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Nutty Green Bean Salad

"The taste that's stood the test of time." This was the advertising slogan for a best selling beer brand and, whenever I choose to make timeless, old favorites over newer, more fashionable dishes, I recall this line. This refreshing, nutty Green Bean 'n Cucumber Salad has regularly featured in my menu plans since falling in love with creative cuisine aged 20 and, despite the passing years, I've never tired of it and nor have my guests. Made with easy-to-find ingredients, this striking salad adds freshness to meat meals and BBQ's, and is enhanced even further with the addition of creamy feta or Bulgarian cheese if desired. Add this classic to your repertoire and, just like me, you'll find yourself making and remaking it always.

400 grams fresh or frozen green beans 2 to 3 cucumbers, cut into matchsticks 1 sprig of fresh rosemary (optional) Salt and coarse black pepper (Maldon is great) Feta or Bulgarit cheese, crumbled (optional) Toasted pecan nuts DRESSING 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice 1 teaspoon (5 ml) wholegrain mustard 1 teaspoon crushed garlic 1 sprig of parsley 2 spring onions, chopped 100 ml canola oil 1: Cook the green beans with the rosemary(if using) till just tender - frozen beans cook faster - and then plunge into cold water to retain the bright, green color. 2: Place beans and cucumber strips in a bowl, finely chop the rosemary, and toss this through, then season with salt and pepper. 3: Process dressing ingredients together, toss through vegetables, and allow to stand for a few hours till ready to serve. 4: Add crumbled cheese (if using) and toasted pecans shortly before serving. COOK'S NOTES: You can make cucumber matchsticks by cutting cucumbers into round slices and then slicing stacks of rounds into strips. Cheese is not essential - use as much cheese and nuts as you like - but wonderful with dairy meals. If making salad more than a few hours ahead, then only dress shortly before serving, or the beans will absorb all the dressing. Serves 6 to 8.

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