Salad days are here again! Of course, this being a British summer, it's anyone's guess how long it's going to last. Still, it's the perfect excuse for a big bowl of fresh vegetables every night, along with a selection of cheeses, continental meats, and a slice or two of quiche (do “real men” eat quiche these days, or don't they? I've lost track.) Anyway, here are my recipes for both salad and dressing; with this, more than ever, don't forget to be a pirate.

Summer Salad

  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Rocket leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Tomatoes (cherry or baby plum)
  • Spring onions (large and red, if you can get them)
  • Garden peas
  • Avocado

Quantities of everything are very much to taste, and depend on how many people you're feeding; don't forget that you should probably wash all your veggies. The spinach and rocket can go straight in the bowl. The cucumber I like to chop in thick slices and quarter, but thin full slices work too. The pepper(s) should be de-seeded an chopped into good sized chunks. Small tomatoes can simply be halved, larger ones should be sliced. For the spring onions, if you've got ones with a large bulb, finely slice that, the stalk should be in larger pieces. The garden peas can simply be shelled straight into the bowl. For the avocado, cut it in half, remove the stone, then scoop and slice – something for which there are many wonderful gadgets, such as this one:

Avocado Slicer

Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon greek honey
  • A dash of Tabasco
  • A pinch of salt

To be honest, most of those quantities are already more precise than I actually use. Just pour everything into a mug or small pot and mix it up with a baby whisk, or use something with a lid and shake vigourously. You can make larger quantities and keep it in a bottle in the fridge, but you need to remember to take it a out well in advance as it tends to solidify when cooled…