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Basic recipes

Salad dressings

Many commercial mayos are not only high in carbs but their major ingredient is sunflower oil or a similar polyunsaturated vegetable oil. These are not at all healthy. So why not make your own? The easiest, by far, is the traditional French dressing.

French Dressing

280 ml (1/2 pt) olive oil
280 ml (1/2 pt) vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Put all ingredients in a bottle, shake vigorously to mix and drizzle over salads.

Variations on this can be made by adding herbs and / or spices to the basic mixture.


1 egg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp. mustard
Pepper and salt
2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp crushed garlic or half that if using powder
1 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients except the oil into blender, whiz for a couple of seconds, then as add oil in a steady slow drizzle. (If it curdles, pour it out, wash blender, put another egg in and trickle the curdled mix back in — problem solved.)

Notes: Any flavouring can be added, depends on your taste Add 1 tbsp chilli sauce, 1 dessertsp pimento and 1/2 tsp. minced onion to the egg and oil basic mayonnaise for a Russian dressing. Or 1 tbsp horseradish and 1/4 cup of very finely chopped celery leaves and parsley, plus 1 small spring onion to make a herb mayonnaise.

Because it is uncooked, this mayo will not keep for long — a few days in the fridge.


Pesto is another salad dressing that is very popular in our house.

280 ml (1/2 pt) olive oil 2 generous handfuls of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp pine nuts
Freshly ground peppercorns to taste
2 tbsp grated Italian cheese (Parmesan type)

Whiz at fast speed olive oil, basil and garlic in a blender until the basil leaves are pulped.

Add pine nuts and season with peppercorns and salt to taste. Whiz at slower speed until pine nuts have blended into the sauce.

Add the Italian cheese and whiz slowly until it is absorbed.

Taste and adjust seasoning, stirring in any added ingredients.

We use pesto mainly as a salad dressing. But it can be used to flavour soups and stews.

Pesto can be stored in a glass container in the fridge for use later.

Tip: Pesto tends to stick around the sides of the blender. To avoid wasting this, make pesto on a day when you will be having salad. You can then tear salad leaves and wipe them around the blender to coat them in the pesto and clean the blender at the same time.

Page 1: Basic pancakes

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Last updated 23 January 2009

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