A Request: Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad… and a great chicken recipe too!

Jemma’s coming to the end of her visit. The weather has not been the best- horizontal sleet, slush on the roads and freezing temperatures. Where’s all the fluffy snowflakes, bright sunny days and inches of white snow we experienced last year?

Being the unstoppable gal she is, she’s managed to pack quite a lot in despite the bleak weather. I’ve been clearing out cupboards and cooking: what else to do when you don’t want to be out in all that mess?

There’s a Vindaloo on the stove right now, but as it slow cooks, I thought I’d write down the recipe of the corn and cherry tomato salad you’d requested. You know how its done: I guess you just want to see it to be sure you aren’t missing anything.

I also cooked a chicken dish inspired from Anna Gare’s book again. It is so dead simple, but utterly delicious ( she’s amazing why had I not heard of her before?? Thank you, Tasha, for the introduction!). You would really like it with your salad I think, so here’s the recipe for both.

Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad

  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 cups of salad leaves of your choice (I use a combo of baby rocket  and spinach)
  • A handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dry roasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 a large sliced onion, sautéed till caramelized
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Olive oil
Method:
  1. Put the corn in a pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Once the pot is boiling, cook for about three minutes, but not much more, to retain a nice firmness of the corn kernels.
  2. While still warm, slide a sharp knife down the length of the corn cobs to obtain your fresh kernels.
  3. In a salad bowl, add all ingredients, except the lemon, oil and pine nuts.
  4. Toss the ingredients  together with a little good olive oil, some lemon juice to taste, and lastly, sprinkle over the pine nuts. Delicious!
Now for that stunningly simple and delicious chicken recipe, Izzy!
Gare’s Creole Chicken (sort of)
  • 4-5 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lime or lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cummin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a little oil for frying
Method:
  1. Flatten each piece of chicken on both sides with the back of a heavy knife.
  2. Place the pieces in a shallow bowl, pour over the citrus juice and mix well with a fork.
  3. In another bowl, put all the other dry spices and herbs together and mix well.
  4. Heat a very small amount of oil in a non stick pan, about a tablespoon.
  5. Press individual pieces of chicken into the spice mix, coat on both sides.
  6. Shallow fry for about 10 to 12 minutes each side.
  7. Alternatively, you could grill the chicken pieces.
  8. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, and a side of salad.
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The Lunchtime Omelette

One of the first things you request for lunch when you are home for a visit Izzy, is an omelette.

You love it stuffed with spinach and cherry tomatoes, fresh cilantro (coriander) and onion. We both agree that the caramelized onion really makes it.  The addition of chopped green chillis takes it to another level for me, but that’s me.

As this is your favourite omelette recipe, I will record it here exactly how you like it.

But don’t forget you can do so much with the basic recipe: add bell peppers, and other fresh herbs. Flat leaf parsley, and oregano. Basil of course, and mint. You can turn it into a frittata and serve it with a green salad on the side for a satisfying meal to share.  All you do it scatter the ingredients over the whole surface of the egg mixture, rather than on one half.  Instead of flipping one side over to form an omelette ‘envelope’, you reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let it all cook through like a quiche or a pie.  To make it hearty, you could add tiny brocolli or cauliflower florettes, or thin discs of potato.  All variations produce some nice results.

Also, a few tips:

  • use the best eggs you can find. I use free range Rowe Farm, your equivalent in the Southern Hemisphere would be the crazy good Green Eggs.
  • a tablespoon of milk is optional
  • to bulk up your egg, but keep it healthy still, add more egg whites, available in small cartons in the dairy section usually
  • I know you love the cherry tomatoes as an ingredient, but the more juicy little fellers you use, the more watery the mixture becomes, and the egg and tomato juices separate. Not a pretty mess.
  • one should  really use a non-stick fry pan for best results with eggs.  You’ll need a spatula or what’s called in America: an ‘egg flipper ’.
  • when greasing your pan before cooking, make sure there is no excess oil left before pouring in the egg mixture.

So, here, my dear is your original base recipe.

Isabel’s omelette for two

  • 4 eggs beaten well till bubbles form
  • one to two tablespoons of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • half a chopped onion, sautéed till soft and golden, and set aside
  • five cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • a hand full of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. With a fork, beat the eggs, add milk, and season to taste (1 teaspoon on salt is usually good). Mixture should be frothy.
  2. Pour into a heated, 20 inch non-stick pan
  3. When the edges start to cook and become firm, scatter the tomato, spinach leaves, cilantro leaves and onion in one half of the egg mixture.
  4. Use the egg flipper to gently coax the edges away from the pan.
  5. Turn the heat down, so it cooks gently
  6. When the liquid mixture is almost all gone, but still a little runny in the middle, gently flip the un-garnished side of the egg over to cover the other half. A little expertise over time will see you flipping the whole ‘envelope’ over to cook evenly on both sides.  Don’t worry if it breaks a little in your first few attempts: it is all in the taste after all.
  7. Another two minutes or so, and you should be able to slide it off onto a waiting plate!