Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Simple Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

I'm back! The last month has got the best of me; a combination of vacation, children and a visit from my parents has stalled my blogging. I've had tons of ideas but a lack of opportunity to post.

So, with school (and Kindergarten for my oldest, gulp) around the corner, I'm enthused to get back in the groove. Tonight's little salad is a version of an endlessly useful summer combination. The zucchini are still in season and delicious. There are always beans in my cupboard, lemons or limes in my fridge and basil in the garden. So, whip them together, crunch some black pepper on top, add a little Parmesan and you have yourself and great dish. Its one of those refreshing but hearty summer salads. It makes a tasty lunch, dinner on it's own with crusty bread (my latest obsession...more soon) or as a side for fish or chicken. The choice is yours.

Zucchini and Chickpea Salad


3 small zucchini, cut into your choice of bite sized chunks
1 small lime, juiced (or lemon; I had run out)
1 oz Parmesan cut roughly into small chunks or crumbles
1 can of chickpeas rinsed to reduce the sodium content (any white bean could substitute)
A handful of fresh basil and parsley leaves (feel free to substitute)
1/4 red onion finely chopped (could substitute scallions)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to your taste


  1. Mix the ingredients together and if possible let them sit for an hour or so to let the flavors come together.

Simple as that.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Sides part 2: Grilled Ratatouille

I'm experiencing a rediscovery of my Jamie Oliver books this past week. My friend Jayne has raved about his food revolution book. It seems her family cannot get enough of his recipes, so I decided to pull out one of my old Jamie books and get inspired. My current obsession is Jamie's Dinners. I want to make nearly every recipe in there and I'm not quite sure why I haven't!

Anyway, it was Jamie who assisted my latest ratatouille creation last weekend. I'd really been craving this dish and so wanted to make sure it wasn't a let down when I made it. Not to mention I was serving it to our wonderful neighbors for dinner. As it was a fiercely hot weekend here in the northeast, I opted to cook the whole recipe on the grill. I just used my roasting tin as my pan and my grill as an oven. It all worked out just fine. You can, of course, use your oven at 375°F/ 190°C.

(loosely based on Jamie's Dinners: Grilled and Tray Baked ratatouille with white fish)

Serves 6


3 red peppers, chopped into bitesized pieces
1 red onion, halved and sliced
2 medium eggplants, chopped into bitesized chunks
6 zucchini and or summer squash, chopped into bitesized chunks
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 large (1lb 12oz/ 800g) can of whole tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the grill on medium
  2. Heat the roasting pan on the grill and add some olive oil
  3. Add the onion and leave to cook for approx 10 mins, stirring once
  4. Add the eggplants, zucchini, garlic and peppers.
  5. Cook for approx 6 minutes, stirring a few times
  6. Add the tomatoes, half the basil, bay leaves, red wine vinegar and some pepper
  7. Reduce the grill to low and cook for approx 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  8. Serve with the remaining basil tossed on top