Greek feta salad

This is my version of a greek salad, it is quick to make and one of my favourites. I don’t usually refer to a recipe, so it is probably not that authentic. It has a lot in common with the Persian summer salad. 

INGREDIENTS

  • Half a cucumber
  • About the same weight of cherry tomatoes
  • About four or five spring onions
  • A small little gem lettuce
  • 50g feta cheese
  • Kalamata olives
  • Oregano or chive flowers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  • Line a large salad bowl with lettuce leaves
  • Dice the cucumber, chop the onions, cut up the tomatoes and add them to the bowl, in layers with the tomatoes on the top. 
  • Add the olives and crumbled cheese, and garnish with herbs. 
  • Just before serving, season and add a drizzle of olive oil. 

 

Carrot and cumin salad

This is a classic going way way back to university. It is great with middle eastern meals. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan for a minute or two, and then lightly crush
  • Mix the carrots and cumin seed, season with salt and pepper
  • Just before serving, mix in the lemon juice and olive oil

Persian summer salad

I’ve been eating a lot of salad this summer, this is a good one to serve with some of the other dishes that I’ve posted this year. It is from Nightingales and Roses by Maryann Sinaiee. I have adapted it a bit, because we don’t get a lot of pomegranates on South Uist, but you can add these for an extra burst of colour and flavour. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Half a long cucumber
  • About the same weight in cherry tomatoes
  • About the same weight in spring onions
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh mint
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Peel the cucumber and dice
  • Cut the tomatoes into 8 (half, half and half again)
  • Chop the spring onions into small circles
  • Chop the mint finely
  • Mix the chopped ingredients. 
  • Just before serving, mix in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. 

A quick potato, dill and bean salad

Cooking quickly to avoid being inside when the weather is good. I combined a 400g bag of new potatoes, boiled in their skins and chopped, with a bag of beans from East camp, cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water. I added some chopped dill, spring onions and mayonnaise. 

Salmon is what you need to serve with this. 

Yoghurt and Cucumber Salad

Some of you will know that I spent some time living in Teheran when I was a child. Zara used to work for our family as a housekeeper, and she used to cook wonderful Persian home-cooking for us. Our favourite was a dish called Loubia Pollow, made with rice, beans, tomatoes and lamb. We also used to eat the most delicious barbari bread and thick plain yoghurt sold in blue earthenware bowls. 

I have sought to recreate the flavours of the food we ate there, and have never managed to get it quite right. Persian food is very complex and sophisticated, from ancient civilisations, combining the herbs and spices of east and west. 

There are a few sites online where you can look up Persian recipes, but the flavours and end-results are unfamiliar to most. I have one recipe book, A Taste of Persia which is aimed at the US market, and has all the ingredients in cups. I’ve been working my way through the recipes and re-jigging them to suit local ingredients and UK directions. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 500g tub of full-fat plain Greek Yoghurt
  • A bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill or fennel leaf, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Garnish of fresh mint, rose petals, dill leaf, chive flowers, chopped walnuts, chopped radishes etcetera

METHOD:

  • Combine all the ingredients, mix well and adjust the seasoning. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, and up to four hours before serving. Take out of the fridge ten minutes before serving and garnish.