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I have talked a lot about how I manage to eat so many cookies, burgers and down so many glasses of wine and cocktails in my eating philosophy blog post, but there is one thing that is missing from that post; my version of ‘clean eating’. Sometimes, in spite of avoiding eating rubbish and trying to exercise, real life (usually when I’m cooking for more than just me, and I have to compromise how I normally eat to keep everyone happy) gets in the way and my jeans feel a little tighter than I’d like. In these times I do my version of ‘clean eating’ until I feel better. This means not drinking alcohol at home, only when I go out unless I have people over, laying off of the unsalted French butter rich recipes and avoiding sugar whenever possible. When I do need to include sugar in something I always use unrefined. This cucumber salad (we already have loads in the greenhouse) is one such recipe, adapted to make it a little healthier from the original Ottolenghi cookbook.
It really is that time of year where all you want is something grilled or barbecued, or some sort of tart with some great side salads, and what I love about this one is it lends itself to matching up with all sorts of flavours from English to French, to Asian to Brazilian. (And yes, that is the closest you’ll ever get me to acknowledging football on this blog! The influx of Brazilian street food and Caipirinhas is the only silver lining.)
This unusual cucumber, chilli and poppy seed salad is the perfect side for a summer barbecue.
3 Small Cucumbers
1 Mild Red Chilli, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
40 ml White Wine Vinegar (I like Aspall’s)
50 ml Sunflower Oil
1 tbsp Poppy Seeds
Very Large Pinch Golden Caster Sugar
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Slice the cucumbers down the middle, then slice into about 1/2 cm thick slices diagonally.
Add the cucumber, chilli, poppy seeds and coriander to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the sugar, vinegar, oil, a good large pinch of sea salt (as ever, I always use Breton Fleur de Sel) and a good few grinds of black pepper to make a dressing.
Pour over the cucumber and mix everything well until it is well coated. Serve at room temperature.
What did you all get up to over the weekend, and more importantly what did you cook? Or, are there any fantastic supper Summery foodie spots in Kent or London that I somehow don’t know about yet that you managed to hit up?
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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