Salad Days



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I don’t know about you, dear reader, but as the days heat up I want to spend less time in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. So I look to quick and easy recipes that will please me and those around my table. And what could be simpler than the two above? On the left is the plain, honest salad of greens, tomatoes and cucumbers beloved of the British, whilst on the right is the perennially popular Italian: Ton e Fagioli – canned tunny fish and a can of red kidney beans. Easy-peasy to make….

1) Open the cans and drain the liquid, which you won’t need.

2) Empty the contents in to a salad bowl and gently mix.

3) Chop half a dozen chive pieces or the green of a salad onion and sprinkle over.

4) Drizzle a little salad dressing (two thirds oil, one third white wine vinegar) over.

5) Serve, with fresh bread and a salad of greens, cucumber and tomatoes.

…and four more for your Salad Bar

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Either of these, or both, will be well received when you serve them. On the left is the famous Lebanese Fattoush. This is a basic chopped salad, in which are stirred little slivers of crispy, fried, Pitta bread and topped with a slice of grilled Halloumi for each diner. In the right hand picture is a salad of cooked spring vegetables. Mine contains small pieces of celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, peas and sweet peppers. After stir-frying for a few minutes, set aside to cool and then sprinkle a few drops of vinegar over and stir. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.      


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On the left, above, is another salad with a cooked item – this is called Salade Tiède. The uncooked ingredients are chopped tomatoes, cucumber and salad onion, which are mixed with fried ham or Lounza and fried bread, both chopped into small pieces and when cooled a little are mixed together with a little oil and lemon dressing. It is best served slightly warm. On the right is a mixed salad plate: chopped cooked mushrooms in cream, talatouri (cucumber, yogurt and mint) and traditional mixed salad).



Quite unnecessarily, I felt good the other day when I turned the pages of my copy of THE TIMES (of London) and saw two news items, side by side. The headlines were:




I like to think I’ve known this for years! Taking MARMITE first, I have had toasted bread with butter and Marmite spread upon it for breakfast most days of my life since I was four (and before that my mother was putting dollops of it in her home-made vegetable soups for added flavour). Wine drinking started a bit later. A daily glass or two (or three) began when I was 20, so that’s only 65 years. At the beginning I used to worry about being a wine drinker, because in Britain, then, it was not at all customary. Then, in the course of my work, one day I read in a learned medical journal of a clinical study of wine drinkers in France. This compared two sample groups of three males. The first drank one litre of red or white wine a day; the second two litres; and the third, three.

In the red wine groups, at the end of the study period, examination showed that those drinking ONE litre of red were in better physical shape, those drinking TWO were about the same, and those imbibing THREE litres were in poorer condition. In the white wine group, those drinking ONE litre were unchanged in condition; those drinking TWO litres of white were in slightly worse condition and those taking in THREE were in noticeably poorer health.

So, thus encouraged I continued on my life’s journey with, mainly, two or three glasses of red wine a day.