A few weeks ago I was invited to an intimate gathering at Jamie Oliver headquarters to taste the British chef’s new range of summer salads. The salads were prepared with vegetables and greens from Jamie’s farm near Cambridge, sourced and grown by gardener and food writer Pete Wrapson.
On the evening I had the pleasure to meet some of my favourite Instagrammers, some of the lovely people from Jamie Oliver’s teams and the man itself, Jamie Oliver, who joined us at the dinner table. Later that night Jamie posted a group photo on his Instagram page, which was pretty awesome! The table was beautifully set for our dinner at Jamie Oliver’s office in north London.
The location was great: we were inside a warehouse with a test kitchen and incredible food props, that I would have gladly liked to borrow for my home! ;) Of course Jamie’s food team had styled all the food and drinks beautifully, so I was in my happy place snapping all of that with my phone and my DLSR camera!
There was a selection of beautifully presented summer cocktails, delicious starters (like the minted pea & yoghurt dip) and of course salads.
The dinner’s show-stopper was a deconstructed Eton Mess with meringues, rhubarb compote, fresh cream and lots of fresh berries.
I often eat salads for dinner, it’s good to have a light meal in the evening especially since I often eat quite late around 9pm. I eat out a lot, so whenever I have a night off to spend at home I really crave simple, fresh food. But I am also a bit lazy with my cooking and always make the same dishes over and over…so these salad recipes by Jamie Oliver are a great source of inspiration!
One of my favourites is the Superfood Salad with quinoa, avocado, feta and roasted sweet potato. I tried to re-create it at home last week and it worked out really well! It doesn’t take long to prep, as you just need to bake the potatoes, lightly steam the broccoli and cook the quinoa. All other ingredients are fresh and simply tossed together with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lime.
Serves six people.
- 700g sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 200g quinoa
- 1 broccoli
- 35g mixed nuts, such as walnuts, almonds or pine nuts
- 1 pomegranate
- extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 punnet watercress salad
- 1 fresh red chilli
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 ripe avocado
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 200g feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Scrub and chop the sweet potatoes into 2.5cm chunks. Place into a roasting tray with cayenne pepper and cinnamon, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little salt and pepper, then toss well. Spread out into an even layer and place in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions in a medium pan of boiling salted water. Wash the broccoli, remove the stalk and slice the broccoli into small florets. Steam for 3 minutes, or until just tender.
Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a pestle and mortar and crush lightly. Halve the pomegranate and squeeze the juice from one half into a large bowl. Add 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil, the lime juice and balsamic vinegar. Whisk well and season to taste.
Add the cooled broccoli to the dressing, then snip in the watercress. Roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all), finely slice the chilli and add to the bowl along with the quinoa and sweet potato. Toss well and spread out on a serving platter. Peel and chop the avocado and add it to the salad, together with the seeds from half pomegranate you have saved.
Scatter the nuts and crumble the feta cheese crumbled on top.