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Salads have enjoyed a welcome surge in popularity in recent years. No longer just a piece of limp lettuce, tomato and cucumber on a plate, there are endless potential combinations that will both delight your taste buds and nourish your health too. Summer is the perfect time to start experimenting, so here’s a few ideas to get you started….

Mozarella, peach and chicory salad - Serves 4 as an appetiser

You will need:
• 3 fresh peaches (cut into thin wedges)
4 handfuls of chicory leaves
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, torn into thin shreds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

1.    Arrange the peach wedges and chicory leaves into a large bowl and gently toss to mix. Arrange on a serving plate. Scatter the mozzarella pieces over the salad.
2.    Put the olive oil, vinegar and black pepper in a bowl, whisk with a fork and spoon over the salad to serve.

Broad bean, tomato and anchovies with fresh cheese - Serves 4

You will need:
150g podded young broad beans
8—12 cherry tomatoes, cut halves or quarters, depending on size
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
150g soft fresh curd cheese or ricotta cheese
4 salted anchovy fillets, cut in half lengthways
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint
Zest of ½ lemon

1.    Blanch the broad beans in a pan of boiling unsalted water for 4—8 minutes, until tender, then drain. Peel any that are larger than your thumbnail.
2.    Place the broad beans, tomatoes and spring onion in a bowl and dress with 4 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
3.    Spread out on a large plate, dot 4 dollops of curd cheese with 2 anchovy strips in a cross on top of each, followed by the shredded mint, lemon zest and a little black pepper.
4.    Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately.

Beetroot, puy lentil & feta salad - Serves 4

You will need:
1kg beetroot
400g puy (green) lentils
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
Handful of fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
3 tbsps red wine vinegar
8 tbsps olive oil
Juice of 2 small lemons
Large handful parsley, chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
300g feta cheese, crumbled

1.    Preheat oven to 180C. Put the whole beets in a roasting dish, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or so until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  
2.    Meanwhile in a pan with 1 ½ litres water, heat the lentils with the carrots, thyme and garlic to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are cooked.  
3.    Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix the lentils with red wine vinegar and 4 tbsps of oil. Leave to cool. Peel cooled beetroot, cut into chunks and combine with the lentils.  
4.    Add the lemon juice, the remaining oil, parsley, red onion and feta; lightly toss together and then serve.

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