Oh isn’t it just heavenly to see the sunshine? I’ve been waking really early, the sun streaming through the curtains (this makes Mr E really grumpy but I LOVE it), making myself a cup of honey and lemon in hot water (current obsession) and wandering around the garden, watching Tails the cat hiding under the delicious-smelling jasmine (by the way, look at the size of him – will he ever stop growing?), watering my little terracotta pots of herbs and other bits and pieces, playing tug of war with Lyra…
We had a knackered old double garden benchy seating thing that was left by the previous owners when they moved. It was covered in peeling brown paint and was too rickety to sit on. It basically had become a dumping ground for old pots and other rubbish and was very unloved. I mentioned to Mr E that I’d love to sand and paint it (but obviously this was just a pipe dream because I’m, like, way too lazy for manual labour), then lo and behold the next day I came back to find him hard at work sanding it and screwing it all back together. LOVE that man. By the way, I know my fence is broken, but I kind of like it with that cluster of rambley climbing pink roses behind it.
And look how it turned out! I can see it from the kitchen window now when I’m at the sink – a bright spot in the garden that lifts the spirits and makes me want to head out there and curl up with a book and a glass of wine. I will do that. Soon.
Of course as soon as I typed this it bloody rained today, but still, MOSTLY I’ve been loving the sunshine.
Anyway, this weather also makes me want to eat delicious, colourful fresh food. One of my favourite combos is that fab mix of hot, sweet, salty and sour. This salad has fresh mango, hot chilli, creamy mozzarella and salty prosciutto. Basically all the good stuff in one plate. I added some poached chicken because I had some in the fridge, but it’s not compulsory. It’s so easy to put together too. You don’t have to mix the mango with the dressing, but I like the way the juice all seeps in to the dressing, and the mango gets hot from the chilli. Here’s how I did it:
1 ball of mozzarella
1 pack mixed leaves (something peppery for preference)
4 slices prosciutto
For the dressing
1 tbsp ginger
2 spring onions
Half a ripe mango
2 tbsp coconut oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 small red chilli
1 tbsp soy
So basically, start on the dressing by grabbing a bowl. Grate the ginger (I just keep mine in the freezer and grate it straight into the bowl), slice the spring onions, and peel and chop the mango (you can use a whole one, but I find a half is enough. Save the other half for breakfast). Chuck them all in the bowl.
Add the coconut oil, lime juice, and finely chopped red chilli, plus the soy, then mix it all together and leave it while you assemble the salad. Give it a taste. Sometimes it needs more of something.
Spread the leaves out between two plates, tear the chicken (if using) and the mozzarella and arrange it artfully over the leaves. Tear up the prosciutto and do the same thing – just flop it over the plate. Chop the tomatoes (I should have had some different colours, they would have looked fab), and scatter those around too.
Add a loaf of nice bread (this is Tesco’s Mediterranean bread – one of our favourites). Oh, and FILL THOSE WINE GLASSES UP!
By the way, this zingy dressing is divine drizzled onto avocados. If you don’t have mangoes, substitute a tablespoon of honey for sweetness. Squish onto toast or just spoon it straight in. Yum. I love summer.