Parveen The Spice Queen: Quick, simple and satisfying salad

Summer salad
Summer salad

H ello food lovers, I hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, and what a scorcher it was.

I finally got to top up my tan, which actually doesn’t need much topping up as I was born with a God-given tan! Lucky me! The smell of barbecue food was in the air once more. It was good to have a few days off and relax, but when I say relax, I mean it in the loosest possible terms. I ended up helping my friend Jon with his last minute barbecue for 30 people - and that was after spending three days, prepping, cooking, styling my food for a photo shoot, ready for my new spice range. So, I only had one day to come up with recipe ideas, shop and make all the salads, all before I could doll myself up, throw on some lippy and enjoy myself. Which I really did, once the food was served, I ended up taking over the karaoke machine and belting out I’m Every Woman by Whitney Houston. Sorry, I am digressing, let’s get back to the food.

I know barbecues are usually all about the meat but I think having a good salad completes the meal. I wanted to make a selection of salads to complement the meats, but I didn’t want to make a bog standard green salad with a bit of limp lettuce...oh no! I wanted to make some salads with personality and something that would tantalise people’s taste buds. Yes, naturally, I made my spicy chick pea chaat, well I am Parveen The Spice Queen, but I also made a potato salad with chives and my deliciously light crunchy coleslaw. Many of the guests at the barbecue know that I cook for a living, so the pressure was on. I decided to make a platter of pasta salad with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. The unique thing about this salad is that you have to cook the dressing for a few minutes but it really adds to the flavour. Trust me! Give it a go.

INGREDIENTS

300g Fussili Pasta

15 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

1/4 red pepper (diced into 1cm cubes)

3 cloves of sliced garlic

2 tbsp of olive oil

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Salt and pepper

METHOD

1. Boil the pasta in salted water for 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked.

2. While the pasta is boiling, in a large pan, heat up the oil and add the sliced garlic, tomatoes and red pepper. Cook for 2 mins on a low heat.

3. Drain the pasta and add into the dressing.

4. Turn the heat off, add salt and pepper and basil leaves.

5. Mix together and enjoy warm, sprinkled with cheese, or at room temperature as it is.

If you have a any question, email me via on parveen@the-spicequeen.com

For a little extra flavour sprinkle with a few chilli flakes, looks pretty too! If you are like me and like a curry, try it topped in Daal or Chicken Jalfrezi