Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Independence Day Picnic..

Favorite recipes for a summer luncheon -

Quinoa and Lentil Salad with Asparagus, Mint and Haloumi

200g puy lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
100g quinoa, rinsed well
16 spears asparagus, woody ends removed, spears cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 x 180g piece haloumi, cut into thin strips
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes, plus extra lime cheeks, to serve
1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 long green chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
1 large handful mint leaves, very roughly chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

Place the lentils and 750ml cold water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, the reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes until cooked (they should be slightly soft yet still al dente and nutty in texture). Drain, then run under cold water to rinse. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool completely before adding the olive oil and red wine vinegar and seasoning well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa and 500ml cold water in another small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low and cook for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the grains appear translucent. Remove from the heat, fluff up the grains with a fork and transfer to the bowl with the lentils.

Half fill a small saucepan with water, bring to the boil and add the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes until al dente, then drain and plunge immediately into a bowl or iced water. Drain again and add to the bowl with the lentils and quinoa.

Heat a chargrill pan over a medium heat and add the haloumi to the pan. Drizzle the lime juice over the cheese and sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown all over. Cut into small squares and add to the lentil mixture, along with the tomatoes, spring onions, chilli, mint and lime zest, then season well with salt and pepper.

Garnish with extra lime cheeks

Watermelon, Salt and Chili Granita

1 kg fresh, seedless watermelon, skin removed & roughly chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried chili flakes

Add watermelon, lime juice, salt & chili flakes into a food processor and blend until mixture forms a pulpy consistency.

Pass mixture through a sieve, pressing firmly through with the back of a spoon; discard remaining mixture from sieve.

Pour the sieved mixture into a wide metal baking tray or freezer-proof dish (make sure it will fit easily onto your freezer shelf) and freeze for approximately 2-3 hours or until ready to serve (mixture will keep in the freezer for 2-3 days).

When ready to serve, use a fork to scrape granita into shards and serve in dessert glasses.