Warm Spinach Salad

Eating alone does not have to be take out or something boring. Big Pete is away at a conference and I still like to cook something delicious even if I am dining alone…because I am worth it!

This is a simple spinach salad with a half a chicken breast and the dressing is made right in the pan then poured over the salad while still warm.

You will need:

  • a few big handfuls of baby Spinach or Spinach and Arugula
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 small yellow onion – sliced into half rings
  • a few slices of red onion
  • great extra virgin olive oil (always!! I am using a beautiful Itrana from Quatrociocchi ) you will use some for cooking and some to finish
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 chicken breast sliced -cooked then chopped
  • 6-7 white mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 small tomato chopped into small dice (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp of mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of jalapeno jelly
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: cook a couple of slices of good quality bacon on a medium heat flipping it from time to time to get an even crispiness. I like mine just shy of cooked until it is crumbly but you cook it as you like. Once cooked remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess fat and set aside to cool, then chop.

Step 2: toss a couple of big handfuls of baby spinach and arugula to a big bowl. There are lots of other ingredients here so don’t worry that this is not enough.

Step 3: slice up a half a yellow or white onion and saute on medium heat in a bit of your good olive oil (honestly don’t ever buy that junk stuff from the grocery store buy real oil of decent quality no matter what!) saute until browned. While your onions cook slice up a bit of red onion into half rings and toss along with a handful of blueberries into your bowl with the greens.

Chop up your tomato and set in a small bowl.

This salad is a combination of raw and cold and warm and spicy. The tartness of the blueberries along with the raw onion goes so nicely with the warm chicken covered in the sweet and spicy jalapeno jelly.

Step 4: add a splash of balsamic vinegar when the onions are just starting to brown. Cook for a minute or two more then add your chicken. Remember to add a bit of salt and pepper and cook chicken until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and chop. You should have your chicken chopped, your tomato chopped and your bacon chopped.

Step 5: in the same pan saute the mushrooms until nicely golden around the edges and then add back the meat, your mustard, the jalapeno jelly and a dash of red wine vinegar. Stir until a simple sauce starts to form.

Step 6: add all remaining ingredients. Cook 1 more minute.

Toss the warm ingredients over the cold taste and adjust for salt and pepper once more. I also always add a little drizzle of my great olive oil for a perfect raw oil finish. Think of olive oil as a condiment here. Eat right away!

Greek Chicken Salad


A quick Greek inspired chicken salad. It is perfect for one and can easily be increased for more. Chop up some fresh vegetables and quickly saute some chicken in lemon and oregano for a tasty meal. The salad does not have amounts because you can add what you like, in the amounts you like and the dressing is a simple squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, some red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss and serve.



You will need: 


  • 1 chicken breast- chopped into small cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • romaine lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • fresh basil
  • a few cubes of feta cheese
  • some olives
  • a few sliced onions


  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • a bit of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper


Step 1: chop chicken and place in a small bowl. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, salt,  pepper, olive oil and honey. Mix and set aside while you prepare salad.



Step 2: chop all your favourite vegetables and add to a bowl. Chop feta and have some fresh basil leaves ready for topping. Get your ingredients for the dressing ready or you can make it in a small jar. I use equal lemon and vinegar to oil. Pour over salad and adjust salt and pepper as you like it.



Step 3: saute your chicken until browned and cooked through.



Step 4: mix dressing in salad and plate. Top with feta, chicken and some basil leaves.






Panzanella Salad


Panzanella is a classic Tuscan salad made with stale bread and vine ripe, gloriously fresh tomatoes. Since there are still so many tomatoes in the garden make this tonight. Use your best extra virgin olive oil and your best red wine vinegar – just look how green and rich that Mandranova olive oil is! This salad is crazy addictive and is perfect for an end of summer meal.


You will need:


For 2 people


  • a few slices of stale bread – I used a day old multi-grain bun chopped up into cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp exceptional extra virgin olive oil – I used Mandranova Cerasuola for the croutons
  • 1 clove garlic – minced finely
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 very ripe garden tomatoes – chopped into large chunks
  • 4 small English cucumbers – peeled partially and sliced on the diagonal – or 1/2 regular English cucumber.
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion – about a quarter of an onion or as much as you like
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves


  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1/2 tsp honey dijon mustard or plain dijon
  • 2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp exceptional extra virgin olive oil – I used Mandranova Nocellara from Sicily
  • salt and pepper to taste




Step 1: heat a small pan and add chopped bread and a generous amount of good extra virgin olive oil. Toss and let bread start to toast. Toast for a couple of minutes, then add chopped garlic and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss periodically to avoid burning and once they are toasted to your liking remove from heat. Set aside.



Step 2: chop tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Add to a large bowl along with fresh basil leaves.



Step 3: in a small jar mix ingredients for vinaigrette: garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar and very good olive oil (look at the color of this oil!) I then salt and crack fresh pepper over the salad.



Step 4: add dressing and toasted bread to the tomatoes and toss.









Herbed Halibut and Steamed Broccoflower


Just because you are eating alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat well!


This was my perfect lunch for one today. You can easily double the recipe for two.


You will need:

  • 1 Halibut steak per person or any whitefish you enjoy
  • 1 cup of broccoflower per person (or cauliflower)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 spring onion – chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fresh Italian parsley – chopped fine
  • 1 tsp fresh basil – chopped fine
  • 2 -3 tbsp olive oil – I used a Lucero Ascolano which is fruity – more oil to drizzle over plate
  • 1 tsp wild fennel pollen (or a few fennel seeds ground)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice – more to squeeze over finished dish. (about 1/2 lemon)
  • salt/pepper to taste


Step 1: wash and break your broccoflower to bite sized pieces. Steam for 5 minutes. I like it to still have a bit of crunch.




Step 2: clean a nice piece of fish and chop into chunks. I have used halibut.



Step 3: chop parsley and basil and spring onions.



Step 4: zest lemon over fish and add some wild fennel pollen if you can get it or crushed fennel seeds if you cannot. The fennel pollen has a beautiful floral and liquorice scent and flavour. I also add my beautiful olive oil to marinate the fish delicately while the pan heats up.



Step 5: add the fish and spring onions to a medium hot pan and cook a few minutes on each side. Add salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.



Serve with the steamed broccoflower, another squeeze of lemon juice and a final drizzle of good olive oil. Sprinkle parsley and basil and add salt and pepper if it needs a bit more.









Mini Frittata and Spinach Salad

“As everyone knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect omelette: your own”
-Elisabeth David

I made this when I was alone for dinner recently. It is a mini egg and potato frittata/quiche with  some fresh herbs and goat cheese and a spinach salad with some strawberries and avocado.

You will need:


  • slices of boiled potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh goat cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 clove garlic-finely chopped

Spinach Salad

  • a handful of spinach leaves
  • a few sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 2 tbsp sliced fine red onion
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: boil a potato. Slice potato to layer the bottom of your quiche/frittata. This way you don’t need a crust and it’s a lower fat option.

Step 2: oil and line a small tart or spring form pan with parchment. Mine is 5 inches. I like to have small tins and containers for baking desserts as well asp preparation for small meals like this one.

Step 3: make a layer of some cooked potato slices. Top with salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil.
Step 4: chop some fresh herbs I have used thyme, parsley, rosemary and the garlic
Step 5: in a bowl mix 2 eggs , a splash of milk, the fresh herbs, garlic and salt and pepper. Pour into pan.
Step 6: top with the cheese of your choice. I have used some fresh goat cheese and a few cherry tomatoes
Step 7: bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes
Step 8: prepare salad. I have just taken a handful of spinach leaves, slice a few red onion slices, a tomato, a few strawberries sliced and a half of an avocado sliced.
Step 9: Prepare salad dressing in a bowl by adding olive oil, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. I have poured the dressing over the avocado so it will not discolour in the air while I wait for my frittata to finish baking
Step 10: Remove baked frittata and slice into wedges
Step 11: at the last moment before serving toss dressing on salad and enjoy. There is no reason why you shouldn’t eat well even when you dine alone. Set the table and pour yourself a nice glass of white! I should have used the “you are special today plate” next time I do a recipe for one I will. Now lets get that wine!