Summer has almost come and gone, but what a summer it was. Or not. We had rain, rain and more rain, and so picnics and walks were few and far between. But the few places we’ve been to were beautiful, and should I ever move some place else, I must say that the British countryside is the one thing I will miss most. Going for walks is fun, but the headache of food preparation that comes before it is a pain, at least for me. Though for that I have always relied on one lady. You know who she is, so I will say no more. The following recipe is one of J’s favourites which in turn gives me the added excuse of asking him very nicely if he would prepare it before heading out. J likes to tweak it mainly because we never have the full list of ingredients in the fridge and pantry, but in Nigella Express the lovely lady herself gives us permission to change it, depending on what we like and what we have. Here is her Sesame and peanut noodle recipe, brilliant for lazy (or not so lazy) days out. This is how we do it. Serves 2 serious walkers.
Noodle salad ingredients:
- 100g mangetout and/or 100g beansprouts (washed)
- 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 4 noodle nests, approximately 250g, cooked according to packet instructions
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 tablespoons fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 100g smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (Limes work best here but I seem to stock up on lemons more than limes these days.)
In a large mixing bowl whisk the ingredients for the dressing well until combined. Add the vegetables and the cooked noodles. Mix, mix and mix till everything is coated with the dressing. Add the sesame seeds and coriander on top.
At this point you have two options. Either cover the bowl and pack it in a cooler if you’re going somewhere by car. If you choose to walk instead, pack the noodles into individual containers and away you go. We love this. Enjoy!
There are times when my to-do list gets so long (it’s sickening really) that even the kitchen becomes my enemy! It doesn’t happen that often but when it does and I want to eat, I make something simple, quick, with extra for leftovers and good all in one. There are plenty of recipes out there which will give you all of this, and more. But when I’m really pressed for time I opt for rice. I prefer rice over pasta generally because I find it lighter, and the fewer the ingredients the better. It’s wierd I know, especially because when making a stir-fry I go for whatever-I-can-raid-from-the-fridge kind of cooking! But for a salad I go the other way. I cook the rice as usual. Then in a large mixing bowl I throw in beans, spring onions, a yellow pepper, extra virgin olive oil and some fresh chopped parsley. A bit of salt and pepper, mix mix mix and it’s ready. Eight ounces of rice will give you plenty for 2 people.
I really like kale. Pity that I only discovered it a few months back. I’m really not a vegetarian at heart but veggies are good for you, or so they say, so I make an effort. Especially when it comes to salad options. Too much of a good thing is…well…not good. You know what I mean. I grew tired of the same old salad leaves that I bought a bunch of kale on a whim without knowing what to do with it. When I opened the fridge I had the answer. I chopped up some garlic, one shallot, a few grams of cured chorizo, a red pepper, a yellow one and tossed them in a pan with some olive oil. I washed the kale, added it to the pan, heated it up with the rest of the ingredients, placed everything in a large salad bowl, seasoned it with pepper and added some toasted almond flakes. It makes one good side dish, and it’s so quick that you can make it while you chat to your friends in the kitchen.
This is what I’m planning to have for lunch today. Sometimes I am really really good! I love salad and I don’t even need a complicated dressing to make me happy. Some extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of half a lemon is fine by me. Once in a while I like to add a little bacon for some saltiness and a little treat with mushrooms and an egg to keep me going. It’s fresh and speedy – just what I need during very busy days…Yum. You need lettuce, one chopped fresh tomato, one boiled egg, a couple of mushrooms fried gently with a little bacon and pepper and a dressing of extra virgin and lemon. For one.