Usually, with the arrival of autumn, my little heart is like a leaf withering on the tree then falling, pathetically, to the ground, only to be stomped on by a woolly'n'welly wearing passerby. Not this year. This year, autumn has triumphed. It's warm and it's blue and it's bright - well done, autumn, you've successfully held my hand through and out the other side, heart intact. Heart full, in fact.
Much as I love the hearty meals called for in colder months, this gentle transition of September and October has seen lighter (even summery) meals, still finding a place on my table.
One such treat is Greek salad. This is one of those classics that - done badly - can be truly, maddeningly sub-standard. Shop-bought Greek salads... well, prepare to be disappointed. And it's quite unnecessary as this is one of the easiest of speedy suppers to throw together with just a few fresh ingredients.
A classic Greek salad, this version has a little less of the usual quantity of dressing. Serve with crusty bread.
2 large tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, peeled
120g feta cheese
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into fine rings
10 Kalamata olives
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
pinch of dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slice each tomato into eight wedges. Slice the cucumber lengthways before chopping each half into thin slices. Use a fork to break up the cheese into bite-sized chunks. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and cheese. In a small cup, combine the oil, vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper. Whisk the dressing before pouring over the salad. Serve immediately.
This recipe is taken from my book, The Mount Athos Diet. Get hold of a copy here.
And I was thrilled to receive some Cole + Mason products from John Lewis, which have been brilliant in this recipe. Firstly, the spice carousel with its 16 jars of herbs and spices is pretty much all anyone needs in the kitchen. I absolutely love the salt and pepper mills, which have a brilliant switch that alters the coarseness of each. And finally, an oil and vinegar mister is an ace way to add dressing and flavour to salads without coating too heavily.