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Simple food is often the nicest and relies on good ingredients. For this you need ripe tomatoes, good bread and great extra virgin olive oil. I got the inspiration for this salad from a River Café book, it’s their ‘bread, tomato, basil, cucumber’ salad. I just added a couple of bits. The other key thing is to chop stuff small, it makes all the difference.
Nuush clients: Please apply the portion sizes stated in your account and divide the recipe so that you make only as much you need.
Break the bread into small pieces (I gave mine a quick whizz in a mini blender). Now put it into a large bowl that you have room to toss the whole salad in. Cut the baby toms in half and squidge their seeds and juice in with the bread before cutting the skins in half a gain and adding them to the bowl too. Now add the onion, cucumber, garlic, pepper and fresh herbs. Pour over plenty of olive oil so that it soaks into the bread, then add the vinegar and sea salt. Toss it together with a couple of big spoons.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid can help to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is the type of cholesterol you should aim to have less of, as opposed to HDL cholesterol which is the ‘good guy’!
As a fundamental part of the Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of olive oil are bountiful. It’s high in polyphenols, for which there is significant epidemiological evidence showing positive health effects. In plants polyphenols protect against stresses such as UV light, pest attacks and effects of the weather; they also provide colour to attract insects. The thinking is that they do the same for us when we consume them, though hopefully not attracting insects!
Note: extra-virgin olive oil retains more of the beneficial compounds. For this reason, it’s considered healthier than the more refined varieties of olive oil.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a pokey antioxidant. Antioxidants are like bouncers at a night club, they go around finding stray electrons that are busy causing trouble in your body, and find them a love partner so they can both stay in and cuddle on the sofa.
Tomatoes are also a brilliant source of vitamin C, which supports skin and connective tissue health as well as immunity and iron absorption. The biotin in tomatoes is good for controlling blood sugar.
Red onions are a not only a great source of the antioxidant, quercitin but are rich in flavonoids, which are responsible for their colour. Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that offer them protection agains the elements and against disease and they pass that quality on to us. Another good source of fibre, onions provide food for the microbes in your gut, which in turn produce beneficial fatty acids.
“A woman who can eat a real bruschetta is a woman you can love and who can love you. Someone who pushes the thing away because it’s messy is never going to cackle at you toothlessly across the living room of your retirement cottage or drag you back from your sixth heart attack by sheer furious affection. Never happen. You need a woman who isn’t afraid of a faceful of olive oil for that.”
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