I’m always amused at the ways Dom of Belleau Kitchen comes up with to entice people into joining his Random Recipes challenge each month. For April he’s decided to enlist the help of an interactive ‘thingummydoodah’ to make the process simpler (because nothing is more tedious – or frightening – than counting your cookbooks, right?)
For once the gods of Random Recipes smiled upon me and the thingummydoodah chose Fiona Beckett’s Cheese Course. There are no prizes for guessing the focus of this lovely book, which looks at wine and cheese matching (or whisky and cheese matching, if that’s your thing), designing cheese boards and choosing cheeses for entertaining, along with a generous handful of recipes.
It’s not exactly spring in New Zealand at the moment (though it is unseasonably warm and it is definitely raining a lot) so I was really hopeful that the book would fall open at Fiona’s delicious macaroni cheese recipe (with crispy wafers of Parmesan scattered throughout so no one misses out on the crunchy bits). But as we eat a lot of feta, cucumber and olives in our house, landing on this recipe was surely a sign from the cheese gods.
Feta, cucumber and mint spring salad
Fiona says this recipe comes from London restaurant Ransome’s Dock, which in turn adapted it from a dish at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. She’s given me her kind permission to reproduce it here. Don’t quote me on this but if you’re on Dr Michael Mosley’s 5:2 diet, it strikes me that this salad offers quite a lot of bang for your calorie buck.
2 mini cucumbers (or about half a telegraph cucumber)
2 handfuls of rocket
a small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
150g feta, broken into small pieces
10-15 small black olives
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
a squeeze of lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the dressing, put all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until well combined.
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon. Slice lengthways, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, until you have a pile of wafer-thin slices. Slice the radishes thinly on the diagonal.
Put the cucumber, radishes, mint and rocket in a bowl and toss together with the dressing. Add the feta and toss lightly again, then scatter over the olives. Divide the salad between two plates and serve with crusty bread. Serves two as a light lunch.