Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds ( from Jersualem by Yotam Ottolenghi)

◾1 tbsp white wine vinegar
◾1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
◾100 g Medjool dates, pitted and quartered
◾30 g unsalted butter
◾2 tbsp olive oil
◾2 sml pita ( gluten free can be used) torn into smallish pieces
◾75 g unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
◾2 tsp Sumac
◾1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
◾150 g baby spinach leaves
◾2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put vinegar, onions and dates in a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix well. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away the residual vinegar.
Meanwhile heat the butter and half the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the Pita and almonds and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring all the time until the Pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat, mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp salt and set aside to cool.
When ready to serve toss the spinach leaves with the Pita mix in a large mixing bowl, add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and another pinch of salt. taste for seasoning and serve immediately.


Carrot salad with Harissa dressing

This salad is so easy to make, has such beautiful colours and tastes delicious. Serve as a side or crumble some feta cheese on the top and serve with crusty bread as a main.

1kg carrots peeled and thinly sliced

2 tbsp olive oil

50g Harissa paste ( if you can’t find harissa you can use a mild chilli paste)

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

2 stp sugar

Salt to taste

Freshly chopped mint and or parsley

Crumbled feta cheese- optional

Thinly slice the carrots  into long ribbons, I do it using a vegetable peeler, and place in a bowl. Heat the oil in a small pan, add the garlic and harrisa and cook lightly, add the lemon juice and sugar and cook for a further minute. Pour over the carrots and toss well.

Let it stand for an hour ,plate up, garnish with chopped mint  ( top with the crumbled feta- optional)

Fried baby beetroot and chickpea salad with a coriander and cumin dressing/ Recipe from Ali Benamar’s Family Flavours

Although this is a simple salad it does require some over-night preparation, if you have the patience to follow Ali’s instruction you will be rewards with a beautiful salad, full of textures and flavours

  • 500 gms chickpeas, soaked in water over-night
  • Bunch of baby beetroot (6-8) preferably of similar size and with the stalks on. Cut the leaves leaving approx  2cm of the stalk,leave the root and the skin, wash well, cut in half and leave to dry on a paper towel over night.

Bring the water to the boil in a pot with a pinch of salt,add the chickpeas and boil until they are soft and crunchy, making sure they are not over cooked.strain and leave to cool

  • In a small bowl mix the beetroot halves with a pinch of salt,pinch of cumin, pinch of flour and two tsp sunflower oil, mix till they are well coated.

Put a few glugs of vegetable in a pan and once the oil is hot add the beetroot and fry for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool, remove from the oil and pat dry. The stems of the beetroot become crunchy and look like lace when fried, whilst the rest of it softens and sweetens, giving this salad its special texture and appearence

  • In a mid-size bowl mix the cooled beetroot , chickpeas, a bunch of chopped coriander,1/2 tsp cumin,1/4 tsp salt,1/4 tsp black pepper,1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1/4tsp Ras al Hanout, 4 tbsp olive oil , give it a good mix and serve.

This salad is ndelicious served sprinkled with feta and some fresh mint leaves.