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.

Prawn and Avocado Summer Rolls

Its been a long, hot summer so far with no signs of it ending anytime soon. For a summertime meal that is light, flavourful but substantial too, summer rolls are a good choice.

Summer roll ingredients

You do need to buy a specialist ingredient to make these, but the rice wrappers are quite readily available in the supermarket, along with the rice noodles and on Amazon too.

Once you have your ingredients ready, they are quick and easy to make and no deep frying required like with spring rolls.

My family really enjoyed them and you can leave out the fresh herbs, if you want to serve them plain. The juicy prawns and fresh, crunchy vegetables are a nice alternative to a salad and just the thing for yet another hot day.

Is anyone else ready for Autumn, or just me!?

Ingredients:
Vietnamese rice wrappers – available at most supermarkets or Amazon
Approx 100g vermicelli rice noodles
1 pack cold water prawns/shrimp
1 avocado
1 x red and yellow pepper
1 carrot
1 Romaine lettuce
Fresh coriander/cilantro and mint leaves
1 large lemon
Sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method:
This is mostly an assembly job and you need to have everything ready and to hand before you can make the rolls.  My ingredients made 8 rolls, but you can easily scale this up for more people.

Summer roll veggies

Start by preparing the rice noodles as per the packet and leaving to cool.

When they are ready, prep all the veggies by very thinly slicing the peppers and carrots into matchsticks. Thinly slice the avocado and toss in lemon juice so it doesn’t discolour. Tear the lettuce into large pieces.

Toss the prawns in lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.

Summer rolls2

In order to soften the rice wrappers, they need to be submerged into warm water. I used a shallow pan and gently heated the water, but you could just use warm tap water in a large enough dish. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the packet.

When you have everything ready, you need to work quickly.

Submerge the wrapper into the warm water and leave for around 10 seconds, it will quickly soften and become very pliable.

Place onto a board and stuff with a little of everything, taking care not to overstuff.

Summer rolls4

As you can see the ingredients through the wrappers, you can place the herbs on first so they can be seen. Some people get very artistic!

I used coriander for some and mint for the others as my husband loves mint, but isn’t a big fan of coriander (like me!)

Summer rolls

I started with the herbs and lettuce then added the noodles, prawns, avocado, peppers and carrots. Place the sticks of vegetables all pointing the same way in the centre of the wrapper, fold over the sides and roll away from you like you would a burrito.  Roll fairly tightly, but gently, folding in the ends as you get to the end of the roll.  The ingredients will be fully enclosed in their see through parcel.

While assembling the rest, place the summer rolls seamside down onto your serving plate, keeping them separate as they will stick together if they are touching.

Carry on until you have used up all your ingredients, then cut in half diagonally and serve immediately.

Summer rolls zoom

Enjoy with a dipping sauce, either home made or a good one from the supermarket. I have used a sweet chilli one, but hoisin or a peanut sauce is really good too.

These make a really delicious and light summer lunch or supper and are really worth trying.

Veggie Baked Eggs with Cheese

These are very quick to put together and are delicious any time of day, but make a particularly good brunch dish, served with hot buttered toast to dip in the soft egg.

Baked eggs3

Ingredients:
Knob of butter and a little oil
1 finely chopped onion 
2-3 large Portobello mushrooms, chopped
150ml double cream
150g of a good melting cheese – grated (I used a mixture of cheddar and Monteray Jack)
6 spears of Cavolo Nero kale, tough stalks removed and roughly chopped
1 red pepper – chopped with seeds and ribs removed
4 large eggs
Parmesan
Salt and black pepper
Hot buttered toast, to serve

Baked eggs

Method:
Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Place the butter and oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, red pepper, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables for around 10 minutes until softened. Add the kale and stir until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the double cream and cheese, the heat will melt the cheese.

Divide the mixture evenly among 4 ramekins and make an indentation in each one with the back of a teaspoon. Crack an egg into each and top with a little freshly grated parmesan.

Baked eggs4

Bake for around 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. The white of the egg should be just set and the yolk runny.

Serve straightaway with hot buttered toast.

Baked eggs2