So I always prepare the same old salads every time we have a braai – it’s what we call ‘ye old faithfuls’. Sheldon’s sisters came over for last week and I thought it was high time I tried something new in the kitchen. I had lost my mojo for a while – wasn’t interested even stepping foot in the kitchen – only if it was to make a cup of tea.
I hope you enjoy these salads as much as we did – they were delush.
Courgette, chickpea, red onion, chilli, watercress and feta salad
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large red onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
600g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 handful flat leaf parsley
250g feta, cut into small chunks
4 medium courgettes, topped and tailed
2 handfuls watercress
Basil & créme fraîche dressing
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp créme fraîche
Heat all but 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide pan and cook the onions to wilt them, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chilli and thyme, and continue to cook until the onions are caramelised. Add the lemon juice and zest, and the chickpeas, and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Take off the heat and tip into a bowl. When it has cooled, mix in the parsley and feta and leave to one side.
To make the basil and créme fraîche dressing: place the basil and sugar in a mortar and grind to a paste with a pestle, them mix in the créme fraîche and 1 tbsp of cold water and lightly season. Alternatively, finely shred the basil and mix with the sugar, créme fraîche, water and seasoning.
Peel the courgettes into ribbons with a potato peeler. Peel one side until you get to the centre, then peel the opposite side. Lastly peel the sides off. You want every piece to have some of the skin on it. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the courgettes, gently stir, count to 20 and then drain and rinse under cold water and drain again.
To serve, arrange the courgette slices around the outside rim of your plates and place the watercress on the inside. Divide the chickpea salad on top of the watercress. Serve the basil dressing to the side and let your guests help themselves.
This is a quick and easy salad to make – thanks to Ottolenghi.
Butterbeans with sweet chilli sauce and fresh herbs
400g tinned butterbeans
6 garlic cloves, crushed
70ml sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 red peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into 2cm squares
4 spring onions, white and green bits, chopped
35g coriander, chopped
35g mint leaves, chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
I’ve changed the recipe slightly because they use dried butterbeans but it’s quicker and easier to use the beans out a can. Just as tasty too!
Place the crushed garlic in a bowl large enough to hold the beans and peppers. Add the sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well with a small whisk. Add the red peppers (I fried mine off for a bit with the beans out a can), season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add the chopped up spring onions, herbs and plenty of seasoning. Mix gently with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Eat warm or cold – just remember to readjust the seasoning before serving.