Mediterranean Salad

 

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I guess you could say this is a combination of a salade Nicoise and a Greek salad – featuring the punchy flavours of olives, roasted peppers and basil mixed with the fresh vibrancy of ripe cherry tomatoes and fine green beans. Ideal at any time of year, I think this salad particularly sings in early autumn when tomatoes are at their very best and the beans are still vibrant and delicate.

Mediterranean Salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course

  • 2 peppers
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes (a big handful!)
  • 1 handful French green beans, stalk end chopped off
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • Small bunch of basil leaves

Mustard Dressing

  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

– Skin the peppers, either by blistering the skin over a flame/under the grill. Or peel with a vegetable peeler, roughly slice
– Place in a baking tin, sprinkle with the oil and herbs, (plus some salt and pepper) and roast for 10-20 minutes in a hot oven until sweet and slippery. Cool.
– Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside
– Mix together all the salad ingredients with the dressing
– Serve on a pretty platter with some rustic bread

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Provençal potato gratin

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Having recently returned from a lovely holiday in the South of France, I’m brimming with summery French ideas – be prepared for a little trip to sunny Mediterranean climes in the next few weeks!

Here’s a lovely summery take on that winter classic, the potato gratin – by omitting the cream and including fresher, lighter flavours you can enjoy the comfort of a potato bake all year round, and one that can cater for all dietary requirements too as it’s lost the dairy content. For me the thyme, olives and tomatoes really are the flavours of Provence. Will make this one more often.

Provencal Potato Gratin (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Serves 4

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4-8 tomatoes sliced
  • Handful of olives (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and fairly finely sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

– Sweat the onions, thyme and pinch of salt in the 1 tbsp olive oil until soft and slippery, but not coloured
– Spread over the bottom of an attractive baking dish (this gratin is best served at the table for maximum impact.
– Layer over the tomatoes, olives and garlic
– Top with a neat layer of potato slices, arranged like tiles on the roof of a house
– Season and garnish with the rosemary sprig
– Drizzle over the olive oil
– Bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4 until the top is golden and a knife easily slips through the potato.
– Serve with a fresh green salad and lots of crusty bread to soak up the juices.

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