Irene's Chargrilled Asparagus, Zucchini & Haloumi

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This generous salad is a meal in itself. It is laden with enough colours, textures & aromas to be the centre of a light Spring supper.

Serves 4


250g (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup olive oil 

2 zucchini

500g asparagus 

150g halloumi, sliced

Salt & black pepper

For the basil oil

¼ cup olive oil

1 garlic cloves, chopped

25g fresh basil

A pinch of salt

¼ tsp black pepper


1. Snap the woody bases of the asparagus off and blanch for 4 minutes in boiling water. Drain & refresh under cold water, making sure the spears are completely cold. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss in 2 T of the olive oil and some salt & pepper.

2. Slice the zucchini very thinly lengthwise (use a mandolin if you have one, or a vegetable peeler). Mix with 1 T of the olive oil & season with salt & pepper.

3. Place a large griddle pan on the stove over high heat for a few minutes until very hot. Brush with olive oil. Grill the zucchini & asparagus, turning them over after a minute. You want to get nice char marks on all sides. Remove and leave to cool.

4. Heat 2-3 T of olive oil on the griddle pan and fry the halloumi cheese and cherry tomatoes for a 2 minutes on each side or until the cheese is golden.

5. To make the basil oil, blitz all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. You might want to double the quantity for some blender blades to be effective. Keep any extra oil for future salads.

6. To serve, place the zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes & halloumi cheese on serving plates. Drizzle the basil oil and serve.

Continue reading →

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Feta and Rocket

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

Today, Quinoa is known as a 'super grain' befitting its amazing nutrition profile. Quinoa is a balanced-amino acid source of high quality protein. It is naturally gluten-free, wheat-free, easy to digest and is among the least allergenic foods available. A versatile product, quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe.


500ml water

150g quinoa (either black, white or a mixture)

2 bunches asparagus (about 500g)

1 red onions diced into thin half moons (but these in a bowl with ice water for 10minutes to take the bitterness out of them)

1/2 cup crumbled Kingsmeade Castlepoint Feta

40g toasted almonds or Sunflower seeds

2T freshly cut parsley, chopped

2T lemon juice

2T olive oil

1t paprika

100g rocket from Zoe's Garden


Combine water and quinoa in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat a large chargrill on high. Spray lightly with oil. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Once cool, chop these into salad size bits.

Add the asparagus, feta, sunflower seed or almonds, onion and parsley to the quinoa.

Whisk the lemon juice, honey, oil and paprika in a small bowl until well combined. Add the dressing and rocket to the quinoa mixture. Season with pepper and toss to combine.

Continue reading →

Irene's Grilled Thai Chicken & Asparagus Salad (gluten free)

Posted on September 17, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This is a simple and delicious recipe using asparagus. Perfectly light, fresh and tangy thai chicken salad.

Serves 2


Chicken breasts 500g, sliced

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Juice from 2 lemons

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

250g asparagus, trimmed & halved

½ telegraph cucumbers, sliced

½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved


1. Place the chicken, chilli, lemon juice, fish sauce and sugar in a bowl and toss to combine.

2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the chicken and marinade. Cook, covered, for 4 minutes, and stir through and cook for another 4 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken.

3. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain & rinse under icy cold water.

4. Toss the asparagus, cucumber, cherry tomato in a bowl. Top with the chicken and spoon over pan juices.

Continue reading →

Al's Windsor Blue and Grilled Pear Salad with Mizuna and Crispy Walnuts

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This salad is the perfect contrast of salty blue cheese, sweet pear, fresh mizuna and the crunchy texture and deep nutty flavour of the walnuts.  Serve this as a side dish or a terrific first course. 


Step 1.  Crispy Walnuts


Canola Oil
150 gm walnuts


Pour the oil into a small saucepan and heat to a medium temperature.

Add the walnuts and fry until they have a light golden brown colour. Stir often. Remove the walnuts from the oil before they reach your desired colour, as they will continue to cook slightly once removed. Place on a paper towel lined dish to cool. Store in airtight container until required.

Step 2.  Pear and Fennel Seed Vinaigrette


1/2 tsp fennel seeds (toasted and ground)
3 Tbs shallots (finely diced)
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp sugar
3 Tbs pear vinegar 
1/2 cup walnut oil (or other nut oil) 
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper


Place the ground fennel seeds, diced shallots, mustard, sugar and vinegar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Bring ingredients together with a whisk. Drizzle in the walnut oil whisking continuously. Once combined, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until required.

Step 3.  Preparing and Serving


3 large packham pears (peeled, quartered, then cut into 4 slices)
1 bag Zoe's Garden Mizuna
1 bag Zoe's Garden Rocket 
1 pot of watercress (leaves picked)
1 bag of Zoe's Garden Miner's Lettuce
Crispy Walnuts
Pear and Fennel Seed Vinaigrette
150 gm Whitestone Windsor Blue Cheese
Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Heat a large non-stick pan to a high temperature. Cook the pears quickly on both sides until they obtain a caramel colour.  Remove and cool. Repeat process until all the pears are cooked. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Take a large mixing bowl and combine the salad leaves, walnuts and pear.  Coat with a generous quantity of vinaigrette and mix through gently.

Serve salad onto plates or bowls and finish with some freshly shaved windsor blue cheese and a crack of black pepper.

Continue reading →

Irene's Quinoa & Grilled Sourdough Salad

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Jo Freeman | 0 comments

This is a light meal perfect for mid-week. The quinoa is light and delicate in contrast with the bread. If the tomatoes are sweet and juicy enough you may not need as much dressing to perk them up. Leave the salad to sit a little so the bread croutons soften up – unless you want them crunchy.

Serves 2


1/3 cup quinoa

3 slices of Zaida Bakery San Fransisco Sourdough bread

4 tbp olive oil, plus extra to brush the bread 

2 tomatoes, cut into roughly 2cm dice

½ telegraph cucumber, cut into roughly 2 cm dice

½ small red onion , thinly sliced

1 tbp chopped mint

2 tbp chopped Italian Parsley

Juice from 1 lemon

¾ tsp balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Salt & pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions (place quinoa in a 2/3 cup water and bring to boil, simmer for another 10 minutes or until tender).

2. Brush the bread with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, turning them over halfway. The bread should be completely dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down, then break by hand into different sized pieces.

3. Put the diced tomatoes and cucumber in a mixing bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the quinoa and croutons, and stir gently until everything is mixed well together. Season with salt & pepper.

Continue reading →

Scroll to top