Garden harvest

IMG_1114.JPGThe above is in fact our second salad harvest in the space of a week – kale, chard, rocket,spinach, lettuce and mangetout.  Lovely, earthy freshness!


Tomato, mozzarella, olives and basil

A simple yet tasty lunch.  These were prized beef tomatoes from our garden, topped with store-bought mozzarella, olives, basil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

When I was in Asia, the Bear and Hubby showed me the tomatoes ripening in the veggie plot via FaceTime. I was so pleased that they waited for my return to enjoy the fruits of our labour together.

Daily dinners in photos – Sunday

Despite doing up a meal plan every week, we do have a tendency to deviate (read: eat-out, skip meals) during the week for various reasons, tiredness being the key one.   I thought I’d set myself a challenge this week – to post a photo of our daily dinners.   Perhaps this might be a motivator to stick to our meal plans.

To kick off, here is last night’s meal.  A lovely barbecue had on our deck.  Parboiled baby potatoes and corn on the cob – finished off on the barbecue, lamb steaks (marinated in garlic and rosemary) and a spinach-rocket-tomato-cucumber-avocado salad.


Grilled calamari salad with Asian dressing

It’s been a warm day.  I had leftover risotto for lunch which made me feel rather sluggish.   After checking that the Hubby had a reasonably good lunch, I decided to make us a grilled calamari salad with the same Asian dressing I used for the mint chicken salad I made recently.   The calamari only needed three to four minutes on the griddle pan.   Served on a bed of rocket and a drizzle of the asian dressing – this was one satisfying dish.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • Fry lite spray
  • 150g – 200g calamari per person
  • 80g rocket
  • Dressing: juice of 1 lime, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 red chilli – chopped, 1 clove of garlic – grated, a handful of mint leaves – chopped


  1. Prep the calamari.  Clean, gut the calamari and separate the tentacles.   Leave the calamari in tube shape but cut incisions width-ways (like slashing a pair of jeans!)
  2. Spray calamari with Fry Lite spray
  3. Heat a griddle pan and grill the calamari(in batches) for two minutes on either side (slightly longer if the calamari is big).  The tentacles require three to four minutes on either side.  I tested the calamari for done-ness by taking one off the griddle pan.  I cut off a slice for taste and it was perfect
  4. Scatter the rocket leaves on a big serving dish.  Remove the calamari from the griddle pan and place on top of the rocket
  5. To make the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a little bowl, pour half over the rocket and calamari.  Leave the remaining dressing for dipping!


Asian chicken and mint salad

I’m not a big salad eater.  I like my food piping hot, and was brought up on cooked veggies.  However, when I saw Nigella’s Vietnamese chicken and mint salad recipe online, I was keen to give it a go.  Best move ever, as this is one delicious, more-ish, recipe.  Actually, lose the chicken, and the dressing over the salad itself would do me.  I made this for lunch last Saturday, loved it so much that it is on my meal plan for this week.    I added some roasted peanuts for crunch, but it future, might try toasted sesame seeds instead.


Home at last

I had been monitoring the weather forecast all week.  Please let the good weather continue into the weekend, I prayed. 

We woke up to a bright, sunny morning on Saturday.  Hubby and I made a beeline for the kitchen – the fridge was practically empty bar some bananas and a pint of milk.  I had placed an order on Ocado which was due to be delivered that evening.   The sun was shining on the decking, and I didn’t want such a morning to go to waste without breakfast served al fresco.  

The old bananas were mashed with milk and mixed with flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt (no eggs in the fridge, or else I would have used one).    Some 10 minutes later, we had banana pancakes with golden syrup, under the morning sun.

The garden was due a big clear up.  Hubby got the lawnmower started whilst I found my trowel and started clearing up what was once the vegetable patch.   The curly kale and purple sprouting broccoli plants survived the winter months and I even managed a small harvest of broccoli.

We worked away for an hour and I popped back into the kitchen to see if I could get lunch going in the background.   I had a butternut squash that had been sitting in the fruit basket for over a week and equally old head of broccoli in the fridge.  I placed some chopped squash, the whole head of broccoli, a whole onion, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a foil-lined baking tray.  I roasted the veggies for 30 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees for 30 minutes.  I then transferred them into a pot, covered with some water and brought the pot to a boil.  I let the pot cool slightly and used a food processor to blitz into a soup.   A quick season with salt and pepper and we had soup on the deck.

I’d also bought a loaf of sourdough bread from a farmers’ market a few days ago and made a quick serving of bruschetta with the last few tomatoes in the fridge.

Fed and watered, we worked in the garden until the sun set on us.   Sunday is meant to be another good day, weather-wise, although an hour less due to the clocks going forward.  The fridge is now fully stocked up, and there’s plenty more gardening in store for us.

Grilled salmon and quinoa salad

I rushed to get home from work yesterday and stopped in M&S en route.  They only had ready-marinated salmon.  I was pushed for time and ended up buying the salmon rather than go to the next supermarket for fresh salmon.  I was keen to serve this with a quinoa salad.  I’ve been eating far too much rice for my own good.  I rang Hubby to get him to prep and bake/grill some tomatoes and courgettes.  By the time I got home, the vegetables were done and all I had to do was cook the quinoa and grill the salmon.

Quinoa salad – serves 2

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1 large courgette, diced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • a squeeze of lemon



  • Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees
  • Transfer the vegetables into a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Boil the quinoa with 1 cup of water in a pot with the lid on
  • The quinoa should cook in 15 – 18 minutes
  • Turn off the heat when the water has evaporated.  Keep the lid on for the quinoa to continue cooking in the residual heat of the pot.
  • Transfer the quinoa into a bowl and add the oven-baked vegetables
  • Add some chopped coriander, squeeze of lemon and season with salt/pepper
  • Serve with freshly grilled salmon