September 27th, Emma & Marcus’ flat, Brighton

I’m not sure how accurate it would be to describe this meal as a salad. It had salad on it but you’d have a hard time billing it on a menu as one. Don’t worry, it’s fine, it doesn’t matter. It was made by my friends Emma & Marcus, for me, themselves and two others, and it was constructed on the dinner table in front of us. I can imagine a trendy restaurant adopting it as a style of service where customers sit one side of the pass and chefs put together their meals bit by bit on the other.

The “salad” (definitely not a salad) started with toast, considerately seed free as I have a brutal sesame allergy, with guacamole one side, hummus the other. Obviously I skipped the hummus (know in my household as death moose) and had guacamole on both sides. Then cooked beets, mozzarella and fresh torn basil. A little break then crispy bacon, wilted spinach, fried mushrooms. Another little break then toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and a poached egg. The salad bit was a mix of baby leaves including lambs lettuce and oak leaf.

This ‘salad’ had great unsaturated fats in the avocado, high levels of iron thanks to the beetroot, and a large dose of protein. Eggs are obviously rich in protein, as well as vitamin D, but in addition, no other nut or seed  contains more protein than a pine nut. They also contain Pinolenic acid which apparently stimulates a hunger suppressing hormone that tells your brain you’re full! Nuts are amazing.

And also it tasted amazing. And I had a glass of pure juice orange juice, with bits in

Health: 7/10

Taste: 9/10

Dressing: n/a

Appearance: 10/10

Total: 6.5/10

Entry #005

April 27th, Wild Cafe, Bath

It would be untrue to say that the fact my good pal Alfred Fitzgerald, god love him, runs Wild Cafe, had any influence on the great write up I’m about to give this salad. That said, I wish I got to see him more than once a year.

The cafe has an open kitchen so you can watch your food being cooked & to be honest it really is cheap but of a very high standard, with awesome attention to detail like the homemade tartar sauce (with Sarah’s haddock).  There’s lots I’d have liked to order (the only thing the menu should have on it that it doesn’t, which as far as I’m concerned should be on every menu ever, is ham, egg & chips) but in the end went for the wood pigeon salad, after all thats what it’s all about.

Please outline the dish, OK! Warm wood pigeon breast on oakleaf lettuce & spinach with roast beets, crispy bacon, garlic & balsamic dressing. The pigeon was very tender and earthy & rich in taste, salty bacon & little roast garlic surprises with a bit of a bite. And the beets were caramelised and sticky and brilliant. Everything as it should be.



You may know that I’m quite afraid of birds (especially in confined spaces). This is what a wood pigeon looks like, this is a particularly handsome one, not like the manky ones you find under bridges.







Pigeon is high in iron which you need to help carry oxygen in your blood & zinc which is important especially for men as it is needed to make testosterone. I’ve said enough about beetroot already so you should know why thats great for you, actually garlic is good for some of the same reasons; it helps lower cholesterol, stops blood clotting & aids digestion.

A delicious lunch in a very friendly cafe (playing Dylan too) with some very nice coffee that I’ve just remembered about & I’ve just discovered a flashy new website http://www.wildcafe.co.uk/

Health: 7/10

Taste: 9/10

Dressing: 7/10

Appearance: 9/10

Total: 8/10

Entry #004

February 9th, Leadenhall Market, London

It doesn’t matter to me where I work, as long as it’s somewhere where I can get free salad for lunch. Luckily I do. For practical reasons I’ve gotten used to taking my break at 10:30 – not that I’m the sort of person to normally eat ‘brunch’ but I don’t make it through the lunch service if I don’t.
This salad that I made for myself was mega healthy. It consisted of raw carrot & beetroot, blanched french beans & broccoli, a piece of smoked mackerel with parsley, lemon juice & soy sauce. It was crunchy and fresh and delicious.

Peeling and cooking vegetables is the best way of removing their flavour and any vitamins and minerals they may contain.
Imagine you buy a carrot from the supermarket, it may be up to a month since it was pulled out of the ground and then it’s been pressure washed and refrigerated. After you’ve taken it home, peeled it, boiled it (and tipped that water down the drain!) it will very probably taste of nothing and will certainly have lost most of it’s goodness.
Imagine pulling a carrot out of the ground, washing it and biting into it. That’s a whole different experience! Not that I’m pretending this carrot, or any of the other vegetables had just been pulled up but their rawness wins this salad big points regardless. Eating only raw food, or ‘rawism’ was championed by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner in 1897. He believed that people should pattern their lives around nature. His also invented muesli.

I should also mention the mackerel; a lot of smoked fish you can buy is ‘smoked’ with colours and flavourings and has never actually come into contact with any smoke. This mackerel had been hot smoked which essentially means it was hung over a fire, this cooks the fish as well as flavouring it with smoke. There are endless variations of smoking depending on the type of wood used and length of hanging but a good smoked fish will list in it’s ingredients: fish, smoke and nothing else (except sometimes salt) As we know, mackerel is full of unsaturated fats which are extremely good for you – very high in omega 3 & 6. These fatty acids cannot be made by your body and have to be obtained from food, they help lower blood pressure, improve circulation and decrease the risk of thrombosis and gout.
Sharp lemon and salty soy went really well with the vegetables and fish and the whole thing was filling but very light.

Health: 10/10

Taste: 8/10

Dressing: 7/10

Appearance: 7/10 (sorry the photo’s not very good)

Total: 8/10

Entry #003

October 30th, PT restaurant, Brooklyn

All the food at PT restaurant was delicious, it’s a really nice place. Sarah had a whole lobster with ‘red’ sauce which was incredible, although I’m not sure about naming sauces by their colour. Anyway, my salad was top class. It was called the PT house salad and described itself as ‘Baby rucola in lemon dressing W/ fennel, mango, black olives and shaved Grana Padano’

Taste generally consists of bitter, sweet, sour & salty and it was all covered. The mango & the lemon dressing was fresh and sharp and cut through the salty olives and the tangy cheese, and the bitter rucola (similar to rocket) was just about bitter enough.
And there’s also this – umami; a 5th basic taste group which is starting to be recognised in western cuisine. It is a Japanese word which means ‘pleasant savoury taste’ and is found commonly in aged or fermented foods such as cured meats or mature cheeses. Like Grana Padano. Bing!

There was just enough fennel to taste, it is a very strong flavour and can be overpowering. Good job it was in there though because it’s a great source of Vitamin C and potassium which is very good for lowering blood pressure.

Also, I drank this and it was good East India IPA

Health: 6/10

Taste: 8/10

Dressing: 7/10

Appearance: 7/10

Total: 7/10

Entry #002

September 18th, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

This salad cost £1.50! I also had a pizza & six or seven pints of Guinness

It had: Iceburg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, white onion. No dressing

I didn’t think I’d enjoy this salad, I thought It’d be rubbish & hilarious but it was great.  Not very imaginative & vey much lacking dressing but it was cold and acidic like the salad in a kebab.

Raw onions are used in many cultures as a prevention against colds, coughs & breathing difficulties. They are anti bacterial and rich in a variety of sulphides which can help lower the risk of stomach & colon cancer.

I wouldn’t want to eat something like this very often & I didn’t finish it but it still rates.

Health: 5/10

Taste: 4/10

Dressing: 0/10

Appearance: 3/10

TOTAL:  3/10

Entry # 001

September 12th, Stanmer House, Sussex.

Thanks to Tristram Bawtree for providing the first tomratesasalad.com salad. Great homemade salad – beetroot, mix beans, tomatoes, mix leaf. Whole grain mustard & balsamic dressing.

Beetroot is a big win; high in fibre & folic acid, it helps to detox your liver & is great for blood flow. It also contains natural mood booster seratonin which make you happy. (although these properties are more prevalent in raw beetroot)

Beetroot & mix beans (berlotti, kidney, butter) is a great combo

Unfortunately having sat in Tristram’s bag for most of the AM, the salad was a little soggy & the beets had turned it a lot pink. Also pretty low on salad leaf. Well dressed though and super tasty.

Health: 7/10

Taste: 7/10

Dressing: 6/10

Appearance: 4/10

TOTAL: 6/10