“It is a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that’s the right word) before the age of 30 on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom” – Pippa Middleton
Sunshine! Quick! Stick a salad recipe up before they take it away again! This one is almost topical too what with all the hoopla going on down under with K-Mid and HRH Baby Prince George. I also said hello to Father Middleton like some grinning lunatic in the street recently, thinking I knew him from work. (I still cringe when I re-live that). Anyway, she really does gets some stick doesn’t she old Pippa? I don’t really understand why. If somebody offered me a Vanity Fair column or £300k to write a book about parties I would bite their hand off. Was she meant to say no? Just so we are straight on this, her brother puts Instagram pictures on marshmallows for a living and yet SHE gets all the flack?
Haters gonna hate. As I believe the, er, cool kids say. For what it’s worth, I actually quite like the book – I have a signed copy no less (50% off in Waterstones, obviously). Yes, there is a lot of stating the bleeding obvious in it – stargazing is better when it’s very dark! – but I will tell you this: her Flying Scotsman cocktails were so successful last Burn’s Night that we drank all the whisky leaving none for the sauce for the haggis and sat down to eat after 10pm. Middleton Minor knows how to throw a party.
She also knows how to knock up a salad. This one was in her Waitrose magazine column yonks ago but it was so good that I ripped the page out and kept it. Pippa says that it’s full of zingy flavours, and I couldn’t really put it better myself. I was going to say that it was fresh, but then I lost 5 minutes of my life watching Kool & The Gang on You Tube (the sequins and lip-synching are mesmerising). I obviously had to put the link below. You can thank me later.
SMOKED CHICKEN, MELON AND RASPBERRY SALAD
(from Pippa Middleton’s May 2013 Waitrose Magazine column)
Difficulty: Ridiculously Easy
Crazy Ingredient Rating: Low
This will serve 2-3 as a main course salad. Pippa suggests adding bulgar wheat, which would be terrific and would make this even more substantial but I would up the dressing by at least half again. Feta is a great addition to this – I usually do this (although don’t seem to have a picture when I have). The original recipe uses Rannoch smoked chicken from Waitrose (obviously) which is very nice, but this would also work with leftover roast chicken if you can’t get hold of (or don’t like) smoked chicken.
Melon often gets singled out as a ‘bad’ fruit because of its relatively high sugar content (but it also appears on top ‘diet food’ lists all the time too. Such is the joy of “nutritional” advice) but it is really nutrient dense – a single serving of cantaloupe provides about half of an adult’s daily vitamin A and C needs. It is rich in beta-carotene and antioxidants and you are eating all the fibre too here to balance the sugar effect. Most importantly it is TASTY and works very nicely indeed in this salad. And we already know that cucumbers and tomatoes are good for us so we can move on swiftly.
Pippa served her salad in the scooped out melon halves as it was for a picnic menu. This is a little too twee for me so I used a plate (plates are GREAT for serving food at dinner parties!).
You will need:
- 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
- 250g melon, chopped into chunks (cantaloupe is my and Pippa’s preference but any ripe melon will do except watermelon. If you buy a whole melon for this you’ll obviously have leftovers or you could just buy it chopped up in those supermarket packs)
- 155g smoked chicken, sliced (155g is the Rannoch packet size. You can pretty much decide how much chicken you want to add)
- 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cucumber, deseeded, halved and chopped into small chunks
- large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 raspberries
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon leaves
NOW, I know that using 3 raspberries for a dressing is only well and good if you already have raspberries in or will definitely use them up (which shouldn’t be that tricky). I have a bottle of this raspberry vinegar from L’Olivier, which I love, and usually just use that with some olive oil and tarragon instead.
- Pop the sliced onion into some very cold water to soak for 10 minutes (this helps remove the raw onion flavour)
- Drain the onion and mix with the other salad ingredients in your serving bowl.
- Crush the raspberries in a bowl and then stir in the remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Season to taste.
- Toss the dressing and the salad together, taste and season again if needed.
Kitchen Song of the Day: Fresh – Kool & The Gang