Spicy green chicken and cashew nut salad

So I was going to follow someone else’s recipe for buffalo chicken salad (paleOMG’s recipe to give the credit) because it sounded delicious, but when I read it again it said minced carrot. I don’t know why but this put me off, well I do know. I don’t really like grated carrot, and that is what minced carrot sounds like, so I checked the fridge. The fridge is full of green things, specifically, avocado, celery, cucumber, spring onions and little gem lettuce. Plus, there is spicy mayo that I made at the weekend, and there is always cashew nuts in the cupboard. Obviously I had chicken because I was planning to make buffalo chicken, and so the salad was born.

For two:

I had skinless and boneless chicken thighs. I prefer the flavour of chicken thighs to chicken breast, plus it is usually cheaper, but these came from Waitrose, so obviously I took out a mortgage in order to pay for them. You could use left over chicken, or ready cooked chicken.

Heat some coconut oil in a big frying pan, then roll the thighs out flat and place them in the pan. Sizzle until cooked through- turning them over once helps. Once cooked remove from the pan and place on kitchen roll to absorb some grease. I don’t like too much grease in my food. If you do like grease, then feel free not to place on kitchen roll.

At this point I added some parboiled sweet potato and parsnips to the pan because I like them.

Slice the celery, cucumber, avocado and spring onions and throw them in a bowl. This requires no skill or artistry, unless you are feeling flair then you could juggle the ingredients (juggling optional).

Slice the slightly cooled chicken and throw in the bowl with the green things.

Add as much mayo as you like. If your mayo is not already spicy (because you did not get a bit free and easy with the cayenne at the weekend like I did- sounds more exciting than it is), then add some heat with a few squirts of sriracha or a sprinkling of the aforementioned cayenne.

Lay out some little gem lettuce leaves on a plate. Fill each lettuce scoop with the chicken/green/mayo mix. Sprinkle with cashews, or not. Add the parsnips and sweet potato on the side, if you know, you made them earlier. If not, don’t.

Eat.

If you want to make your own mayo then check my blog, or google whole30 mayo.

 

 

Making mayo and other life lessons

When I was 15 I started my first diet. I was a little chubby maybe, curvaceous perhaps, even voluptuous (as one male friend described when I was staring at a depressed looking salad from the school canteen and complaining my jeans were too tight to eat chips). But I grew up in the era of heroin chic; a young Kate Moss was the ideal of female beauty, and my boobs were eminently unfashionable. Yes! Boobs can be unfashionable- Vogue said so. Not old enough to know better, I bought into this idealisation, and accepted that because I couldn’t meet the standards set by the magazines of the time (Just 17, Belle, even the occasional Cosmo) I was ultimately a flawed human being who would never ever be considered beautiful. All of this was, of course, utter bollocks. But it surprisingly difficult to get rid of these insecurities. I can still stand in front of the mirror for multiple outfit changes before leaving the house; sometimes I even think about not leaving the house. Objectively, this is ridiculous. I am a healthy weight, a healthy dress size, fit and I even have a little muscle tone here and there. I can do more than run for a bus and I can lift weights somewhat heavier than myself. But there is always that little voice that whispers (and occasionally shouts). I have mostly learned to tell it when it needs to shut up, occasionally over compensate, and sometimes I give in and where the baggiest clothes ever.

What the has this got to do with mayonnaise? I hear you ask politely, while in your head screaming get to the point, you insecure bint. The point is that just like my boobs where hugely unfashionable while growing up, so was mayonnaise- in my house anyway (and I wanted a rant about media based insecurity). Putting mayonnaise on your salad was the equivalent of saying I am really, really, really trying to be unhealthy here. Oddly the same did not apply if you wanted to make a pastie barm- this is a particular northern delight which is essentially a pie sandwich. The difference is that now, I am better at quieting the insecure voices and I am also going to eat all the mayonnaise I like, and never (well probably), eat a pastie barm.

Home-made mayo is delicious, takes about 5 minutes and adds an element of luxury to anything I eat with it. I particularly love to dip parsnip chips in it. It is also really versatile. Once you have your basic mayo, then you can add any flavours you like.

My mayo recipe is based on an amalgamation of Whole30 mayo and creamy sauce recipes. I make it in my magi mix food processor and it has never failed me yet.

1 warm egg (I put mine in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes)

1 dessert spoon of red wine vinegar

½ tsp. of salt

A couple of pinches of cayenne pepper.

1 tsp. Onion granules (if you like)

1 tsp. Garlic granules (if you like)

150ml of light Olive oil.

Put all the ingredients (except the oil) into the mixer and blast for a few seconds. Then, while the mixer is mixing, slowly, very slowly, like a tortoise moving through treacle slowly, add the oil. Do NOT panic if it doesn’t thicken immediately. If you add the oil slowly enough, then it will by the end.

Once all the oil is in, you should have a thick and creamy mayonnaise ready to use there and then, or to put into little pots to use each day.

The next step is to lick the bowl. You will want to and that is ok. Good fats right?