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Greek salad

The classic way with juicy tomatoes, olives and crumbly feta

Ingredients
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 200 g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 beef tomato
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 handful fresh dill
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 large handful black olives, stoned
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality Greek extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 g block feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Method

This salad is known and loved around the world. Those of you who’ve been lucky enough to eat this salad in Greece will know that when it’s made well it’s absolute heaven. Hopefully this recipe will help you achieve the big bold authentic flavours that it’s known for. The trick is to pay attention to the small details that make it so wonderful: things like finding the ripest tomatoes, good Greek olive oil, beautiful olives, creamy feta and lovely herbs.

I think it’s quite nice to have different shapes and sizes in a salad, so cut your medium tomato into wedges, halve the cherry tomatoes and slice the beef tomato into large rounds. Put all the tomatoes into a large salad bowl. Slice the onion very finely so it’s wafer thin and add to the tomatoes. Scratch a fork down the sides of the cucumber so it leaves deep grooves in the skin, then cut it into thick slices. Deseed your pepper, slice it into rings and add them to the salad along with the cucumber.

Roughly chop the dill and most of the mint leaves, reserving the smaller ones for garnish. Add the chopped herbs to the bowl of salad, then squeeze your handful of olives over so they season the vegetables, then drop them in.

Add a pinch of salt, the vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil. Quickly toss everything together with your hands. The minute all those flavours start working with the veg is when the magic starts to happen. Have a taste, and adjust the flavours if need be.

To serve, pop the block of feta right on the top of the salad. Sprinkle the oregano over the top along with the reserved mint leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and take it straight to the table. It’s confident and scruffy with a bit of attitude. Delicious.

PS I’ve been known to pop leftover Greek salad into a liquidizer with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a few ice cubes, then blitz it up to a smooth consistency so it’s basically a Greek gazpacho. It’s not a classic thing to do, but it is very delicious, not to mention a great way of using up leftovers!

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Grilled flatbreads with rosemary oil

Chuck ’em on the barbecue!

Ingredients
  • 1 batch basic bread dough
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • olive oil
  • a few sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • sea salt
Method

Follow basic bread recipe through steps 1 to 4. After the dough has doubled in size, you need to knock the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Now it’s ready to be transformed into pizzas or flatbreads.

Tear off chunks of the dough and roll out your bread, shaping into slightly irregular oval shape rounds, about 0.5cm thick.

Oil the grill on the barbie, then lay the flatbreads on top of the grill and cook them for about 3 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 3 minutes until they are golden brown, crispy and slightly charred – this’ll give them a real barbecued flavour.

Take the flatbreads off the barbie. Mix a couple of lugs of olive oil with the rosemary leaves and brush (or drizzle) over the hot breads. Sprinkle with salt and serve straight away while still warm.

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Grilled or roasted monkfish with black olive sauce & lemon mash

A posh little dinner

Ingredients
  • sea salt
  • zest of plus a little juice 2 lemons
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 4 x 200 g monkish fillets, fromsustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
  • olive oil
  • 2 bunches rocket, washed and drained

For the black olive sauce

  • 2 large handfuls black olives, stoned and very roughly chopped
  • ½ fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh herbs (basil, marjoram and parsley), finely chopped
  • 1 heart celery, yellow leaves chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lugs extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

For the lemon mash

  • 1 kg floury potatoes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
Method

Monkfish is a lovely meaty fish to cook. However, it does contain a lot of milky juices. This can sometimes be a pain because they tend to come out during cooking, so instead of roasting, grilling or frying, you end up almost boiling the fish in its own juices. So what I tend to do to stop this is season the fish with salt about an hour before cooking. This draws out any excess moisture – then I just pat it dry and get cooking. If you want to grill your monkfish, ask your fishmonger to butterfly the fillets for you.

In a pestle and mortar or Flavour Shaker, smash up 2 teaspoons of salt with the lemon zest and rosemary and rub this all over the fish fillets. Put the fillets in a dish in the fridge and let them sit there for an hour.

Now make your black olive sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the vinegar together. You want the sauce to have the consistency of a coarse salsa. Then carefully balance the flavours with the vinegar to taste.

If you’re roasting your monkfish, preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 just before the fish comes out of the fridge. Pat the fish dry with some kitchen paper and then pat it with a little olive oil.

Peel and halve your potatoes. Put them into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook until tender. Then drain and mash up with 6 tablespoons of olive oil and a good swig of milk. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. If you want to get your mash really smooth and creamy you can use a spatula to push the potato through a sieve once or twice. It doesn’t make it taste any better but it will make it silky smooth, shiny and lovely. Just depends if you can be bothered, really. If it needs thinning with a little extra milk, feel free.

To roast the monkfish, heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and fry the fillets in the pan for 2 minutes. Then turn them over and put the pan in your preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

To grill, place the the butterflied fillets on a hot griddle pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Whichever way you cook it serve the fish and the juices with a good dollop of the mashed potato, the black olive sauce and a little rocket dressed with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Really, really good.

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