Greek salad (15 mins)

In my humble opinion Greek salad is one of the most delicious summer salads EVER.  The crunch of the cucumber and red onion, sweetness of the tomatoes, salty creaminess of the feta and the fresh tasting dressing of red wine vinegar, olive oil and herbs are absolutely gorgeous!  I like to eat Greek salad piled on top of a toasted pitta.

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Finely chopped red onion is an excellent addition to add crunch and flavour to lots of dishes.  As well as salads it is great in macaroni cheese and tuna pasta bake.

In Greece they tend to serve Greek salad with a slab of feta cheese on top, but I think it is best chopped up and mixed with the other ingredients.  Thank you to The Guardian for inspiring me to use capers in the recipe, which are apparently a Greek salad staple in certain parts of Greece!  Allow 15 minutes to make the salad.

Greek salad (serves 2)

Large handful cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

1/3 cucumber, chopped small

1/4 red onion, chopped small and thin

12 kalamata olives, chopped in half (regular pitted black or green olives also work fine, but kalamata olives are particularly authentic)

Optional – heaped tsp capers

150g feta cheese

For the dressing

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs/oregano

Mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives and capers together in a large bowl.   Mix the dressing ingredients together.  Arrange the salad in bowls and sprinkle over the feta.  Pour over the dressing and eat with toasted pitta bread in the sun!

Fish finger surprise (20 mins)

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I can’t claim credit for this culinary masterpiece (!) as my boyfriend invented it.  It is simple, appealing to kids but with a lovely little extra – you serve the mixture of pasta, chopped fish fingers and peas with a wedge of lemon that they can squeeze over their meal.  My kids love doing this and my oldest son (nearly 6) feels all sophisticated knowing that he is adding the flavour himself.  He also now knows that fish and lemon are a great pairing!  Since we first had this meal my boys have suggested a couple of other foods that would go well together.  The most memorable is ready salted crisps and jam – I held in my laughter and judgement and let them try it and my youngest seemed quite keen!  The important thing is that they are up for experimenting with flavours and their suggestions are taken seriously.

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The first time my boyfriend made fish finger surprise he added the lemon himself and asked the kids to guess what the surprise ingredient was.  And the second time we served the bowls with lemon wedges.  Chopped and stir fried broccoli, asparagus or soya beans would also work well instead of the peas.  Stir frying or steaming are the best ways to retain the goodness in vegetables, whereas boiling gets rid of most of it.

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Fish finger surprise (serves 4)

8 fish fingers, cooked as per the pack instructions

150g-200g any pasta, depending on appetite

Large handful frozen peas

Knob of butter

1 lemon, cut in to quarters

Cook the pasta as per the instructions, adding the peas a few minutes before the pasta is cooked.  Drain, add a knob of butter and stir.  Chop the cooked fish fingers and add them to the pasta with a little salt and pepper.  Either add the juice of 1/2 lemon if you want the kids to guess the magic ingredient, or put a wedge of lemon in each bowl for people to squeeze themselves.