Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation Chicken Salad

This post is a week late which pretty much sums up the kind of life I’m living right now. If I appear to be on time for anything then it’s probably because my watch has stopped meaning something else for me to add to the never ending to do list.

I can’t complain though because it’s been a fantastic week, full of cake, balloons, party hats and bubbles. Yes, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday at the weekend but in the Hartley household there was another more meaningful birthday this week as Cole turned a full 1 year old. With that I break down into floods of nostalgic tears for little newborn tootsies, tightly curled fingers, sleepy little yawns and without question the endless days where I held onto him contentedly on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, digestive biscuits and binge watching my Gilmore Girls DVDs.

Coronation Chicken Salad

So I haven’t watched a DVD since 2015 and these days Cole pretty much refuses to be held at all, shooting off my lap or out of the pram or out of the car seat as he practices using his wobbly little legs, inching closer and closer to walking. My life mostly involves careening about the house rescuing him from whatever danger he seems to be courting next. I also had to buy him his first pair of shoes as well this week to protect his feet which were getting filthy from London terrain. So it’s milestone after milestone and I’m struggling to keep up.

Coronation Chicken Salad

We celebrated his birthday by taking a hoard of North London mummies and babies to London Zoo along with a giant picnic and we had such an excellent day, even if he did nap through most of the animals. It was a truly British summer day and I made this Coronation Chicken Salad for us all to share. Actually it was a lazy choice of salad as it’s the one I bring to every large picnic gathering and I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages. It’s easy to make, so delicious and good with or without the rice to bulk it out. Even though it’s a mildly spiced coronation chicken, meaning that it’s suitable for adults and babies alike, it is certainly not lacking in flavour due to the freshly ground spices and tangy with lime and yoghurt to make up the dressing along with the usual mayo.

So happy birthday to Her Royal Highness but more importantly to My Royal Highness. It’s been an amazing, non-stop, emotional rollercoaster of a year but one I really don’t want to disembark from.

Coronation Chicken Salad

Coronation Chicken Salad

Serves 8-10

Curry Paste:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
seeds from 3 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil

8 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
300ml natural yoghurt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons almond butter
225g wholegrain basmati and wild rice mix, cooked according to packet instructions, then cooled
8 dried apricots, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
two large handfuls of mixed baby leaves
large handful of coriander leaves
50g flaked almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, black or white

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
  2. First make the curry paste by grinding together the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom seeds until fine using a spice grinder or a pestle and mortar. Tip into a large bowl and add the turmeric, ginger, garlic powder, salt and mix well. Remove 1 tablespoon of the spices and set aside in a small bowl for later.
  3. Stir the coconut oil into the rest of the spice mix until a thick paste has been formed.
  4. Rub the paste all over the chicken thighs until they are evenly covered. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and scatter over the sesame seeds, place back into the oven, turn the heat up to 220°C and roast for a further 15 minutes. Remove and leave the chicken until cool enough to handle then shred the meat and crisp skin from the bones. Place in a bowl whilst you prepare the dressing.
  5. To make the dressing whisk together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lime juice and almond butter with the reserved tablespoon of the spice mix.
  6. Mix the chicken, the cooked rice, the chopped apricots, spring onions and chilli in with dressing until completely covered.
  7. Toss the baby leaves and coriander leaves together in a large bowl then add in the coronation chicken, mixing lightly so the leaves don’t get too heavy with the dressing.
  8. To serve, scatter over the flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Coronation Chicken Salad

Roast Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

This salad was borne from a desire to use up leftover roast chicken but was such a treat that I made a huge batch of it again the next day, this time roasting up a couple of chicken breasts especially for the event.

Now, I’m not one for do-ahead salads. For starters I don’t like cold salads, they need to be brought up to room temperature first so by the time you’ve decided you’re hungry you might as well have knocked it together there and then rather than twiddling your fingers for half an hour whilst the chill is knocked off your lunch.

Pre-dressed salads are also usually a problem, as heavy dressings render delicate leaves a soggy mulch, or worse if there’s garlic involved create a pungency to the whole affair which detracts from the light bright flavours you began with. My Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt encountered no such issues though and after having made a fair amount to last for a few days I popped it, dressing and all, into the fridge until I was ready to eat it over the next few days.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

This salad holds no leaves to wilt or garlic to intoxify so the fresh flavours are kept intact. In fact, they are improved upon as the feta simply soaks up flavour so over the next couple of days it took on more depth from the lemon and mint. There is also no oil in the dressing so there is no chance of the dressing weighing down the other ingredients.

Okay, so I did have to take my salad out of the fridge for a bit so the flavours could re-ignite in room temperature but after about 15 minutes of impatience I dove in and found I hadn’t lost anything in its preservation.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Now you must be fussy when gathering ingredients for this salad, not only should you insist upon the best tomatoes you can find and of course organic free-range chicken, bone intact and skin on so it retains moisture during its roasting, but this salad also benefits hugely from the inclusion of extremely good feta. Supermarket feta is so hit and miss, more often than not a bit dry and crumbly and until you’ve overdosed on the good stuff in Greece you may not even know how much you like it. I am lucky though to be within spitting distance of Ally Pally farmers’ market on a Sunday where there is an excellent producer eager to offload his wonderful olives, pickled garlic and sundried tomato antipasti. It’s his feta that is the star of the show though, tangy, dense and sublimely creamy, although you have to get to the market early as he always sells out.

Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Roast Chicken and Feta Salad with Minted Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts on the bone
2 teaspoons olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
150g cucumber, halved and de-seeded
200g tomato, roughly chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced thinly
½ red onion, halved and sliced thinly
120g feta

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon yoghurt
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
good handful of fresh mint leaves, diced finely
juice of ½ lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice with some seasoning then rub all over the chicken breasts.
  3. Place in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, basting halfway through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and leave to rest whilst you prepare the rest of the salad.
  5. Toss the cucumber, tomatoes, celery and red onion in a large bowl and crumble over the feta.
  6. In a separate small bowl whisk together all your dressing ingredients and pour most of it evenly over the salad.
  7. Toss it all together and heap into bowls.
  8. Remove the chicken from the bone, then slice and serve over the salad, drizzling over a final bit of dressing.

Fennel and Chicory Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Fennel and Chicory Salad with Mango Vinaigrette
Mango vinaigrette was the first salad dressing I really took note of. Before then I just thought that dressing was a bit of oil and vinegar and there you go. I was still at school and for a treat our form teacher invited the eight of us in her form for lunch after Saturday morning school at her house. Although I’m not sure how much of a treat we thought it was at the time. She meant well but I’m sure she regretted it instantly as we probably took great advantage of her hospitality being bratty teenagers. There is one residing memory I have of this lunch though and that is the homemade mango vinaigrette she served with the salad. The vibrancy of the fruit standing up to the mustardy undertones and tang of white wine vinegar has always resonated with me every time that I have re-created this dressing in my adulthood.

Mango Vinaigrette

Mango is to me a winter fruit. It’s this time of year that I make my mango chutney and lately I’ve been blitzing up the fruit to dash into sparkling water as an alternative to my sorely missed evening gin and tonics. The bright orange flesh and tropicality seem to stick two fingers up at the drizzly weather, bringing sunshine into my grey kitchen.

To use the mango as a dressing ingredient the salad must be comprised of bitter leaves to balance the sweetness. Fennel and Chicory are perfect as their firmness are not overwhelmed by the heavy dressing which might be a failure of a more droopy leaf.

Although I love the mango at the moment I make variations of this salad all year round. It pairs beautifully with a seared tuna steak, with shredded roasted pheasant and when the season comes around again I will probably make huge bowls of it for our summer barbecues.

Fennel and Chicory Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Like any salad it’s quick to throw together, save a bit of chopping. It’s imperative, and I cannot stress this enough, that you take the time over the slicing of the veg so that the fennel, chicory and onion are as thin as humanly possible. I can get a little bit overbearing about this in the kitchen but it is important so that you do not render the raw fennel and chicory indigestible. The salad should be a joy to eat and if the vegetables are too thick then it could be a bit of a chore.

With most salads I dress them moments before it hits the table but with this one I feel it benefits from half an hour to let the dressing soften the vegetables.

Fennel and Chicory Salad with Mango Vinaigrette

Fennel and Chicory Salad with Mango Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

1 fennel bulb
2 red chicory
1 red onion, peeled and halved
2 large handfuls rocket
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 mango, pureed (4 tablespoons needed)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water

  1. Slice the fennel, chicory and onion extremely finely then toss them together in a large salad bowl with the rocket.
  2. Pour in the white wine vinegar and salt and pepper into a screw-top jar then screw the lid back on and shake well until the salt has dissolved.
  3. Add the Dijon mustard into the jar and shake again until combined.
  4. Add the honey and shake once more until combined.
  5. Add the pureed mango and shake again. The mixture will be quite thick.
  6. Pour in the olive oil and shake well.
  7. Finally add the water to thin the dressing down a little and give a final good shake so everything has fully combined.
  8. Drizzle the dressing over the salad until all the leaves are just coated, you probably won’t need all of it, saving some for another day.

Cajun Grilled Chicken Salad with Sour Avocado Dressing

Cajun Grilled Chicken with Sour Avocado Dressing
My last recipe before Halloween and it’s not a bit on theme, except that it’s a very green salad so in theory you could serve it up at your bash, or am I trying too hard? The truth is, this is the salad I’m eating today and I wanted to tell you about it right now.

Cajun Grilled Chicken with Sour Avocado Dressing

In fact I was going to post about something totally different today but I still needed to take the photos and I was hungry so I thought, I know I’ll have lunch first and then I won’t be tempted to eat the subject during the photoshoot. Then before I knew it I was photographing making my lunch and then it looked and tasted so yummy that I thought it only fair that I photograph the finished dish, and then as I was taking the photos and my stomach I was rumbling I suddenly remembered what the point of making lunch first was. So that’s why you’re getting a salad instead of the pumpkin soup that I had actually intended.

I include a lot of salads in my newsletter as I eat one most days for lunch but I rarely blog about them as they can be a bit of a thrown together affair without much of a recipe. Today though, I knew exactly what I wanted. A creamy sour dressing lathered over chunky vegetables and spiced juicy chicken.

Claiming to want a sour dressing rather than just screwing it up may seem a bit odd but this is for the days when you want a very vegetably salad. Some dressings which are drenched with honey or smattered with sugar can drown the taste of the individual vegetables a bit and I wanted something so savoury but also perfectly balanced. Here, I deliberately wanted to abstain from any sweetness but if you taste the dressing and feel the need then by all means add a pinch of sugar.

Cajun Grilled Chicken with Sour Avocado Dressing

The sour avocado dressing is bolstered by my use of green pepper. Green peppers are unfairly maligned in my opinion, I think they are the jewel of the bag of mixed peppers you buy from the supermarket and I’m always looking for the bags with more green peppers than red. Green peppers add a lovely counterpoint to the salad as there is no mistaking their grumpy presence. They have none of the overpowering sweetness of the red or yellow pepper and instead add a peppery flavour. Green peppers are used a lot in cajun and creole cooking as part of the holy trinity along with onion and celery which is their version of the mirepoix. That’s why it goes so well with the grilled cajun chicken that beds down on the greenery.

Cajun Grilled Chicken with Sour Avocado Dressing

Cajun Grilled Chicken Salad with Sour Avocado Dressing
Serves 2

2 Chicken breasts
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning (see below for the recipe)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 little gem lettuce, shredded
½ cucumber, seeds removed and batoned
2 celery sticks, batoned
1 green pepper, seeds removed and sliced thinly
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed
75ml sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon English mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

  1. Pre-heat the grill to the highest setting.
  2. Using a mallet, bash out your chicken breasts until they are of even thickness. Rub the cajun seasoning, olive oil and some salt and pepper on the chicken breasts and place under the hot grill. Grill for about 4 minutes each side until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile prepare your salad by placing the lettuce, cucumber, celery and green pepper in a bowl and tossing together. Set aside.
  4. To make the dressing place the avocado, sour cream, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, paprika and seasoning in a blender and whizz up until smooth.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, slice thinly, toss with your salad and then drizzle with the sour avocado dressing.

Cajun Seasoning

1 tbsp onion salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp celery seeds
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground black pepper

Mix together thoroughly and store in a small airtight jar.

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad
My second favourite food is salad. My first is cake (obv). I eat at least a salad a day, most of the time two and it’s usually salad for breakfast round my way.

I have been writing a lot on this blog and in my newsletter about how much street food I have been enjoying recently, at Dalston Street Feast, Broadway Market, Kerb at Kings Cross and even our very own Ally Pally farmers’ market but one of my main gripes is the lack of vegetables on offer to accompany these amazing foods. Duck confit, Korean barbecue, haggis and soft shell crab. Love ‘em. But why must they all be stuffed into buns? All they need to do is chop up a bit of cucumber, iceberg and tomato, if nothing else, and offer that as an alternative accompaniment, I’m sure they would double their appeal. I have spoken to a few people recently who simply can’t get invested in the street food scene due to the dearth of healthy options. Not all of us can eat burgers and melted cheese all weekend and get away with it. Especially if we are scarfing down cakes for the rest of the week (ahem).

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad  |  Stroud Green Larder

I have been thinking about starting a market stall for a while and I have to say it was a big toss up between cakes and doing street food type grilled meat and salads. I love cake, it is my soul mate, I think about it night and day; during my crossfit workouts, when I’m having a lie-in on Sunday mornings and whilst I’m walking the puppy (whom now he is 1 years old should probably start to be referred to as a dog). However, as a consumer there is such a lack of freshly prepared salads, and I don’t mean the salad stalls that only serve vegan, carb enriched foods. I mean healthy, robust protein driven salads that can actually serve as your main meal. This time round I’m going with my heart and am so excited to be launching my own cake stall at a new farmers’ market in Harringay next month but at some point I would definitely like to be able to follow my other dream of opening an amazing place where salads reign supreme. The burger backlash has got to come at sometime, no?

5Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad  |  Stroud Green Larder

I love a salad with a big hearty flavour. The smack-you-round-your-chops heavy protein hitters like roast lamb shoulder, steak and here, pork belly, fit in with a light bright salad so much more comfortably then heavy carbs. You get all the joy of your favourite roast without being weighed down and you leave your meal feeling sated instead of stuffed. Plus, there’s more room for cake.

I had fallen out of love with pork belly for a while. When it first arrived on the scene it was everywhere, and actually if you go to any local drinking hole that likes itself as a bit of a gastropub then it probably still serves it, maybe with a bit of red cabbage if you’re lucky but definitely with mashed potato. For such an amazing cut of meat it got boring. Too many of these pubs serve it badly, floppy fat, dried out meat and in the worst offence that I have encountered recently, it was sliced in half and served without the signature crackling so the meat was paper thin and flabby.

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad  |  Stroud Green Larder

However, pork belly is enjoying a bit of a renaissance in my kitchen, mainly because I came up with this salad which just seems to be the perfect balance of apple crisp, crackling crunch, melting meat, sweet walnuts, peppery dressing and a touch of sour from the green pepper, another misunderstood vegetable. I ate this salad three days running and didn’t get bored. I’m thinking of making it again this week and I can think of no greater example of how glorious, satiating and life affirming a proper salad can be.

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad
Serves 4

1.5kg pork belly
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
zest ½ lemon
¾ tsp salt
black pepper
1 apple
2 little gems
1 green pepper
6 spring onions
2 celery sticks

Caramelised walnuts:
60g walnut pieces
30g caster sugar
2 tsp salted butter

Dressing:
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
plenty of salt and pepper
¼ tsp honey
30ml extra virgin olive oil

  1. Remove the pork belly from any packaging then place it on a plate unwrapped in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Slash the fat on the top of the pork belly, making sure not to penetrate the flesh then place it on a rack in the sink and pour a kettle full of boiling water over to open up the slashes which will help to create a crunchy crackling. Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper.
  4. Next mix together the rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper then rub all over the pork belly skin.
  5. Place the pork belly on a rack on a deep roasting tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat down to 170°C and continue roasting for about 3½ hours or until the crackling on the pork belly is golden and crisp.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to rest whilst you make the rest of the salad.
  8. For the caramelised walnuts, place the walnuts, sugar and butter in a small saucepan and stir so the walnuts are thoroughly coated. Let the sugar dissolve into the butter then cook for about 3 minutes until the caramel turns a dark brown. Remove from the heat then quickly transfer the walnuts to baking parchment, separating them out from each other so they do not dry in a solid lump. Work with haste as the caramel will harden as soon as it starts to cool.
  9. Prepare the rest of the salad by slicing the apple, shredding the little gems, slicing the green pepper very thinly and dicing the spring onions and celery sticks. Mix together in a large salad bowl.
  10. To make the dressing, pour the mustard and vinegar in a small dish with plenty of salt and pepper and whisk together until the salt dissolves, then whisk in the honey. Drizzle the olive oil into the dish, whisking hard to emulsify the dressing, once it’s all mixed in, taste for seasoning.
  11. Assemble the final salad by shredding the pork, then toss together with the rest of the ingredients, drizzling with the dressing at the last minute.

Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad  |  Stroud Green Larder

Tuna Slaw Salad with Basil Lime Aioli: Day 8 of Whole30

Tuna Salad with Basil Lime Aioli
This week I am putting my money where my mouth is and going back to a demanding all day job in the city and coupling it with the Whole30. All of my big talk that you can do this and that and knock it together in moments after work making your life less stressful and your evenings effort free is truly going to be tested.

Salad  |  Stroud Green Larder

It’s going to be even more challenging now I am hitting the second week of Whole30. Gone are the heady days of excitement and trepidation at my new diet, I am now in the crosspatch Week 2 Phase. This is when my body has finally got the message that I won’t be eating sugar, carbs and sipping g&ts anytime soon and it has gone into full scale rebellion. Although in theory I feel good as I am alert, I don’t feel weighted down and my clothes are more comfortable. I have a consistent headache, I am pleading exhaustion and I am craving cake which is leading to the most horrendous monstrous mood. Ask my husband, if he hasn’t sprinted out of the door yet.

Basil Lime Aioli  |  Stroud Green Larder

Basil Lime Aioli  |  Stroud Green Larder

I know once I get through this week I will be fine, this is just the Week 2 Phase of the diet talking. Once I survive my cravings then I’ll settle down again and go back to the only mildly grumpy girl I usually am. However, why I have decided to team my grizzly mood with the world of TV production, edit suites, deadlines, clients and budgets baffles even me.

Tuna Salad with Basil Lime Aioli  |  Stroud Green Larder. This is precisely why I am going to have to rely on some old faithful recipes this week. I will have to take in my lunch each day, as I will be no good if I have to rely on the kindness of the sandwich shops to offer me any Whole30 respite. I am therefore going to hit up my paleo mayo and have protein and a lovely crunchy slaw most days, mixing up my protein and the ingredients of my salad for interest.

Albacore Tuna  |  Stroud Green Larder

Tomorrow, I am going old school with tuna and I’m very excited about it. Tinned Tuna is so hard done by as an ingredient. I might be extra fond of it as it has memories of my youth and the tuna and cucumber sandwich my Dad used to make me for school every morning. It tastes of comfort and packed lunch. These days though I have turned into a bit of a tuna snob. I turn my nose up at John West tinned stuff and reach out instead to the exorbitantly priced jars of albacore tuna. This means that tuna has turned into a bit of a treat. A jar does about 2 meals but since I am pairing it with a very low cost salad then savings are made elsewhere. It’s still cheaper than chicken. Albacore tuna is meatier than the average tin of tuna, it feels like you are eating real food and not cat food, but to be honest it is so incomparable that unfortunately after indulging in it once you will be unable to go back to regular tuna.

Tuna Salad with Basil Lime Aioli  |  Stroud Green Larder.

Tuna Slaw Salad with Basil Lime Aioli
Serves 1

1 carrot, julienned
½ green pepper, sliced very thinly, then halved
1 celery stick, quartered then sliced very thinly
¼ red onion, sliced very thinly
1 tbsp paleo mayo
A pinch of crushed garlic
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 tsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ jar of albacore tuna

  1. This salad is really just an assembly job. Mix together the carrot, pepper, celery and onion and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk up the mayo, garlic, olive oil, basil, lime juice and salt and pepper until completely combined.
  3. Pour the aioli over the salad and coat them thoroughly in the dressing.
  4. Remove the tuna from the tin, pat with a kitchen towel to remove the excessive oil then add the tuna to the rest of the salad.
  5. Pop in a lunchbox and take to work.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
This is my first chutney of the year.  I managed to divest my laden larder with a good majority of pickles, jams and chutneys over the festive period but now it’s about the time where I start to build up my stores again.

If I am honest I made this chutney a few weeks ago when the calls of our local Fruit and Veg man hollering outside Finsbury Park asking us to ‘Taste the mango’ got the better of me.  I did want to taste the mango.  Then it reminded me how long it’s been since I had a good cheese and mango chutney sandwich.  Since I didn’t have any mangos in, I put the abundance of mangoes on the stall to good use and stirred up a very quick and fragrant chutney that afternoon.  I followed Diana Henry’s advice on mango chutney but did not carry through the hotness of her recipe, instead toning it down as I wanted to create something more subtle.

Cheese loves a good mellow chutney or jam; please see my earlier obsession with cheese and peach jam.  Mango chutney is a perfect partner and I particularly like a softly spiced version so that the delicate mango flavour isn’t powered out, bedding down nicely a good crumbly cheese.

Mango Chutney

This classic sandwich combination always reminds me of my mother who at the mere mention of mango chutney will without fail wax lyrical about a good mango chutney and cheese sandwich.  And with good reason, a generous dollop of sticky chutney oozing out a toasted sandwich filled with gooey English cheddar is truly a magnificent lunch and reminds me a lot of my childhood.

I don’t eat as many sandwiches as I used to but this doesn’t mean my chutney consumption has calmed down.  My current favourite use is to add a delicate amount to a salad of nutty emmental, cucumber and iceberg lettuce.  All you need then is a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper to finish it off.  The mango chutney adds a lovely balance of sweet and sourness to this simple salad.

And of course, it would be remiss not to discuss how a lovely tablespoon of this chutney added to a homemade curry can provide its own dimension to the recipe, adding a mellowed sweetness to counteract your spicing.

Mango Chutney

Mango Chutney
Adapted from Diana Henry’s Very Hot Mango Chutney in ‘Salt Sugar Smoke’

6 mangos
¼ tsp cloves
8 cardamom pods, deshelled
1.5 tsp coriander seeds
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp black mustard seeds
500g onions, diced
500g granulated sugar
600ml cider vinegar
3 green chillies, deseeded
nutmeg
30g fresh ginger, diced finely
zest and juice of 2 limes

  • Peel the mangos and cut the flesh of the fruit from around the middle stone. Chop the fruit into cubes, there might not be much uniformity from the flesh cut close from the stone. Set aside.
  • In a large preserving pan toast the cloves, cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and mustard seeds over a low heat for a minute or so to release their fragrance.
  • Add the diced onions, sugar, vinegar and chillies to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 10 mins.
  • Add the mango, nutmeg, ginger and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 mins until the mixture is jam like.
  • Stir through the lime juice for the last couple of minutes of cooking, then decant into sterilised jars.
  • The chutney is best left for at least 4 weeks for the flavour to mature.

Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées
This salad may be one of the easiest recipes I’ve shared but that doesn’t mean it should be tossed together willy nilly.  The fine cast of ingredients is improved immeasurably by making sure you get the best you can afford or get hold of.  The beauty of these different coloured carrots which are on offer at the Alexandra Palace farmers market mean that the salad doesn’t look or taste like a poor man’s supper but a rich man’s bounty.

Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées is a staple in every French bistro and not something I would usually order if I’m paying for a meal as it just seems too simple.  However, my head was turned recently when I met a friend for a quick lunch at Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly Circus.  They have an excellent set lunch menu which is tremendous value.  For under £9 you are treated to a starter of Carottes Râpées followed by Steak Haché, Sauce au Poivre et Frites.  The steak was wonderful but I’m here to talk about the salad which was served to us with efficiency, humbly domed on its small plate.  It didn’t look like much but accompanied by a crusty baguette this little salad shocked me into silence.  You know a good restaurant dish when the next day you have recreated it in your kitchen and then you do the same the next day and the next day.  And there are few restaurant dishes which are this easy to replicate.

Carottes Râpées

dressing ingredients

Unfortunately vinaigrette is one of those recipes which will accept no substitutions.  I have invested in decent extra virgin olive oil, Maille mustard and the best vinegar to make the most excellent salads I can.  I like to use chardonnay wine vinegar as it’s not so acetic and imparts its own fruity flavour instead of just having a one note sharpness that most commercial vinegars are saddled with.  I recommend unequivocally Forvm Chardonnay vinegar which is made in a family winery just outside Barcelona, you can get 250ml for around £10 at very good delis.  It’s not easy to get hold of so when you see a bottle for sale grab it.  In the past I have bought mine from Divertimenti in Marylebone and Rick Stein’s deli in Padstow.  It may seem pricey but if you limit your usage to salad dressings it will last an age and will make your salads fantastically delicious.

Carottes Râpées

Please don’t rush the dressing either, chucking everything together, giving a brief whisk and dripping it lazily over your salad.  Take your time to ensure the salt has dissolved into the vinegar, the vinegar has emulsified with the mustard and then the oil is drizzled in carefully with one hand whilst the other is whisking it swiftly into the other ingredients.  This means your dressing will suspend all the different elements together without the threat of being oily.  The dressing should be thick, smooth, fruity and tangy and under no circumstances can the oil be allowed to separate so once you have whisked it in pour it straightaway onto your carrots.

Carottes Râpées

Carottes Râpées

3 large carrots
1 tsp honey Dijon mustard or regular Dijon
2 tsp chardonnay wine vinegar
big pinch sea salt
black pepper
½ garlic clove crushed
30ml cobnut oil or olive oil
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

  1. Julienne the carrots. If you have a food processor with the right attachment this will take seconds. Or, you can use a julienne peeler which will take a bit longer or grate them if you don’t have that either. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk the vinegar and salt until the salt has dissolved. Next add the Dijon whisking with confidence until it has emulsified with the vinegar. Add the garlic and black pepper. With one hand continually whisking, use your other hand to slowly slowly drizzle in the oil. In a similar method to making mayonnaise you want the oil to be captured by the other ingredients coming together to create a creamy dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing onto the carrots, tossing together.
  4. The addition of roughly chopped parsley is also traditional, I haven’t included it here for aesthetic reasons but do if you would like.
  5. Serve immediately to avoid any wilting.

Carottes Râpées