Late summer salads

Our member Roselyne, who runs vegetarian and dairy-free cookery courses professionally, has kindly offered to provide recipes and tips for making the most of our produce. They will be posted here every week or two, and we hope you enjoy them!  

With the Indian Summer we have been lucky to experience in the last few weeks, and the selection of fresh organic food coming to us straight from the field, I seem to have carried on eating a plentiful range of salads especially for lunch, and my juicing habit is back on track! This is good news as raw foods have plenty of beneficial enzymes, which our body gets depleted of as we get older. Eating plenty of raw foods is also the best way to have a truly plentiful intake of fresh vitamins and minerals!

I have attached some ‘salady’ pictures of dishes I prepared with our produce; the first one above shows how the various delicious leaves, the little yellow and red cherry tomatoes and the fragrant fresh basil combined beautifully with chopped avocado. Next to it is one of the cucumbers (prepared as per the method in post dated 20th August) which gives me delectable soft slices on the side.

My second salad uses some of the runner beans: to prepare these, top and tail and either string carefully or cut down the sides to remove any tough strings. Cut beans in 2.5cm (1 inch) size pieces and boil for 5–10 minutes until just tender, then cool down. Once cold, these can be added to French-style Salade Nicoise or simply a chunky tomato salad, as in the picture. I have served these with another leafy salad and soft boiled egg.  Do you notice my courgette ‘spaghetti’ underneath? This is actually very successful. Peel the skin off a small to medium courgette, cut spaghetti shapes using a canele knife or julienne peeler, season them with a little salt and leave to stand for 5–10 mins. Do not cook; it is a good way to use courgettes in a novel raw food way!

The third picture is a mixed salad made with grated raw courgettes, carrots and beetroots. Dress your salad with a seasoned dressing of balsamic vinegar, a little walnut or organic sunflower oil and this will make another tasty salad. Here I have sprinkled some ground pumpkin seeds over, for extra nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc.

Something for the lovers of hot, cooked, warming food now! Use chopped courgettes in any tomato- based sauce or make a hearty Pistou or Minestrone-style soup, which will be very nutritious and filling: Heat up 45ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil in a saucepan and fry your onion and courgettes with or without the skin left on for 10 minutes. Cover with two to three inches of a good flavoursome tomato stock, the contents of a 400g (14oz) tin of drained cannellini beans or white kidney beans and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes; then add a chopped red pepper, plenty of garlic, fresh chopped chilli, season with bouillon powder and salt and pepper. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Chopped spinach or chard leaves can be added towards the end too, or alternatively add small cooked pasta such as ‘angel hair’ or leftover spaghetti, cut into 2.5–5 cm (1–2 inch) long pieces.

Alternatively make a green courgette soup: Melt some butter or 2–3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and gently fry for 10 minutes 350g (12oz) chopped courgette (with skins on), 300g (10oz) runner beans and 250g (8oz) organic peeled potatoes (chopped into small pieces). Cover with 560ml (1 pint) of water and 2tsp bouillon powder or a crumbled organic stock cube, add a good pinch of chopped fresh or dried rosemary and bring the mixture up to the boil; simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, then add 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley (optional). Process in a blender for a very short while – no more than 5 seconds!! – so that you are left with texture (and not baby food!) and colour. Adjust the consistency with a little water if necessary and season to taste. Serve with a swirl of cream, if liked.

I also made a carrot and coriander soup with our beautiful yellow and orange carrots: Heat up 1–2 tablespoons organic sunflower oil in a pan and add half a chopped onion and 450g (1lb) carrots chopped into small pieces; cook on a medium heat without browning for 10 minutes. Add 560ml (1 pint) water and 2 teaspoons bouillon powder and simmer for 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Process in a blender until smooth, add 3 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander and process for a few more seconds, so the coriander is only partly chopped. Put the soup back into a saucepan and season to taste. If you don’t like coriander, this soup can be made adding 1–2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger with the onions and carrots instead.

After all this, don’t forget to make a lovely apple and blackberry crumble with your apples, or simply peel and cook them for 4-5 minutes with a little sugar and serve them with a home-made confectioner’s custard. Delish!

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