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Eating in

Dressings brighten up our salad days

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“A good salad dressing adds new dimensions to a dish,” says David Atherton in The Guardian. It’s usually made with oil, but there are many other ways to get a “thick and glossy dressing”. Puréed sweet potato provides substance while keeping calories low. Nut butter dressing is great with a roasted root vegetable and wholegrains salad.

Whizzed mango is “the perfect consistency” for a dressing – add a little honey if the fruit’s not ripe. It’s healthy, and lovely with crisp, fresh salads. Blended avocado brings “velvety body” and works well on warm new potatoes or swirled through hummus. My “biggest tip” is to add a teaspoon of white miso to your favourite dressing, giving it “an unctuous lift.”

Tahini dressing
Preparation: 10 minutes. Serves two

30g light tahini
30ml lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
3g white miso
5g fresh dill, finely chopped
5g fresh parsley, finely chopped
5g fresh coriander, finely chopped
20ml warm water

Put the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a jar. Add the miso, press it with the back of a spoon until mixed in, then put on the lid and shake to combine. Add the chopped herbs and water, seal again and shake vigorously. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Read David Atherton’s dressing recipes here.

Perfect for the pub – and Everest

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Pork scratchings are the ultimate pub snack, says Rupert Ponsonby in Country Life. I love their “exhilarating porkiness and crunch”. They originated in the Midlands in the early 19th century and are made by deep-frying strips of rind and the underlying fat from a pig’s back legs. High in unsaturated fat and protein, but low in carbs, they’re “beloved by followers of the keto diet”.

The “tasty titbit” is enjoyed around the world. In Quebec, they’re called oreilles de Christ – “Christ’s ears”. A former Argentine president claimed they “reignited her love of sex”, explorer David Hempleman-Adams took them to Everest and Cameron Diaz once said they were her “favourite snack in the world”. Kate Moss is also a fan.

My “personal passion” for pork scratchings began with a seven-course tasting menu at the White Horse pub in Parsons Green, west London. The dishes included scratchings with apple sauce, with gooseberry and with fish pie. The finale was “statuesque scratchings dipped in dark chocolate”, served with ice cream. All washed down with 14 beers.

Ingredient of the week: black garlic

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Black garlic has a “lovely deep umami flavour that reminds me of liquorice and balsamic vinegar”, says Yotam Ottolenghi in The Observer. It’s sweet and savoury at the same time, with a hint of garlic in the background. “Essentially, it’s just fresh garlic heads left at a particularly low temperature – between 60-90C with a specific humidity for, I think, a couple of weeks.” After this the heads are black and shrivelled.

I often make a black garlic butter: crush it with a pestle and mortar, then mix with soft butter. Before roasting a chicken, spread the butter underneath the skin to give the flavour more depth. Black garlic is also good in risotto or mixed with other garlic. For a yoghurt sauce that’s great with roasted vegetables, add crushed black garlic cloves to yoghurt with fresh garlic.