SALADS were eaten in ancient Roman times, the word “salad” derives from “sal”, the Latin for salt.
Since salad vegetables were often salted and salt was also added to the dressing, the word came into being.
Once Rome fell so too did the popularity of eating this raw salted food.
One theory is that food hygiene practices were not the best and eating uncooked food could lead to ill health.
Disease and bacteria were instead boiled out of foods along with the flavour and probably most of the nutrients.
It took some time for salads to fall back into favour, now they are seen as a good way to inject some vitamins and nutrients into your diet.
A salad does not have to be just a bowl of lettuce leaves, ingredients can be combined in endless and delicious ways; although when in the mood a bowl of simple well dressed leaves can be a treat.
Any of these salad recipes below can be eaten as a summer dinner or served as sides at a party.
The fig and bacon salad is a particularly nice weekend lunch at this time of year, the sweetness of the figs and honey off set the salty smokey bacon very well.
Caesar salad was one of the original celebrity salads in the United States.
According to Julia Child, as well as others, it was invented by restaurateur Caesar Cardini in his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1924.
Tijuana became a party town during the prohibition years in America, as it is just a short drive across the border from San Diego.
Cardini was said to have created the salad out of leftovers for some late guests after a busy day in the restaurant.
He tossed and assembled the salad at the table in front of the guests.
It became a hit from coast to coast and then its popularity spread across the Atlantic.
I have come across a variety of different recipes for a similar bread to the one included, I use this quite simple one.
It has no flour so is easier to digest for those who do not eat too much gluten.
It is my go-to if I am low in flour — we always seem to have porridge oats and yoghurt in the house.
QUICK MID-WEEK MEALS
Heat a griddle pan to hot. Drizzle the courgettes with oil, paprika and seasoning and place on the griddle pan.
Cook until golden lines appear on the slices, then turn over.
Repeat the same thing with the mangetout.
Whisk together the lemon juice and zest, the honey, mustard and two tablespoons of olive oil.
Taste and season.
Toss the leaves in the dressing.
If you have extra left over you can keep it for another day in a sealed jar, in fact I usually make a larger batch of this vinaigrette as it is a good all-rounder.
Crumble the feta over the leaves and lay the griddled vegetables on top. Sprinkle with seeds and cracked black pepper.
Whisk the vinegar, honey, cardamom, half of the orange zest and oil in a bowl, taste and season.
Toss the carrots and cranberries and leaves in the dressing.
Stir in the sesame seeds.
Dress each salad with a quarter of the yogurt sprinkled with some cracked black pepper and the rest of the orange zest.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND
Whisk together the vinegar, honey, orange juice and some salt and pepper to combine.
Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.
Drizzle the figs with some oil and season them. Place into an oven hearted to 160 degrees until softened.
In the meantime fry the rashers in a pan until golden and crispy.
Toss the rocket leave in some of the dressing and place into a large bowl.
Sprinkle with the mozzarella, bacon and toasted walnuts and drizzle some of the remaining dressing over top.
Spoon the figs over the whole lot making sure to get all of the juices from the dish.
Serve in a large bowl with the crunchy bread on the side.
Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 2 lb loaf tin.
Put the yogurt into a large mixing bowl.
Add the porridge oats and sieve in the bread soda.
Add in your salt, seeds and fruit if you are using.
Mix well until a thick dough is formed.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing down the top.
Place into the centre of your oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown.
You can test it with a skewer or knock on the underside to listen for a hollow sound.
Leave in tin for five minutes then turn the loaf onto wire tray to cool.
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