Recipe: Cucumber, Chilli & Poppy Seed Salad
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.)
- 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
- Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Slice the cucumbers down the middle, then slice into about 1/2 cm thick slices diagonally. While the original recipe tells you to remove the seeds, I honestly don’t see the point. It does not make it all that more watery, and I find the middle is what makes a cucumber refreshing!
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.
As you guys found my menu ideas so helpful when I put together my Skinny Sticky Storecupboard Barbecue Chicken post, I thought I’d give you a few ideas here of what different seasonal dishes might go well with this salad. Obviously we have the barbecue chicken that I simply can’t get enough off, my favourite Honey Mustard Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers also in the barbecue department, but if you’re after something that you can easily make veggie, you could switch out the bacon for oven roasted and with the excess moisture removed with kitchen towel peppers in my Summertime Spinach, Bacon and Quark Quiche.
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?