We’re all aware by now of the benefits of eating in season, and with peppers and lettuce now at their peak, Keelings, the 100% Irish family owned company and experts in fresh produce, say that increasing our intake of these scrumptious salads need not be a chore and in fact has the potential to be downright pleasurable, especially now that we’re well into BBQ season!
It’s a well known fact that adults do not consume the recommended intake of fruit and veg on a daily basis, but a little known one that the figures are alarmingly low, with Irish adults on average only eating 3 portions a day of fruit and vegetables. Children eat even less with an incredible 60% not eating enough vegetables which are essential for their health now and in the future. According to Keelings, however, a few simple additions of salads to the diet, such as lettuce and peppers, could make that significant difference.
Lettuce is exceptionally low in calories and contains 90% water. Salads can be made using only one lettuce or a mixture of many. Tear rather than cut the leaves of loose-leafed lettuce; icebergs and other large lettuce are commonly sliced or shredded. They should be served as soon as possible after preparation – the perfect accompaniment to a freshly cooked beef burger off the BBQ!
Peppers are an excellent form of Vitamin C when eaten raw. Red and yellow peppers contain almost 3 times as much Vitamin C as oranges. They equally offer countless opportunities for preparation. Skewered with a selection of other vegetables they can be grilled to serve as vegetarian kebabs or as a vegetable side dish with barbecues. They can be added to fillings used in sandwiches, panini, burritos, fajitas and tortillas. Their bright colour makes them very attractive as a garnish for dishes and displays.
Sliced, they can be fried with onions and garlic and then braised with tomatoes and herbs to form a basic ratatouille. They can be sprinkled with olive oil and roasted or can be grilled and skinned and added to salads (To skin peppers put them into a plastic bag after they have been grilled until the skin is charred. Close the top of the bag and leave it for a few minutes. The skins will be easy to remove when the peppers are taken out of the bag)*
Below are some deliciously simple recipe ideas to help you reap the benefits of Keelings lettuce and peppers! For these recipes and more visit the Keelings website: www.keelings.com
B.L.T. Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing
Preparation: 15 Minutes
Cooking: 10 Minutes
225g bacon rashers
10g finely chopped fresh basil
4 medium slices French bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2g ground black pepper
15ml olive oil
455g Keelings Lettuce – rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
300g Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
Place bacon rashers in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon when cooked and cut into small pieces, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings left in the bottom of the skillet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved bacon drippings, mayonnaise, vinegar and basil and let dressing stand, covered, at room temperature.
In a large skillet over medium heat, toss the bread pieces with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil, continue tossing and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown.
In a large bowl mix together the Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, bacon and croutons. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
Rib Steak Casserole
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 2 hours
1.2kg/2lb 6oz rib steak, cut into 4cm/ ½ inch cubes
75g/3oz plain flour
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 Keelings Irish Red Pepper, deseeded and sliced
450ml/ ¾pt Beef Stock
150ml/ ¼pt red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chopped herbs
Sprigs of thyme
Toss steak in flour, mixed with salt and pepper, and shake off the excess. Heat a little olive oil with butter in a frying pan. Sear the meat, in batches, adding more oil and butter as necessary, until the meat is browned. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in frying pan, add your Keelings Irish Red Pepper and other vegetables and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the stock, wine, tomato paste and herbs and bring to the boil. Add this mixture to the meat, stir well and season to taste. Cover and bake at 350°F, 180°C, gas mark 4 for two hours or until the meat is tender. Serve with small baked potatoes, sprinkled with thyme leaves.