Smashing summery sides

Fancy a little something on the side tomorrow night? Give these smashed baby potatoes and this minty fresh quinoa salad a spin!

I need to go to bed so I’m going to make this quick, just like I made these delish side dishes. Ready, set, go!

Quinoa salad & smashed baby potatoes

Boil a bunch of fresh baby potatoes until they are cooked through. Arrange on a baking tray, ‘smash’ with a fork, drizzel with olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and place under the griller until they become golden and crispy. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan, freshly chopped parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice and serve immediately. Done and dusted!

Smashed baby potatoes

For the quinoa salad, cook 1 1/2 cups of quinoa (red or regular) to packet instructions then set aside to cool. Blanche a good handful each of asparagus and sugar-snap peas until just tender and put into iced water to refresh. Cube some fetta (about a pack of cards size black will do) and get a handful of snowpea tendrils washed and ready to go (or you could use baby rocket or spinach).

Quinoa salad with asparagus and sugar-snap peas

Once that’s all prepped whip up this amazing mint vinaigrette adapted from Pamela Salzman


½ cup fresh mint leaves

1 clove minced garlic

¼ cup roughly chopped red onion

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp sea salt

A good pinch of freshly ground black pepper

½ cup good olive oil

Splash of lime (or lemon) juice to taste

To make the dressing put everything except the lime juice and oil in a blender and blend together well, then, with the blender running, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream until it is gone. Taste and add the lime juice to give it that final zing. I like mine tangy but start with a little and see how you like it. The dressing will mellow out in the salad so dont be afraid if it gives you a little kick!

In a bowl combine the cooled quinoa, asparagus, snap peas, tendrils with the dressing and mix well then add the fetta and gently combine.

Lip smacking and best served with BBQ’ed crispy skinned salmon.

Quinoa salad with amazing mint dressing Potatoes, baby!

Sides, side by side

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The BBQ chicken we’re still talking about

Don’t go looking too closely at this picture because you might just notice that half the chicken breast is missing. Yes, my friends, it’s probably the worst food photo I’ve taken. A hunk of half eaten chicken and some left over salad. Why? Because it was so good that it was almost all gone before I came to my senses and took a photo!

We had a barbeque over the weekend with my brother, sister in law and my gorgeous Niece Rosie and I wanted to do something different from our usual fare so I looked online for a smokey, lip smacking chicken marinade that didn’t require the dreaded overnight element I love so much. This one took about 5 minutes to put together and is apparently effective with as little as 10 minutes marinating. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe found here. I love Jamie Oliver’s cooking style. He has nailed the kind of recipe that requires little time but has maximum impact. Unfussy but still special, easy yet still fun to make. I have been meaning to add more of his recipe books to my collection but while I love my recipe books they seem to sit pretty on the shelves while I go straight to my favourite recipe websites. This is because I tend to come up with an idea of what I want to cook first and look for a recipe or technique based on that, rather than having a blank canvass and looking at books for inspiration. It is much easier to type a few key ingredients into a search bar than to trawl through the index of 10 different books!

Marinade ingredients

Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp of hot chilli powder (or more if you like it hot)
1 ½ heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 skinless chicken breasts

Mix together all the ingredients (besides the chicken) in a bowl or container big enough to fit all the chicken breasts. Set aside 3 tbsp of the marinade in a separate bowl for basting. Put the chicken in the container and coat it well. Leave it to marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Get your BBQ nice and hot and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes each side, turning and basting every minute, but be careful not to overcook it as chicken breasts dry out easily.

Goes perfectly with a snowpea, rocket, cherry tomato and radish salad with honey lemon dressing (if you have a fabulous sister in law like I do, she might just bring one for you!)

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