Do you ever look in your fridge and think, "damn, where has that bag of salad leaves/head of broccoli/bottle of wine gone?" I do, frequently. Which is why, the other night, I bravely went out into the garden in search of Something Green To Have With Dinner. Our miniature vegetable patch has suffered much neglect over the winter months and even the spinach, which now looks like something from The Day of the Triffids, is beyond use.
But amazingly, the parsley has taken off in great leaps and bounds while I wasn't watching, and I now have a huge patch of it to pick from. There's also mint growing in the middle of the lawn, but that's another story.
No matter how lean things get in the rest of the cupboards, we always, or nearly always, have olives and red onions. A splash of vinegar, some capers, handfuls of parsley and voila, an impromptu salad to have with deep-fried whitebait and chips. Stir some drained, rinsed chickpeas through this salad mix and you also have something to take to work for lunch the next day. Oh, hang on, where are the chickpeas...?
1 red onion, finely sliced into half moons
3Tbsp red wine vinegar
2Tbsp salted capers, rinsed
a handful or two of black olives, pitted
lots of fresh flat-leaf parsley - three or four big handfuls, perhaps?
extra virgin olive oil
Put the onion in a heatproof bowl and pour over some boiling water. Drain immediately. Transfer the onion to a salad bowl and pour over the vinegar. Stir and leave to macerate for at least 20 minutes. Add the other ingredients and toss gently. Add a splash of good extra virgin olive oil and taste for seasoning - it should be refreshingly sharp, but not so much that your throat burns. Serves four as a little salad or add a can of chickpeas and it's lunch for two.