Tag Archives: Yellow Pepper

Spring Pasta Salad – A Recipe

I thought that yesterday had the first signs of Spring in it’s step, a little more warmth in the air, the occasional blossom on the trees and most of the girls in London displaying more flesh than before.

There were a few friends popping over for an impromptu soireé and I found myself standing in the grocer’s staring at the produce, having a think as to what dish should herald the dawn of a season.

Pasta Salad at first does not really say Spring…that I will grant you.

We all know that Pasta should be used in hot dishes with sauces that have been lovingly nurtured from simple ingredients; not cloying mayonnaisey(sp?) plastic pots on supermarket shelves or big deep dishes of  farfalle next to a BBQ, with the sole purpose of soaking up the litres of Pimms that will follow.

Once in a while a little change can be a good thing, if Barrack says so it must be true. I have been a keen ‘leaf in pasta’ advocate for some time. A handful of rocket in any pasta dish always adds texture and spice. It was always used as a herb before its ubiquitous appearance in 80’s salads.

In essence this really is a Pasta Salad – Served warm and with  a lot of leaf it really makes a great simple supper.

Spring Pasta Salad

500g Spelt Penne ( Selezioni Monograno, Valentino Felicetti is my fave)

2 Red Onions

3 Pepper (Orange, Red and Yellow)

250g Chestnut Mushrooms

250g Sundried Tomatoes

200g mixed spicy leaves

200g Sugar Snap Peas

150g Blue Cheese (St Agur, Roquefort, Dolcelatte…whatever your preference)

25 ml Blasamic

50 ml Olive oil

10g Basil


Cut up the peppers, onions and mushrooms into large chunks. Chop the sundried toms into bite-size pieces.

Pop the pasta on to cook. Pop all the fresh veggies in a large frying pan with a little olive oil. Fry on a high heat for about 5 mins till all soft, they should retain their crunch. Keep warm.

Slice the sugar snap peas lengthwise in strips.

In a large serving bowl,  soften the cheese with the oil and balsamic vinegar and then shred and add the basil and sundried tomatoes. Season.

Drain the pasta and immediately add the hot pasta and hot veg to the serving bowl. Toss and coat the pasta and veg with the melting cheese dressing. Add the sugar snaps and the leaves to the bowl and toss.

If necessary add a few more tablespoons of oil to loosen.

Serve Immediately.

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Filed under Dinner Party, GC Recipes

Chilli Beef Salad – A Recipe/ Fridge Challenge

So this was not really a Fridge Challenge. I had most of the ingredients already and when I was in the shops t’other day they had some sirloin on special so I popped it in my basket without a real thought of what I was going to do with it. I have made this recipe a thousand times and Saturday lunch is a good time to have it.

You can tailor your crunch in this salad to your favourites. It works well as a winter salad as you have a great meaty kick with a spicy/tangy dressing. I love using sirloin for this when you want to make a 15 minute lunch/dinner, but you can marinate the meat overnight if you make a bit of extra dressing and use some rump or even slow cook some onglet or use a bavette steak instead. If you are hard pressed to get any of these cuts pop over and see Jack. The options really are endless, I have swapped out the beef for , Tuna and Duck before and just adjusted mix of the dressing a little and the colours in the salad.

I always cook by eye as well as by taste and touch. Things have to be pretty. Especially with salads, making them more interesting and tastier always ends up being a by product of me trying to make them look less green and boring!


1 untrimmed Sirloin Steak 300g

6-7 Radishes

6-7 Sugar Snap Peas

4-5 Spring Onions

1 Small Carrot

1 Stick Celery

Half a Yellow Pepper

1 Big Red Chilli

Some Mint Leaves

An Handful of Pomgranate Seeds

An Handful of Coriander Leaves

An Handful of Leaves (I love Mizuna, Baby Spinach and Oak Leaf in Winter)

An Inch of Peeled Ginger

Juice of 1 and a half Limes

1tsp toasted Sesame Seeds

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce


Season the steak with some sesame oil and soy sauce – about a teaspoon of each should do. Leave to one side.

Take the chilli and with some tongs turn it in the flames of your hob until the skin is black and charred all over – pop it in a bowl and cover the bowl with cling film. Leave it for about 10 minutes and it will steam itself a little and the skin will fall off easily under a running tap.

Peel the carrot and the string off the celery stick and continue to use the peeler to shave them into strips. Pop in a large bowl.

Thinly slice the radish, yellow pepper, sugar snaps, all but one of the spring onions, 3/4 of the coriander, half the chilli (without seeds) and mint. Add to bowl. Add the salad leaves and Pomegranate.

Take the ginger, remaining coriander, the last spring onion, other half of the chilli (with or without seeds depending on your tolerance) and a little of the lime juice and pound in a pestle and mortar or in a mini blender type thingy, until smooth.

In a bowl add the paste to the rest of the lime juice, 3tbs soy sauce, 3tbs sesame oil  and bring it all together with a whisk.

Pop the steak on until medium rare – obviously if you like it more or less cooked then that is your choice. (If you don’t know the timings of how to cook your steak have a look at Delia, if you are having a look at Delia I will know from my tracking page…) Trim the fat and slice thinly.

Dress the Salad and arrange on a plate, pop your steak on top and a tsp of the dressing. Sprinkle over a few sesame seeds.


Filed under Fridge Challenge, GC Recipes