Shelley’s recipes

Healthy family favourites from the Purchon household

Raw carrot with fresh lemon juice and toasted cumin seeds are combined to make this delicious Moroccan salad. I’ve also thrown in 3 bonus salads which I make all the time because they’re so easy. Read on to for some summer salad inspiration.

There are many variations out there on this classic Middle Eastern salad, but this is my personal favourite. Toasting the cumin really brings out its earthy aromatic taste, the sultanas are little bursts of flavour and the nuts provide an appealing crunchiness. I felt I was short changing you with such an easy dish, so I've thrown in three more salads which are even easier. 

Of course it's good for you to eat vegetables, and when they're raw more of the nutrients remain intact. The weakest link here is probably the potato salad - we can't pretend there's anything healthy about mayonnaise. But did you know that cold potatoes are better for you than hot ones? Somehow their prebiotic content goes up when they cool down, meaning that the good bacteria in your intestines will get more out of them.

I hope that you enjoy these salads - the first two are new discoveries but the others are easy dishes I've been relying on for years. Bon Appetite!

Carrot and Cumin Salad with Sultanas and Toasted Nuts

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp sultanas
  • Juice of 1 orange or lemon
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp flaked almonds
  • A pinch or 2 of paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method 

First mix the citrus juice with the sultanas and olive oil. If using lemon juice, add a pinch of sugar. Leave the sultanas to soak up the moisture while you prepare the other ingredients.

Toast the cumin seeds by dry frying them, then do the same for the almonds and pumpkin seeds.

Scrub or peel the carrots and then either grate them, or if you have a mandolin with a julienne function you could use it to make matchsticks.

Finally mix everything together and season to taste with the paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Green salad with mint and yoghurt dressing. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp olice oil
  • 4-5 large mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

You can make this delicious dressing in two minutes flat. Just measure the ingredients into an old jar and then shake well. It goes well with most salad ingredients, but if I’m serving tomatoes I put them on a separate plate (see below.) This version contained just mixed leaves, celery and spring onions because that’s all I had. Make the dressing ahead if you like but add it just before serving, or the leaves will start to wilt. Thanks to Riverford Organics for the dressing recipe.

Have you noticed the little herb garden at the bottom of our lane? Those herbs are there for passers-by to use. Why not snip off a little of the mint next time you’re passing? You only need a few leaves to make this.

 Tomato and basil salad.

My mum used to have a book called “I Hate To Cook.’ She no longer has the book but her position on the matter hasn’t changed. I guess like many women of her generation she associates it with drudgery. Her loss! I love cooking, but I am (as you may have guessed) self taught. This is perhaps the only recipe which has been handed down to me from her- she learned it on a family holiday. Does it count as cooking to arrange some sliced tomatoes on a plate and sprinkle them with basil? I think not, but it’s a winning dish and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  

Ingredients

  • Some juicy ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced.
  • Fresh basil leaves, picked, washed and torn.
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • Good quality olive oil and/ or balsamic vinegar.

Method

Slice the tomatoes shortly before serving to maintain freshness. Sprinkle with the basil and pepper and drizzle with the oil or vinegar.

 New potato and broccoli with dill mayonaise.

Thanks to my American friend Anna for this recipe. I recently reminded her of it and she had forgotten all about it! (Well it has been 20 years.) Our daughter Lanie is especially fond of this recipe, which is nice served with salmon, or in an array of salads. The yoghurt makes it far less claggy than your typical potato salad, and the dill provides an unusual flavour.

Ingredients

  • 750g new potatoes, washed and then scrubbed or peeled. Cut larger ones in half.
  • A similar volume of broccoli, cut into small florets.
  • 2 tbsp thick Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp dill (dried or fresh)

Method

Cook the veg then spread it out on a clean tea towel to dry off and cool down. Mix the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the veg and stir it all together. That's it!

A note about the photo. The recipe makes far more than shown but we had eaten half of it before I thought of sharing it with you. I didn’t have any broccoli so instead I added in some spring onions and celery for a little crunch. It worked really well but I guess it lacks superfood credentials without the broccoli. This time I also threw in some lemon zest (since I bought a good microplaner I have got a bit slap-happy with the lemon zest because it’s so easy to do.) I liked it a lot and will be repeating it. Remember to wash fruit before zesting it, and if possible use unwaxed lemons.