salad

Layer the salmon on a plate and pile the dressed potatoes over the top, with the asparagus and a little more dill, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

This is a perfect summer salad combination and quantities can be increased as necessary to feed a crowd.  Best served on a summer’s afternoon with a chilled white wine.

Salmon close up

Chilli and Cucumber Salad

This is based on a salad I had at the School of Artisan Food in Welbeck, Nottingham. It was a summer side dish that I thought was so fresh and refreshing and made from the simplest of ingredients. I knew I had to make it at home.

Chilli cucumber salad

I couldn’t get the taste quite the same, so the next time I went I asked what was in the dressing. They didn’t give me the exact recipe, but they did tell me it contained white balsamic vinegar, something I hadn’t tried before. I went home and tried various dressings until I came up with the one below.

I’ve used fresh and zingy mint and coriander here, but it works just as well with dill.

For extra crisp cucumbers, I have tried salting and using ice water but I normally just make this and eat straightaway.

I have all the ingredients chilled ready in the fridge as it tastes best eaten cold on a hot day.

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber
1-2 red chillies – depending on heat
10 mint leaves, rolled and very finely shredded, plus a little extra for the top
Small bunch of coriander/cilantro, leaving some aside

Dressing:
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Chilli cucumber salad1

Method:
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

Slice the cucumber lengthways and using a spoon, remove the seeds slice into semicircles.

Slice the chillies lengthways and carefully remove the seeds and white membrane and very finely chop.

Toss everything in a bowl and add enough dressing to moisten. Place in your serving bowl or platter and scatter over additional herbs.

This is a lovely salad to serve with grilled fish, chicken tikka or lamb kebabs and flatbreads.

Cucumber salad close up 2