Tag Archives: feta cheese

Spinach and Feta Salad with Fresh Beetroot from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

If indulging in British delicacies from another era sounds good to you, then you’ll need to check out The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, inspired by the popular Emmy Award-winning series. I recently received a review copy from the publisher and enjoyed looking through this classic recipe collection. There’s a wide range of sophisticated snacks, entrees, and desserts, including Mrs. Isobel Crawley’s Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches, Saxe-Coburg Soup, Potatoes Lyonnaise, Mrs. Patmore’s Downstairs Pork Pie, Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Sour Cream Icing, Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding, William’s Bilberry Pie, and many more delicious-sounding recipes.

Author Emily Ansara Baines points out: “In a world where appearance is key, it’s no surprise that each meal served at Downton Abbey is a gargantuan display of opulence.” So trying out these recipes is a great way to treat yourself! 🙂

I decided to try one of the salads, since it was very unique and different from any I had ever made–the Spinach and Feta Salad with Fresh Beetroot. I am developing a taste for beets more and more, so I really enjoyed this salad…and the fact that it has feta cheese in it, too, is appealing to me since I’m a big feta cheese fan! The candied walnuts that top the salad are also a great touch.

Here’s the recipe…

SPINACH AND FETA SALAD WITH FRESH BEETROOT from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

The unique addition of fresh beets–known as beetroot in London–mixed with these ingredients makes for a surprising, but delicious salad that everyone at Downton Abbey would enjoy. The festive mix of sweet flavors (such as maple syrup and orange juice) would provide guests at any garden party or luncheon with an extra excuse to smile.

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and dried (I used baby spinach leaves)
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  1. Place beets in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool, then cut beets into cubes.
  2. Place walnuts in a skillet and briefly heat over medium-low heat. Add maple syrup and butter. Cook and stir until walnuts are evenly coated, then remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice concentrate, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, and set aside.
  4. Place a large helping of spinach leaves on plates, then divide candied walnuts among plates over greens. Place equal amount of beets over greens, then top with feta cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing, followed by orange slices.

Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Or a fan of classic British recipes?

Matt’s Couscous and Lentil Salad

ncMattCouscous1nm

I have many friends who are great cooks, and Matt is one of them–in fact, I fully expect him to go to culinary school one day and become a professional chef! Everything he makes is really good. Like me, he loves baking sweets and rich desserts, but also likes making healthy dishes…like this Couscous and Lentil Salad. He brought it in to work for a special lunch gathering one day and I had the chance to taste some of it. I loved it! Not only does it taste great, it’s also made with lots of healthy ingredients…lentils, olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese…what’s not to like about this? 🙂 I asked Matt if I could have his recipe so I could share it with you. It’s a great side dish for lunch or dinner. It’s actually a good meal in itself if you’re wanting something light and healthy.

So thanks to Matt, you can try this too! Let me know how you like it!

COUSCOUS AND LENTIL SALAD

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 cup couscous (can also use quinoa)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed into paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves OR basil leaves
  • 1 cup arugula, stems discarded and chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber, seeds removed
  • 3/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • optional: can also add sweet peppers and/or kalamata olives, and use with any combination of the vegetables above. Also works well without the cheese.

Cover lentils with water by a couple of inches and simmer approximately 15 minutes, tasting periodically — they should be just tender and not mushy. Drain well and transfer to a bowl, and stir in one tablespoon vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Prepare couscous according to package directions using water or chicken stock and the 3/4 teaspoon salt. Fluff couscous after standing for 5 minutes and transfer immediately to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Whisk together garlic paste (made with the 2 mashed garlic cloves and salt) and remaining vinegar and oil to make a dressing; add salt and pepper to taste. Combine lentils and garlic dressing mixture with couscous and stir well. Cover and chill in refrigerator.

Before serving, stir in remaining ingredients and season to taste. Add more oil and vinegar if necessary.

ncMattsCouscous2nm

Matt said this recipe makes 6 to 8 side servings.