The spring rains bring out all the best tender greens, and herbs become more reasonably priced too. As the daylight hours increase and the weather turns warmer, Spring-time snacking is a treat, especially outdoors. Accompany breads and grain-based salads with piles of fresh greens, preferably fresh from your garden. Sprinkle parsley liberally on baby potato salad; add chopped rocket to everything; and use watercress in spicy broth-based soups and to accompany sandwiches and roti rolls. Enjoy!
Sliders & Greens
Mini ‘burgers’ or sliders, are big trends on the global food menu, especially when packed with nutritious pulses and grains tucked into fresh mini buns. Make it easy by using canned beans - Canadian Red are perfect. Chill cans overnight as this helps bind the mixture. Drain the beans and smash roughly with a potato masher or fork. For 2 cans of beans, add ½ a chopped yellow pepper; 2 chopped spring onions; and 4 tablespoons rolled oats. Season with freshly chopped coriander; mild chilli powder; smoked paprika; salt & black pepper. Mash well, form into small balls and flatten, then shallow fry in olive oil, taking care not to break them up as you turn them over. You can warm or toast the buns just before serving, then add the mini patty and a little mayo. Hold together with short kebab sticks and serve on a bed of freshly chopped spring greens sprinkled with little pickled gherkins.
Crispy Baby Potato Salad and Rough Green Pesto
Tender baby potatoes, steamed until perfectly done, are one of the joys of spring-time eating. Choose potatoes with unblemished skins so that you can keep the skins on, and steam or boil until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. In your blender or processor, put 1/2 a cup of blended canola and olive oil; some roughly chopped almonds or cashews; 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; 1 clove of garlic; 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but yummy); ½ a cup each of chopped flat leaf parsley, basil and rocket. Pulse until you have a thick rough pesto and season with salt & black pepper. Cut the cooled potatoes in half and heat olive oil in a shallow frying pan. Braise at low heat until crispy both sides. Turn into a wooden bowl and toss in the green pesto. Best served immediately, with the potatoes hot and crispy. Delicious moreish snacking!
Spicy Roti Toastie with Watercress Salsa
You will need 2 rotis per serving - I love the thin brown bread rotis available from certain Indian grocery stores. The filling can be any leftover curry but it must not be sloppy - spinach and potato curry; herbs curry; potato and butternut curry; and mashed chickpea and braised tomato curry are all fabulous. Lay the bottom roti on a heated dry griddle or cast iron frying pan then add the filling without going all the way to the edges. Place the second roti on top and heat through, turning when the bottom roti is going golden and the filling has heated through. Pre-prepare the watercress salsa. Clean and finely chop the watercress; add finely chopped Roma tomatoes; avocado; spring onions; salt & pepper; fresh green chilli (de seeded); and chopped coriander. Serve the heated roti snack cut into quarters with a pile of green salsa on the plate. Yum! Be ready with second helpings.
Watercress Broth & Grilled Tomato Bruschetta
Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and add 1 red onion, chopped; 2 cloves of garlic; 1 knob of fresh ginger root, chopped; and 1 or 2 green chillies, de seeded. While these are frying gently, clean and chop 2 bunches of watercress and reserve. Add 2 cups of boiling water to the onion mix and simmer until all the flavours are nicely mixed. Strain and put broth back into the pot, adding Himalayan salt, cayenne pepper and the juice of one small lemon or lime. When simmering, add chopped watercress. Turn off the heat and put the lid on the pot. The watercress will wilt in the broth and the soup is ready to serve in 5 minutes. For the bruschetta - brush slices of ciabatta or baguette with olive oil and run a clove of garlic over each slice. Place under a slow grill and turn, or pop into a slow oven to get crispy. Slice baby roma tomatoes, season with salt and chopped coriander and a sprinkle of cayenne, then shallow fry in a little hot olive oil. Place a couple of tomato slices on each crispy bruschetta, and serve with watercress broth. Watch the sun sink below the horizon. Enjoy!