Citrus Salad Dressing

This is a great citrus dressing for a salad. I really like it with a salad which also has some orange in it.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (If you are segmenting an orange then this will probably be a by-product.)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1½ tsp honey
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl
  2. Whisk lightly
Make a salad using whatever you prefer, and add the citrus dressing. If there is orange through the salad this is particularly lovely.
Great with Jamaican Patties

Mayonnaise

A simple mayonnaise recipe that can be flexed in many ways. It needs proper seasoning or it will be a bit bland. You may want bland if you intend to use it as part of another recipe. Everybody should become competent at making this, it’s incredibly simple. Once you’ve learned how to make this you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
A homemade mayonnaise is a delight and a very different thing from the shop bought jars. You can use it as a base for dressings like Coronation Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, mustard is essential to the flavour too
  • 250ml Groundnut oil, or Sunflower Oil, or a nameless vegetable oil. I like Sunflower Oil. Olive oil is a much stronger flavour and I think it’s too much for a mayonnaise. You could put a proportion in if you prefer, e.g. 10% olive oil, but I often find the flavour is too strong.
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and ground pepper

Method

  1. Combine the egg yolks, mustard and salt/pepper
  2. Pour in the oil while whisking continuously. Slow and steady works best. It’s critical that you go very slow at the start to begin the emulsion.
  3. Once all incorporated whisk vigorously and add the wine or lemon juice
  4. Check the seasoning and serve
I use this table to vary quantities:
Ingredient/Qty
120ml
240ml
Egg yolks
1
2
Dijon mustard
1 dsp
1 tbsp
Oil
125ml
250ml
Lemon juice/wine vinegar
1 dsp
1tbsp
If using unpasteurised eggs it’s not wise to let this mayonnaise sit around at room temperature for more than a few hours. I find it keeps well for a few days in the fridge. I usually put it in a Kilner jar, and it’s always a joy to remember some pre-made mayonnaise when a sandwich is required.
A flavoured oil could be used, eg. a proportion of Tarragon oil, and whisking some of the finely chopped herbs in at the end.
Make it into an Aioli by adding half a crushed garlic clove to the mix at the end and letting it sit for half an hour. Add more or less garlic as preferred. Delicious for dipping with chips (french fries.)

Coronation Chicken – Worth the Effort

Coronation Chicken was indeed created for a coronation, that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, by Rosemary Hume and Constance Spry. The yellowish ready made concoction you find in your local sandwich shop is a pale shadow of the real thing. Indeed, the dressing actually has a pale pinkish colour when made properly because of the red wine and tomato puree involved (depending on how much turmeric is in your curry powder.)

Make no mistake, this is no sandwich filler. A very British picnic or lunch should have succulent poached chicken dressed with the Coronation Chicken sauce and served with a crisp salad. You will be amazed how much better and different this is to the normal gloop.

I have to be honest it is a bit of effort, but you can freeze the liquid essence that flavours the mix, to use it multiple times. If you have some leftover wine (that can happen, right?) then make the essence and freeze it in a couple of portions.

The quantities here will dress enough salad for about 6 servings, or more depending on size, and generosity with the precious sauce.

Ingredients

Essence

  • 50g of chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 dsp to tbsp of a decent traditional British Madras curry powder (if you are in the UK I can recommend the M&S roasted curry powder, it’s perfect)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 150ml red wine
  • 120ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • a twist of pepper
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • And a small squeeze of the lemon juice

Dressing

  • about 400ml of bland homemade mayonnaise (made with sunflower oil and be modest with the mustard and lemon)
  • 2 tbsp apricot puree (the non-whole fruit part of apricot jam is just fine)
  • 3 tbsp softly whipped cream

Method

Essence

  1. Soften the onions in the oil very slowly until they are fully soft and not browned, this can easily take 20 plus minutes
  2. Add the curry powder and cook off for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the tomato puree, wine, water, bay leaf, salt, sugar, pepper, lemon slice and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Now strain the liquid into a container through a sieve, pushing the onions through the sieve and stirring the small amount of onion paste into the essence. It seems a bit unpromising and not quite the right flavour at this stage but stick with it. You can freeze this essence.

Dressing

  1. Put the mayonnaise into a bowl
  2. Add the apricot puree (this provides sweetness and balances with the acidic essence)
  3. Spoon in the softly whipped cream
  4. Add as much of the essence you feel you need and gently hand whisk it to amalgamate.
  5. Taste and season, and adjust, if required.

Serve the Coronation Chicken sauce as a dressing with some poached chicken and salad.

Thai Beef Salad

Thai beef salad with medium cooked steak layered on top
Thai Beef Salad

I love this Thai Beef Salad. Fresh lime leaves are essential I’m afraid. They give such an unmistakable zing.

I added some salad leaves and served it with a bowl of jasmine rice. Use whatever salad you prefer or have to hand. You need enough dressing to provide a liquid to blend into the rice. I spooned salad in beside the rice in a bowl and loved the mix of creamy bland rice and strong salad dressing.
I’m very lucky to have custody of my son’s lime leaf plant. I have a cutting developing. It lives outside in summer, but inside at all other times.

Ingredients

Dressing and Marinade (do multiple quantities if you are doing more steaks)

  • 1½ tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

Salad

  • Beef steak as much as you like, sirloin, rib eye, or rump according to preference
  • 200g tomatoes, whatever you like, cherry or cut up larger tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthways, sliced
  • 1 red onion, halved and cut into very thin slices
  • Anything else you fancy – avocado is nice, grated carrot, etc.
  • 2 fresh red chillies, as hot as you prefer, halved and deseeded, thinly sliced lengthways, chop lengths smaller if they are too long
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked, large leaves torn
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked, lightly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh Thai basil, leaves picked and torn, I just use regular basil if I don’t have Thai basil
  • Some salad leaves, as you prefer
  • 50g toasted peanuts or cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 kaffir lime leaves, centre veins removed, finely shredded

Method

  1. Whisk together lime juice, garlic, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and palm sugar in a jug.
  2. Place the steak in a suitable dish. Cover with enough of the dressing to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours. Remember that you must NOT use the marinade dressing in the salad as it has been in contact with the raw meat. You have to discard later.
  3. Prepare your salad vegetables
  4. Toast your cashew or peanuts in a dry frying pan, set aside to cool
  5. Cook your steak as you prefer and let it rest somewhere warm. Be careful of temperature and turning the steak as the marinade has sugar in it. This will make it char to black quite easily on the outside, so some care is required not to burn the outside.
  6. Make up a bowl or tray with the salad leaves and other salad items.
  7. Slice up the steak to thin ribbons and place on top of the salad
  8. Drizzle with the remaining dressing (NOT the marinade) and sprinkle with the nuts
Serve with on its own with some jasmine rice, or as part of a larger Thai meal.

Carrot Sultana Salad

Lovely carrot sultana salad, based on one from my Lebanese book. Works well with middle eastern dishes and Indian. For me it’s actually got a Chinese sort of flavour, I think because of the toasted sesame seeds, ginger and spring onions.
Quite simply, it works with everything. Great with barbecues where you want a range of salad types and textures, with grilled meat or fish.
The modern plump “ready to eat” sultanas/raisins that are not fully dehydrated work well.
Quantities are approximate as with all salads you will want to vary to taste and preference.
Ingredients
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 100g of nice sultanas, you could use raisins
  • Chopped coriander to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons of grated ginger
  • 3 spring onions
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar to taste
  • Teaspoon of runny honey
  • A Generous tablespoon of sesame seeds, which you have toasted in a dry frying pan.
Method
  1. If you have one, use a mandolin to julienne half of the peeled carrots, then grate the rest coarsely. You could just grate all of them, it depends what sort of texture you want. I like the crunchiness of the little carrot julienne in my salad. Texture is important.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and mix
  3. The finished salad needs to stand for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to get to know one another, don’t rush it.
For your carrot sultana salad to work you really just need to adjust the ingredients to taste. I think it needs a bit of vinegar and a bit of sweetness. If it’s too sweet add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar, too sour add a bit more honey.
Some toasted peanut, cashew, or pistachio might be a welcome addition.