Recipe: Chicken and herb salad with palm sugar dressing

Serves 4 and is delicious, healthy and moreish! Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. This is a modified Neil Perry recipe. There are a lot of ingredients in this one and from start to finish for 1 person it will take about 1 1/2 hours to prepare.



2 chicken breasts, poached, or 1 roast chicken, shredded
300g bean thread vermicelli (i use wai wai brand), soaked in boiling water, then drained
2 lebanese cucumbers, halved lengthways and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 sml red onion, finely sliced
2 french shallots, thinly sliced and fried until golden
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 long red chillies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 large handful coriander leaves
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley
1 sml handful mint leaves
1 sml handful dill
80g unsalted roasted peanuts
sea salt

2 coriander roots, trimmed, well rinsed and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt
70g palm sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves


To make the dressing, pound the coriander roots, garlic and sea salt to a fine paste in a mortar with a pestle. Put the palm sugar in a small pan with a dash of water, and allow it to dissolve over very low heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar starts to turn a rich golden brown colour. Add the sherry vinegar to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes, then allow to cool. Add the red wine vinegar and palm sugar mixture to the coriander paste, then whisk in the oil. Add the chopped coriander leaves and season to taste.

Combine the shredded chicken, vermicelli and remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Dress with the palm sugar dressing and toss well. Enjoy!

Recipe: Mum’s Spaghetti Bolognese

Mum’s spaghetti is always the best and this is the recipe that my Mum has passed down to me and I think it’s absolutely delicious! Give it a go and see if you agree! Serves 4.



1 sml brown onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g low-fat beef mince
1 can (approx 400ml) whole peeled tomatoes
1 big tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper
200g spaghetti (i like garofalo brand)
Parmigiano reggiano (to serve)

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a medium-sized pan and cook the onion & garlic until the onion is transparent. Add mince & mash with a fork to break up any lumps. Cook until ALL liquid has evaporated and mince is dry with no lumps.

Push the tinned tomatoes through a sieve over the mince, crushing with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard seeds and tomato bits. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt & pepper. Also add a little water (rinse out the tomato can & use about 1/4 of a can of water), depending on how runny you like the sauce. Cover and cook on low heat while you prepare pasta until al dente (about 20mins or so). Take lid off if too runny. Drain pasta and add to mince, toss and serve with parmesan shavings and buttered toast on the side.