Apology, update and salads.
Firstly, an apology for allowing this blog to lie dormant for a little while. Life has been a little complicated of late, as readers of my other blog www.movingtoportugal.org will be aware. Have a look at the other blog to find out more, but in brief, food poisoning, moving house and having to pop back to the UK to do some work which earns actual money has meant that until today I haven’t had time to log on here and talk food and wine.
Following on from our food poisoning, we had a trip back to the UK and embraced stodgy English cuisine to the full for a few days. We returned to Portugal at the same time as the sunshine so my thoughts have turned to simple, sunny food. Our diet since returning has consisted of lots of cheese, presunto, olives, bread and salads, as well as some simple grilled food on my new Weber Q200 gas barbeque, which is possibly the most exciting gadget I have ever invested in – I already love it dearly!
Seeking inspiration for some lunchtime salads, I turned to Nigel Slater, author of some of my favourite cookery books. I love the way the Nigel Slater provides real inspiration in his cookery books rather than just recipes – a quick flick through one of his books and I have usually decided exactly what I am going to cook for the next week. A trip to the local market had resulted in a full salad drawer and vegetable rack, so I needed some ideas for salads and in the last couple of days I have had two of the simplest yet memorable lunches on our new sunny balcony, which I would like to share.
GOATS CHEESE AND FRUIT SALAD: A handful of strawberry pieces, a handful of melon pieces and a ripe rocha pear cut into chunks. I tossed all of this fruit in a dressing of olive oil, walnut oil, lemon juice, balsamic, salt and pepper. I thought it sounded odd but it really wasn’t! I then grilled some thick Portuguese bread on one side, sprinkled with olive oil. I then turned over my bread and added a thick slice of goats cheese to the uncooked side (I used a fat Chevre Blanc sliced in two down the middle,) and grilled it until warm and bubbling. Crispy bread, melting goats cheese and the freshest of fruit. I wasn’t convinced it would work, but it was wonderful. In fact I want some more right now!
MELON, PRESUNTO AND ROCKET: The simplest of things is so often the best. Small balls of melon, peppery rocket and shredded Portuguese presunto (like parma ham,) in the simplest of dressings – white wine vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and the juice from the melon. A classic combination, but it took a flick through the book to make me think to eat it. A delicious salad that just felt like eating good health!
I look forward to working through some more of Nigel Slater’s salad ideas and would love to hear some suggestions from any readers of the blog!
There are links below to the fantastic “30 Minute Cook” by Nigel Slater, and also to my new Weber barbeque – two items which have made my week so far and I heartily recommend!