Great cucumber and avocado salad

The wonderful food blog, “Smitten Kitchen” has come up with a version of a lovely and easy salad to have either as a main course or as a side to some grilled protein.
The salad is gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian and takes about 5 minutes to put together.
There are many ways to adapt it, too. You can add some thinly sliced Romaine hearts for bulk, but still leave it predominantly a cucumber and avocado bowl.
The scallions weren’t in the original recipe, so if they’re not your “thing” skip them.
If you’re not into lime, cilantro or parsley, try lemon and dill.
If you’re not into mayo, try using yogurt…

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Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

3/4 to 1lb seedless cucumber, washed and chopped into chunks
2 thin or 1 regular scallions, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, pitted and diced
2 tbsp mayonnaise (I use Vegennaise)
Juice of half a lime, plus more to taste
Salt and hot sauce (we used Sriracha) to taste
Chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Combine the cucumber, scallions and avocado in a bowl.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, lime and seasonings, adjusting levels to taste.
Drizzle the salad with the dressing and garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Asian brown rice, avocado, ginger and peanut bowl

The combination of crunchy peanuts, creamy avocados, and the sweet bite of ginger make for a dish that’s full of complex flavors, yet easy to make. Serve it on its own or with tofu for a vegetarian meal, or add grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp.

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1 cup short grain brown rice (or leftover cooked short grain brown rice, then miss the rice-cooking part of the recipe))
Kosher salt, to taste
3 1⁄2 tbsp soy sauce
3 1⁄2 tbsp. mirin
3 1⁄2 tbsp. sake
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
1⁄2 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup pickled ginger, thinly sliced. (Available from the Asian section at your supermarket. It’s in a glass jar)
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1⁄4” pieces (1/2 moon shape)
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the rice, stir it once, and boil, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer over the sink; cool to room temperature.

Combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar in a 2-qt saucepan over medium-high; cook until sugar has dissolved, 3-5 minutes. Cool the sauce slightly. (It is a teriyaki sauce)

Combine rice, teriyaki sauce (You may only need half of it at the most. taste to tell), the cilantro, peanuts, ginger, scallions, avocados, cucumber, and zest and juice in a bowl; transfer to a serving platter and garnish with cilantro.

** I had some leftover salmon in the fridge and put chunks of it in the salad and it was delicious!

Chilled spicy cucumber, avocado and coconut milk soup

Give me anything curried and I’ll walk miles for it!  I love this because there is no cooking and it tastes as if you’ve been slaving for hours in the kitchen. You can vary the garnishes.


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Two 12-ounce cucumbers—peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Hass avocados, coarsely chopped ( try just one to start with as it may be too thick with 2)
2 teaspoons Thai green or yellow curry paste (Try less to start with and taste it)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
3 ½ cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (use lemon if you cannot find limes)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
10 cilantro sprigs, for garnish

In a food processor, puree the cucumbers until smooth. Add the avocados, curry paste, sugar, lime zest and chili.
Process until blended. Add 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth, the coconut milk and lime juice and process until smooth. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the coconut over low heat, stirring a few times, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Let cool.
Ladle the soup into small bowls or cups, garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and cilantro sprigs and serve.

Gorgeous Greek gazpacho with feta cheese

This is such a lovely, refreshing and vibrant dish on a hot summers day and so easy as there’s NO COOKING!!
I saw Ina Garten making this on the Food Network and immediately ran to the computer to get the recipe. It’s richer and more interesting than the usual slightly watery and one dimensional gazpachos one gets in many restaurants.
When we start our kitchen remodel in a couple of months, this will be a staple, along with several other great chilled soup recipes as we will be without the kitchen for 2 months.


 Serves 8 to 10
2 thick slices day-old bread, such as Ciabatta
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp freshly chopped oregano leaves
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
5 tbsp good olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 red onions, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 (46 oz) can good tomato juice, such as Sacramento
4 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz good Greek feta cheese, small-diced, not crumbled

Place the bread, garlic, oregano and parsley in a food processor and process until everything is finely chopped.
Add the vinegar and olive oil and process again until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
Place the peppers, red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes and olives separately in the food processor and process until very coarsely chopped. Add to the mixing bowl.
Add the tomato juice, salt and pepper and stir well. Taste for seasoning, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours for the flavors to come together nicely.
Fold in the feta and serve chilled.

Thai cucumber salad with curry-lemongrass dressing


This is divine with broiled salmon and has such a clean, zingy flavor to it with the gorgeous lemongrass and curry.

Serves 8

The dressing
1/2 cup brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp curry powder
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, minced
1/2 tsp salt

The salad
2lbs English cucumbers (about 6 medium ones) peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 scallions, sliced thinly and diagonally
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts

To prepare the dressing
In a bowl, combine the rice vinegar, curry powder, sugar, garlic, lemongrass and salt.

To prepare the salad
In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, jalapeno, scallions and cilantro and marinate with the dressing for 15 to 20 mins before serving.
Roughly chop the peanuts and sprinkle over the top of the salad just before serving.





Sesame-Ginger and Cucumber Soba Noodles

Gorgeous!! Soba noodles tossed with scallions, cucumber and a light yet creamy sesame -ginger tahini sauce.

8 oz soba noodles (about 2 bundles)
1 large or 2 small English cucumbers
1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped (about 3/4 cup, chopped)
1/3 cup tahini<
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp white miso
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
A handful fresh cilantro, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sesame seeds, (preferably black)
sea salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the soba noodles until al dente, according to the package directions. (Do not over cook them) Drain and rinse under cold water.
Using a chef’s knife or better yet, a julienne peeler, slice the cucumber into long skinny strips. Toss out the super-seedy inside strips. Then you can slice the remainder into 3 inch long strips or leave them long.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, rice vinegar, ginger, miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Once blended, whisk in water until you reach your desired consistency.
Toss the soba noodles in the sesame-ginger sauce. Toss in the cucumber strips, scallions, sesame seeds and extra cilantro if desired.
Season to taste with salt or more soy sauce.
This dish is best served promptly, as the salt will draw out the water from the cucumbers and dilute the flavors.

Peanut Butter Hummus with cucumber dippers

For those peanut butter addicts!!!

3 tbsp creamy or crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I use roasted)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/8 tsp Kosher salt
1 (151/2 oz ) can chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
7 tbsp water
1 English cucumber, cut into 48 1/4 inch thick slices

Place the peanut butter in a small microwave – safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 20 seconds.
Combine the peanut butter and the next 7 ingredients (through the garlic) in a food processor.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the water/
Process until smooth.

Serve with the cucumber dippers

Cucumber, feta, mint and dill salad

Such a lovely blend of flavors.

Serves 4

4 oz Greek feta cheese
4 lebanese (short) cucumbers
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped dill
1 tbsp dried mint
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Crumble the feta cheese into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
Peel and seed the cucumbers and cut into 1/2 inch dice. Add to the bowl along with the onion and dill.
Grind the dried mint in a mortar and pestle or force through a sieve until powdered.
Combine with the olive oil and lemon juice then season with salt and pepper.
Pour over the salad and toss well.


Spicy jerk prawn and mango, black bean tacos with a Caribbean coconut dressing

I just love the BBC Good Food website and magazine. Interesting, exotic and very different flavors from the Caribbean

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12oz raw peeled prawns
1/2 tbsp Jamaican jerk paste
14 to 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large ripe mango, stoned, peeled and diced small
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 seedless or de-seeded cucumber, diced small
A bunch of cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
8 taco shells
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 Boston Bibb lettuces or romaine, shredded

For the dressing
6 fl oz unsweetened coconut milk
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 good pinches of sugar

Stir the prawns and jerk paste together in a bowl and set aside.
Mix together the dressing ingredients.
Tip the beans into a bowl along with the mango, onion, cucumber, most of the cilantro, the dressing and some seasoning
Warm the taco shells following the packet’s instructions.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the prawns and cook for 2 -3 mins or until cooked through.
To build the tacos, start with a handful of shredded lettuce, followed by the bean salad, then top with the prawns.
Sprinkle over the remaining cilantro and serve.

Use up leftover taco shells by crushing and scattering them over a salad for some extra crunch or blitz them in a food processor and use to coat fish or chicken when frying in place of breadcrumbs.

Broiled salmon with cucumber raita

Beautiful, light, unusual and easy!

Serves 4

2 tsp curry powder
4 tsp whole grain mustard
4 salmon fillets about 6 oz each, skinned (preferably wild)
1 large English cucumber. peeled, seeded and diced small
1 cup red onion, diced the same size as the cucumber (small)
1/2 cup plain thick yoghurt. (Not low fat)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Coat the salmon fillets in the mustard and sprinkle on 1 tsp of the curry powder then season with salt and pepper. Set aside until the raita is made.

Diced cucumber

In a bowl, stir together the remaining tsp of curry powder, cumin,cucumber, red onion, yoghurt, cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until serving. (About 1 hour so the flavors can blend)

Cucumber raita

Put the salmon fillets under a broiler and broil until just done but don’t over cook.
Serve with the raita either over the salmon or under the salmon

NB   You can also poach the salmon then chill it, making the dish a cold one, but I like the salmon hot.