Posted on

chicken salad with pomegranate, chick peas, quinoa & harissa

There are chicken salads and then there are seriously tasty chicken salads, this one definitely falls into the latter category! So often I’ve ordered a chicken salad as a lighter lunch option but it is sadly lacking, or swimming in mayonnaise and I’ve been left disappointed. I want to eat a chicken salad that stands on it’s own and doesn’t require bread or other such additions to make it a meal. In a recent trip to London I ate at The Alma in Wandsworth where I ordered their chicken salad, I was not disappointed as it was a proper plate of salad, a meal in its own right. This recipe is inspired by that salad, albeit that I’ve added a my own dressing, different vegetables and a big hit of chilli spice!

 

To be fair our morning did not get off to be best start! My plan had been to meet Michelle for a coffee first thing whilst my car was in the garage, then we both planned to head our separate ways. However, a phone call from her by 8.30am put any and all plans into disarray as Michelle had locked herself out of her house without her car keys and living in the country she had no way of getting her children to school. I got my own children sorted and away on their bicycles to school before heading to Michelle’s to pick them all up and get her children to school on time (SuperMum her youngest calls me as this is not my first rescue mission!).  After a few hours of running around, including a drive into Aberdeen to collect house keys, we realised that any plans we had had gone by the wayside and so headed to my house instead where I decided I would make us both a nice lunch and that chicken salad was what came to mind.

The chicken is simply pan-fried and its a case of layering up all the other elements to create this chicken salad. Of course the dish is helped with the addition of super fresh lettuce picked straight from my own garden. I love a harissa salad dressing as it adds a lovely kick of chilli, my favourite is Belazu Rose Harissa a jar of which you will always find in my kitchen. The combination of chicken, pomegranate, chickpeas, quinoa, avocado, tomato and salad with a generous drizzle of dressing is delicious and with enough to make it a proper meal on its own. The salad and dressing are so good on their own that it’s really easy to make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken and replacing it with some feta or halloumi cheese.

It just goes to show that sometimes its best to accept the day you’re going to have and keep on laughing. Friendship, laughter and lunch – what better way to spend the day!

chicken salad with harissa dressing

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g butter
  • 50g quinoa
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 400g tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 avocado (sliced)
  • 2-3 tomatoes (sliced)
  • 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 pomegranate (seeds only)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • salt & pepper

dressing

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp Belazu rose harissa
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Heat the sunflower oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Saute on both sides until the chicken is golden and cooked through, approximately 20 minutes depending on size. Once cooked leave to rest for 5 minutes before cutting up and placing on salad.
Make the quinoa as per the packet instructions, adding a chicken stock cube to the pan of water. (A vegetable stock cube can be substituted if making a vegetarian version). Once cooked drain and set aside to cool.
Place all the salad dressing ingredients into a small bowl and mix together to combine.
When ready to serve pile up the salad ingredients, starting with a layer of salad leaves on the bottom and building up from there with all remaining ingredients. Once the Chicken has been added to the plate sprinkle over some fresh parsley and a generous drizzle of salad dressing. Serve immediately.

 

 

Posted on

hake with a warm red quinoa salad & salsa, Laura’s birthday lunch

hake with quinoa001

Our friend Laura loves fish, it was her Birthday this week and I wanted to cook something tasty for her Birthday lunch. Michelle on the other hand insists that she “doesn’t like fish”, a statement which I am quite determined to prove wrong (it’s all in her head)! What to do? I then remembered a hake dish I had once at Moonfish cafe in Aberdeen. Now I’m not even going to try and say this is a accurate replica of the delicious dish served at Moonfish cafe, however this recipe is very much inspired by it. The warm salad, with the soft hake and the sharp/sweet salsa made for a lovely lunch, enjoyed by the three of us – yes even Michelle who doesn’t like fish!

hake with a warm red quinoa salad & salsa

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 80g red quinoa (cooked as per packet instructions)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1 mango (diced)
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g chorizo (diced)
  • 4 spring onions (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 100g cooked peeled prawns
  • small bunch coriander leaf (chopped)
  • 2 hake fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • salt & pepper

Directions

Cook the quinoa in salted boiling water as per the packet instructions, drain and set aside.
Add the diced avocado and mango to a bowl and squeeze over the juice of one lime. Set aside until ready to serve.
Heat 2tbsp olive oil over a medium in a non-stick frying pan and add the chorizo. Cook the chorizo for 5 minutes taking care to colour it but not burn. Add the spring onion and garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir through the prawns, chopped coriander and quinoa and gently keep warm. (If using uncooked prawns you will need to add them at the same time as the spring onion to allow them to cook through).
Meanwhile, over a medium heat melt the butter and further 2tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the hake fillets and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (this will depend on the size of your fillet).
Place the quinoa salad on a warm plate and lay the hake fillet on top. Spoon over any chorizo oil that may be left in the pan. Serve immediately with the avocado and mango salsa.