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Stuffed cucumber salad

Choose a straight cucumber so that it will be easy to slice evenly.
A curly, soft-leaved lettuce is best for this recipe because it gives an added attraction, but any soft-leaved lettuce will do.
Serve the stuffed cucumber slices, with the lettuce as a garnish, as a tasty starter or with drinks. As an alternative suggestion, the salad could be accompanied by cold, sliced meat to make a much more filling supper or lunch.

ingredients

serves 4
1 large cucumber, cut into 24 even slices
1 round lettuce, leaves separated
350 g (12 oz) carrots, finely grated
3 tablespoons sultanas
small parsley sprigs and a few chopped walnuts, to garnish
250 g (9 oz) curd cheese
75 g (3 oz) shelled walnuts, chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives or finely chopped spring onion
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

dressing

5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
large pinch of mustard powder
pinch of caster sugar

method

1. Make the filling: put all the filling ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well with a fork.

2. Remove the seeds from each slice of cucumber with an apple corer or a small sharp knife. Season on both sides with salt and pepper and set out on a flat plate.

3. Divide the filling between the cucumber slices, pressing it into the central hole and piling it up on top.

4. Make the dressing: put all the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar, season with salt and pepper then shake the jar well to mix together.

5. Arrange the lettuce leaves on 4 individual plates and drizzle a teaspoonful of the dressing over each serving. Carefully transfer 6 cucumber slices to each plate, arranging them in a ring.

6. Mix the grated carrots with the sultanas in a bowl and add the remaining dressing. Toss to coat thoroughly, then pile into the centre of the rings of stuffed cucumber slices. Garnish 3 cucumber slices on each plate with a parsley sprig and 3 slices with a few chopped walnuts. Serve at once.

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