Here, the classic starter of melon and Parma ham is transformed into a tempting main-dish salad with the addition of feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and oranges. Serve for lunch, with warm ciabatta bread to mop up the juices, or as a starter for 6 people.
Substitute Serrano ham from Spain or smoky Black Forest ham for the Parma ham. * As an alternative to honeydew melon, try other varieties such as Ogen or Charentais or a wedge of watermelon. * To make a melon and fresh pineapple salad with cottage cheese, mix the melon, tomato and cucumber with ½ pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped, and 3 shallots, thinly sliced. Make a lime dressing by mixing ½ tsp grated lime zest and 2 tbsp lime juice with 2 tbsp sunflower oil and 1 tsp clear honey. Season to taste. Stir the dressing into the melon mixture and pile onto 4 plates. Spoon 75 g (2½ oz) plain cottage cheese on top of each salad and scatter over roasted, chopped macadamia nuts, 50 g (1¾ oz) in total. Garnish generously with small sprigs of watercress.
Although feta cheese is high in fat and salt, it is an excellent source of calcium, and because it has a strong flavour a little goes a long way. Calcium in dairy products is much more easily absorbed by the body than calcium from other foods. Since the feta and ham provide a salty flavour, keep the sodium in this recipe low by avoiding extra salt. * Only 1 in 4 people in the UK drink enough water or other fluid. Foods that have a high water content, such as melon and cucumber, are an easy way of increasing fluid intake.
Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12. Useful source of folate, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin E.