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I was never really an adventurous cook before I met Tim… in fact, I had a bad relationship with food, sticking to “plain” and “safe” foods thanks to a kind of “eating disorder” as a child which made me believe certain foods would make me ill…

But, since meeting Tim and also since having such lovely neighbours who enjoyed social evenings, I have developed a keen desire to come up with foods we will love to eat again and again. In fact, entertaining is one of my favourite things, and this simple salad is just perfect for a summer get-together.

I’m not going to give yo exact quantities, because the salad is so simple and flexible, you can make it suit any number of guests. We have eaten it just the two of us as a quick lunch (using just one large ball of mozzarella, and a handful of tomatoes), to a starter for six (using three large mozzarella balls and a selection of tomatoes picked fresh from the vegetable stall). As a rough guide, however, ensure you have at least one large¬†mozzarella ball between two people for a main course and between three as a starter.

Ingredients:

Mozzarella

Tomatoes (try and mix it up by having a selection of different types)

Fresh Basil

Olive Oil

Red Wine Vinegar

Chilli Flakes

Lemon (juice and zest)

Method:

  1. Start by cutting up the mozzarella into round, thick slices. Then, tear each slice up into several chunks and place, haphazardly, across your plate.
  2. Cut your tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and scatter over the mozzarella on your plate
  3. Pick a large handful of fresh basil leaves, the more you have the better the flavour, and then put a dozen leaves to one side. Rip the rest of the leaves between your fingers to release their flavour and scatter over the tomato and mozzarella. Place the whole leaves you put to one side around the plate as decoration.
  4. Sprinkle a few chilli flakes over the plate
  5. Grate some lemon zest over the whole lot, then cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the top.
  6. Pour a small amount of red wine vinegar into the bottle’s lid and drizzle over the cheese and tomato
  7. Finally, drizzle good quality Olive Oil over the whole lot

Simple – and so incredibly tasty!

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You may also want to serve a bowl full of olives, and some toasted Ciabatta with bowls of dipping oils as complementary additions to this Mediterranean inspired feast, and I’ve listed a few of our favourites below:

  • Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil and crushed Basil Leaves
  • Chilli infused Olive Oil

The choice is yours and the varieties endless. What a lovely dish for summer…

 

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