The question of what to have for lunch is always present. Often you can’t be bothered with turning on the stove. You only crave for something cold you can have straight from the fridge, or at least something that you can eat at room temperature.

However, the all mighty green salad, no matter how you dress it up, well…it is still a green salad. Something that, let’s be honest, might fill your belly but sometimes not your soul.

Here is where pasta salads come in. We are still not sure if the word salad is ideal for these types of dishes. Maybe the word salad is used because pasta salads are consumed cold. Maybe it’s used because pasta salads are the lighter cousins of pasta. No one knows really. But one thing is certain. Pasta salads are the way to kick off the series of foods we have for lunch. Yes, pasta salads lie between pasta and salad. The recipe below it is not a warm bowl of penne with tomato sauce. It is not a gem lettuce and avocado salad. It’s something in between. And this is exactly what makes it even more interesting. This recipe is inspired by the Greek chef Chrysanthos Karamolegos, who originally created this combination of flavours.

And we’re making our own mayonnaise for this one, give it a try!

Feeds 4 for lunch

2 spring onions
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1tbsp sugar
½ cucumber
½ pack zea penne (read more on zea pasta here)
1 gem lettuce
1 avocado
5 leaves basil
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Finely chop the spring onions. In a bowl mix the red wine vinegar with the sugar, until sugar resolves. Add the spring onions and let them marinate until you prepare everything else. This will give them a soft sweetness and acidity.

Boil your pasta in salted water. Once al dente, strain and rinse under cold water. Cut the cucumber in small pieces (you can choose between half moons, cubes, whatever you prefer really). Cut the avocado in cubes. Finely shred the lettuce and basil leaves.

Mix the mayonnaise and olive oil, adding water to dilute the mixture until you have a liquidy sauce.

Toss together the pasta, cucumber, avocado, lettuce, spring onions (removed from sugar/vinegar mixture), basil, dressing. You can use the leftover sugar/vinegar mixture if you feel more acidity is needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold if you prefer.

by Nafsika


There is something really rewarding when you prepare yourself the foods that you usually get ready made from the supermarket. Think mayonnaise for example. Most of us get the commercial one. But think back at a time when supermarkets did not have mayonnaise. Think back at a time when households made their own.

I grew up with the supermarket one. Like most of us I guess. My mother did not. When I told her I am making mayonnaise this week, she told me her own stories. We did not make a lot, she said. Just the quantity we needed for every meal. We would have grilled fish and as the fish would cook, we would make mayonnaise. We used egg yolks and mustard. Lemon juice. And just olive oil, none of these oils you see now at recipes.

Indeed, researching recipes for mayonnaise, most use a mixture of olive oil and sunflower oil. The taste of mayonnaise made with other oils is milder. Olive oil is quite intense on its own. This is exactly why you have to make it just with olive oil. And with an olive oil with a robust, peppery flavour. Only then you can tell the difference between a mayonnaise that’s there just to brighten up your salad or crisps and a mayonnaise that you can’t stop eating with a spoon straight out of the jar (this is the writer’s own personal experience with this recipe here). This mayonnaise made with our 27C olive oil is like a velvety cloud when you taste it. But then, the acidity of the lemon and the richness of the olive oil kick in. And it’s a velvety cloud with sparkles. You can also try it with our 18C, for a more floral and grassy finish. Up to you really.

So go on, make your own. And maybe you’ll become like us, swapping the supermarket jar for this one.

In the recipe below, it’s important that all your ingredients are at room temperature and that you pour the olive oil very slowly. Imagine a thin string of olive oil. Or do half a teaspoon at a time until you feel confident enough to pour. And keep whisking until you get the silky texture you need.

Makes 1 jar

1 egg yolk
1 tsp mustard
juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste if needed
250ml of extra virgin olive oil
salt

Whisk the egg yolk and the mustard. Slowly add half of your oil, whisking constantly. Add the lemon juice, whisking constantly. Add the rest of your oil (you guessed it), whisking constantly. Taste and season with salt and more lemon if needed. Store in the fridge.