My latest ingredients of choice are pickled piri-piri chillies, available at Tesco for just 99p a jar. The pickling process takes a lot of the fiery heat out of the chillies which makes them a great addition to sandwiches, salads, omelettes and pretty much anything else you could think of. Heck, you can even add them to a nice Antipasto platter of cured meats and cheeses or eat them on their own. I’m addicted to them and just a little reminder that chillies help speed up your metabolism and aid digestion, so they are incredibly good for you. Some say that they are a fantastic aid to weight loss… But I say “Weight loss, Schmeight loss!” I just like eating them.

The salad is an accompaniment I made to a Morroccan-spiced rack of lamb (same one I cooked for Come Dine With Me) as well as the roasted sweet potatoes with a yoghurt and herb dressing, for which you can find the recipe here and the lovely homemade Houmous was also a dish that helped me win the show. So here are the recipes;

Parsley and Feta Salad with Pickled Chillies

1 large bunch (or 3 small packets) of flat leaf parsley
8-10 pickled chillies
1 red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
200g of feta cheese
Juice of half a fat lemon
Olive oil to drizzle

Remove all the thicker stalks of the parsley and discard (save them by freezing them as they are fabulous for adding real flavour to any stew, soup or stock) and plate into a nice flat serving dish. Then roughly chop your pickled chillies and sprinkle them onto the parsley followed by the onion clices. Crumble your feta cheese all over the leaves and finalli finish by dressing the salad with a good drizzle of best quality olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Give the salad a final toss and serve.

Homemade Houmous

1 x 400g tin of chick peas (retain the brine also)
1 fat garlic clove crushed into a paste using a little salt
Juice of a whole lemon
1 tablespoon garlic oil
4 tablespoons of light Tahini
Olive oil
Maldon sea salt and pepper to taste

I prefer to mash the chick peas by hand to give a nice rough texture but admittedly it is a labour of love and whizzing them in a processor gives them the smooth texture that we are used to. Use some of the brine and some olive oil to help the process and get an even texture. Then add the crushed garlic, lemon juice (hold some back, you can always add, but can never take away!) and then add your Tahini followed by another good slug of olive oil and mix (or blitz) thoroughly. Add another thin drizzle of olive oil until you reach your desired consistency of hummus and season well with salt and pepper. Taste the mixture to check its flavour and add more lemon juice if desired. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top and a sprinkling of paprika for colour. You can infuse the houmous with chopped herbs, mashed aubgergine pulp or pretty much anything you like and you don’t have to stick to using chick peas, I use butterbeans or white beans also and they work just as well. Just make sure you taste the Houmous as you go and add more oil and lemon juice if needed as different beans contain different levels of starch and sugar affecting the textures and flavours.