Summer Salads: Sweet & Savoury

We’ve survived our first week in London and are rolling through our second armed with a bottle of Factor 50 sun block and an industrial fan. London is hot. Whereas in Scotland a proper summer is breaking news, the sunshine in the deepest south doesn’t look like it will go into hiding anytime soon, with a heat wave scheduled over the next few days.

I’m not complaining, but as I’m from north of the border you have to understand being able to wear shorts, dresses and wedges day after day is something we normally reserve for holidaying in the South of France. I do however love the fact my summer wardrobe is getting an airing and it hasn’t quite yet gone into hibernation for another year.

The heat however has meant it’s been time for the salad to take centre stage in the kitchen. And no, I’m not talking lettuce leaves. A salad can have a lot more substance to it’s body with a little imagination and they don’t all have to be savoury. Poached peaches with raspberries served with a G&T {Edinburgh Gin for a taste of home} is a great way to round up an evening and is currently my taste of summer 2014 thus far.

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Salad

1. Prep your salad by placing a mixed bag of salad leaves into a bowl along with 125g of cherry tomatoes halved.

2. Boil four eggs until hard, leave to cool, remove the shells and cut into quarters. Place the quarters into the salad.

3. Chop two sweet potatoes into slices and boil them until tender. Drain them and place on a baking tray under the grill for four to five minutes. Turn them once they begin to darken in colour and resemble sweet potato chips. Add the chips to the salad and mix everything together.

4. Finally chop one chorizo sausage into slices and gently fry on a low heat on both sides until they begin to darken in colour. You don’t need to add any oil as the chorizo will cook in its own juices. Once ready add the chorizo and the oil over the top of the salad. Serve with crusty bread.

Mango & Avocado Salad with a Chili & Lime Dressing

1. Begin by making the dressing which you can store in an airtight jar. Add the juice of one lime to three tablespoons of a good quality olive oil along with half a red chilli chopped into little pieces and mix everything together well.

2. The salad part is pretty simple. You’ll need two ripe and ready avocados and one mango. Chop both into chucks once you’ve peeled them and removed the stones. Place these on a plate along with 14 cherry tomatoes halved. Add a good handful of chopped coriander and drizzle as much or as a little of the dressing you want on top.

Poached Vanilla Peaches & Raspberries

1. Firstly score a cross in the bottom of each of the four peaches, which are at their very best right now. Then add 700ml of water into a pot along with 8 tsp. of Xylitol (or caster sugar) and add the seed of two vanilla pods. Bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved while stirring continually. Cook for 15 minutes on a gentle heat and then add the peaches. Be sure they have room and they are not on top of one and other. Cook the peaches for a further 15 minutes, spooning the juice over the top of them. Once ready the peaches should be soft and tender.

2. Remove the peaches from the juices, allow to cool and you should be able to remove the skins easily.

3. Boil the remainder of the juice until it has become a darker red colour and looks more like syrup. Pour over the peaches and add 125g of raspberries, which will cut through the sweetness of the peaches.

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