Warm(ish) Salad with Tahini Dressing

It occurred to me that it was a while since I’d made hummus, and as I had a brand new jar of tahini, I thought today might be the day to put that right. Then, I noticed that there were a few odds and ends in the fridge this morning and I decided to combine them in a salad and use the tahini in a dressing.

So this is what we ended up with:

Tahini-Dressed Salad

Warm(ish) Salad with Tahini Dressing

1 400g Can of Chickpeas

1 Courgette

1 Red Bell Pepper

3/4 Bag of Rocket

8-10 Leaves of Mint

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Tahini

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Squirt of Honey

Juice of Half an Orange

Zest of a Lemon

Juice of Half a Lemon

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Open the can of chickpeas and toss them into a sieve.

Rinse them under running water and leave to drain.

Peel and finely grate the garlic.

Cut the courgette into small, thin, bite-sized pieces.

Cut and core the red pepper.

Make the dressing by combining the tahini, garlic, honey, zest, orange and lemon juices.

Mix gently and add a drop of water until it’s slightly runny.

Add the olive oil.

Whisk gently with a fork until you have a runny consistency.

Leave to one  side.

Gently heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the courgette pieces.

Fry them over a medium heat until they start to brown (about 10 minutes).

Add the pepper pieces and fry them for a further five minutes.

Turn the heat off.

Get out a large bowl and throw in your chickpeas, rocket and the fried vegetables.

Pour the dressing over the combined vegetables and toss the lot together.

Scatter a few mint leaves over the top and tuck in!


Potato Cakes & Beetroot Salad

Let me tell you a secret.

You remember the original Austerity Bites series, where I said I had an unusually small amount of money to spend on food? Well, the truth is that it isn’t all that unusual for me to struggle to make sure that my girls have a well-balanced diet.

Of course, I know I’m not alone, which is what gives me the courage to keep writing these blog posts. If I thought I was the only one engaged in this constant attempt to provide delicious, nutritious meals for my family, I’d be too ashamed to mention it. Knowing that there’s loads of us in the same boat makes this feel like fun – like we’re this fraternity of cupboard-scrapers who are making a game out of rustling up stone-soup for our loved ones.

Today, I had six of those lovely Wexford potatoes left from last weekend, and felt it was time to use them up before they went rubbery. Kashmira, my youngest, expressed a desire for potato cakes so that’s what I made today.

Potato Cakes

6 Potatoes

2 Tablespoons of Plain Flour

1 Medium Egg

2 Spring Onions

Salt & Pepper to Season

Oil for Shallow Frying

Peel the potatoes and put them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them.

Put the saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down low and simmer the potatoes for another 10-15 minutes.

When they are cooked enough for a fork to penetrate – but before the spuds fall apart – turn the heat off and drain the potatoes.

Mash the potatoes slightly – you want them still in discernible chunks rather than pureed.

Trim the spring onions (cut off the hairy bits at the root end and any withered bits at the tips – basically, get rid of any bit you wouldn’t want to eat) and snip them into the pot with the potatoes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Form the potato mix into patties. I do this with my hands: Remove your rings, wash your hands and flour them slightly. Take a ball of the mix – about the size of a ping-pong ball – in your hands and flatten it into a disc about 3 cms thick.

If you don’t fancy handling your potato cakes, though, you can use a soup spoon and a spatula. Use the spoon to scoop the mix out and the spatula to flatten it down slightly.

Heat the oil in your frying pan and put 3-4 of the potato cakes in the pan. Cook, for about three minutes each side.

I got a baker’s dozen out of this mix and we had it with the avocado dip I made the other day.

Potato Cakes

With that, we had a beetroot salad – it was one of those invented recipes. You know the ones – they can go horribly right or horribly wrong…..this one worked, for which I was grateful.

Beetroot Salad

3 Vacuum-Packed Beetroot

2cms of Ginger

1 Apple

2 Carrots

3 Sticks of Celery

1 Apple

50g Walnuts

Olive Oil (about a tablespoon – enough to make the salad glisten)

Juice of Half a Lemon

1 Teaspoon of Cumin Seeds

Peel the carrots and the ginger.

Trim the celery.

Chop the celery, carrots and beetroots into bite-sized pieces and mix them together.

Halve and toast the walnuts in a dry pan.

Add them to the vegetables.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan – this takes just a minute, they burn really quickly.

Add the seeds to the vegetables.

Peel the ginger and grate it into the bowl.

Add the lemon juice.

Drizzle the olive oil over the salad.

Mix well.