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which comes first…?

“this isn’t about chickens and eggs…!"

I’m often asked which comes first….this isn’t about chicken and eggs, but more so it's about the ‘photo or the text’ conundrum. In other words, I’m asked do I first take a photo and then put a recipe to it or do I devise a recipe and shoot the photo having made the dish. There is no one answer, unless you consider ‘both’ as a suitable and comprehensive response.

I’m not entirely sure what other food writers do, and whilst I do cook, sometimes even to a relatively high level, I am no chef. The very nature of my work includes visiting restaurants, talking to chefs, and cooks and understanding the dishes that are being prepared for a function, an event or a photo-shoot. During this time ideas arise whereby I shall ‘park’ some of the images for my own use later (in conjunction with the co-operation of the chef or cook involved).

On other occasions I find the inspiration in my own kitchen, as in the case of a few of the posts, whereby I throw a few things together and see what rises to the top. To date I haven’t poisoned anyone and my style of food is very much personal to me and I don’t expect it to be shared by everyone.  The salad below is typical of the fresh, colourful and healthy foods I like, from both an eating perspective and from a photography perspective. It’s is easy, quick to prepare and flavoursome, i.e.  a range of tastes and flavours, each on their own are distinctive but together also make a tasty combination.

As for the ingredients: lamb’s lettuce as a base, bacon lardons, feta cheese, roasted pine nuts, fresh mango slices and my own honey mustard dressing (see below). You can add a variety of other delicious ingredients and chives, and or croutons also spring to mind.

Of course this salad is not typically Spanish but I have to admit to being very disappointed with Spanish 'ensaladas' salads, Typically in this region they consist only of a tomato, raw onion, and copious amounts of tasteless iceberg lettuce leaves. If you are lucky you'll get a slice or two of pepper, red and/or green.

 

For the honey mustard dressing;

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (this is the best in my humble opinion - subtle and yet tasty)

  • 1 tbsp clear honey

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

  • 2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (Spanish of course)

  • salt and course black pepper

Method

  1. Put the mustard, honey, garlic, and cider vinegar in a clean sterilized jar and shake vigorously.

  2. Add the oil and shake again.

  3. Season with salt and pepper and shake vigorously a third time - serve.