Jan Bilton's cool solutions
Hurray, it’s time for simple summer food. Healthy salad vegetables are plentiful and a selection of greens, tomatoes, cold meats, stuffed eggs, cheeses or marinated fish are perfect for hot humid days — as well as for the cook. Just add some pickles and a dressing for a fabulous fast food feast.
If I feel the family are tiring of salads then I’ll innovate and introduce rice paper wraps so they can roll up their own choice of salad. Or provide halved capsicums — microwaved to soften slightly — piled with chopped salad veggies and cubed cheese. A hot microwave-baked spud or some chunky wholegrain bread balances the meal.
Watermelon, peas and mint are a great combo especially when served topped with salmon, either smoked or from a can. The salmon provides good omega 3 and the salad is refreshing and energising.
Salad dressings are all about sweet and sour. Oil is the sweet and the vinegar or lemon juice is the sour, and the balance should be just right. I prefer about half-and-half but test the taste by dipping a lettuce leaf into the mixture to evaluate it and then adjust accordingly. Add other seasonings — such as fresh or dried herbs, mustard or horseradish — after the base is prepared.
Add cooked fine noodles if you wish. Get the recipe
I used leftover cooked rice but you could use a 90-second rice combo and cook in the microwave. Get the recipe
If marinated buffalo cheese is unavailable, marinate some buffalo mozzarella or other fresh mozzarella in olive oil, crushed garlic, peppercorns and herbs (eg rosemary, thyme, bay leaf) for at least 1 day. Get the recipe