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Al fresco lunch in no time



​Back in paradise at last. After a freezing week in the mountains (9 degrees is NOT an acceptable August temperature) I have migrated South to get some heat into my bones.

My lazy Provençale days revolve mostly around siestas, sunshine and snacking. I say snacking, I mean feasting. I’ll admit I’m being even lazier than usual and have so far been enjoying plenty of maman’s home cooked delights. I’ve now been left to my own devices for three days with a fridge impossibly full of delectable leftovers, including half a roast chicken, lovingly deboned. CM is coming for lunch today from Marseille, and I’ll just throw something together for a light al fresco meal. Tearing myself away from a lounger for more than fifteen minutes is barely tolerable, so here are two quicker than quick salads which go down extremely well with a crusty loaf. We’ll have nectarines and ice cream for pudding. The ice cream is artisanal and from the cute little village shop, so it counts as home made.

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Roast chicken salad with avocado and capers

Serves three, takes 5 minutes

salad / main / picnic / dairy free / gluten free / summer / spring / ready in a jiffy / easy peasy / nothing fancy / party / brunch

A good ol’ chicken salad is high comfort indeed and embarrassingly simple to put together. Yes, it helps to have delicious leftovers from a roast chicken. If you’re not as lucky, the easy option is to buy some ready roast meat, or else pop some lightly seasoned filets or legs into the oven in advance. Just give them time to cool off before you assemble the salad.

* Left over roast chicken - enough for three, off the bone, roughly chopped and skin removed

* Avocado - 1, peeled and chopped

* Mayonnaise - a few tbsp

* Dijon mustard - 1 tbsp

* Tarragon - a small handful of leaves, chopped

* Capers - a couple of tsp, drained

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Green bean, tomato and olive salad

Serves three, takes 10 minutes

salad / summer / autumn / picnic / side / easy peasy / nothing fancy / dairy free / gluten free / vegetarian / vegan / detox / party / date night / ready in a jiffy

There are plenty of variations you could play with here - sundried tomatoes, adding preserved lemon, tahini dressing (equal parts water and tahini, a squeeze of lemon and salt), roasted hazelnuts.

* Green beans - a few handfuls, topped and tailed

* Sage (or other fresh herb) - a few leaves, chopped

* Cherry tomatoes - a couple of handfuls, halved

* Black pitted olives - a handful

* Olive oil - a drizzle

* Lemon - juice of 1/4

* Toasted seeds - a handful (I used sesame, poppy and sunflower)

Boil the green beans in salted water for 4-5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can fry the sage leaves in olive oil on a high heat for a couple of minutes until crispy. This isn’t essential.

Mix all the ingredients except the seeds together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the seeds over the top to serve.


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