New Slaw

New Slaw 3

What happened to good old fashioned coleslaw?  I say good but actually, so many times it wasn’t, sometimes in fact it has been downright terrible.  Limp, greasy, over oniony, short on seasoning, cabbage too big, drowned in cheap mayo etc etc.  Poor coleslaw has hung its head in shame and hidden at the back of the buffet table.  Until now and talk about a makeover – the humble coleslaw has had some sort of sonic reinvention, spruced up and started wearing international couture.  Asian Slaw, Spicy Slaw, Citrus Slaw, Moroccan Slaw – it’s thrown off its dowdy mayo, lost the Cole and got down and funky with the kids.   Spicy, herby, tangy or hot – Slaw can be anything you like as long as it is crunchy.

I love a crunchy salad and regulars to these pages will know I am not stranger to this type of side.  My Christmas Salad (December 2013), the Thai-ish Salad (November 2015), Carrot Salad (January 2013) and of course the Celeriac Remoulade (January 2016) are variations on the slaw theme.   They are all cheap and easy to rustle up, happily retain their crunch for a couple of days in the fridge and will go with a myriad of other things as well as being perfect for lunch on their own (I particularly like this ones with a piece of cold salmon).  There is an added bonus though and its a huge and resounding boom of a bonus.  Children love them.   Who knew that getting raw veggies into children could ever be so easy?  My son particularly likes my Christmas Salad and regularly has if for his packed lunch.   My daughter however adores this gingery, piquant New Slaw the best, told me it is her favourite salad and had it three times this week.

Carrots, fennel, beetroot, cabbage (green, white or red), radish, celeriac, apple, broccoli – any of these work well.  Then do you want a sharp, zingy dressing, maybe spicy too?  Or perhaps a creamy dressing, a little more traditional although I favour yogurt or creme fraiche here over the ubiquitous mayo.  Add herbs, lots of them and seeds are good too.  Sometimes I add dried cranberries or raisins as I love that little burst of sweetness.  Customise your slaw as you please, make your own bespoke version.  We eat one of these raw, crunchy types of salad a few time a week and this one is the current favourite.  Gingery, herby and with a little heat it goes perfectly with barbecued chicken and I will post my favourite grilled chicken recipe in the next week or so.  Meanwhile may the crunch be with you, it is delicious and you can just feel it doing you good.

New Slaw

New Slaw

The other day I didn’t have any cabbage so used more carrots and it was just as good.  Different but just as good and that is the point of these slaws really, add a little more or less of something as you please, make it your own.

3 carrots, peeled

1/4 of a small red or green cabbage, core removed and finely chopped

6 radishes, sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

A thumb of ginger, peeled

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

A small packet of coriander

A small packet of mint

A handful of raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil, a light one

Juice of 1 lime, you may need 2 depending on their size and juiciness.

Grate the carrots and put into a large bowl with the radishes, onions, cabbage and chilli.  I use a box grater for this rather than an attachment in the processor as I find using this makes the veggies really wet.  Finely grate the ginger, add this to the bowl along with the olive oil and lime juice.  Season and mix well with your hands so that everything is combined.  Chop or snip the herbs over the salad, add the raisins/cranberries if using, mix once more and serve to happy faces.

 

 

 

 

Celeriac Remoulade

Celeriac Remoulade 2

I have piles of recipes waiting to be tried.  Stacks of pages torn out of magazines or newspapers waiting in boxes until the right day.   I tried various indexing systems but in all honesty when it comes to finding a certain recipe the usual answer is to sit on the floor surrounded by open boxes leafing through endless pages.  Eight times out of ten I will find the recipe I am after and all will be well but sometimes, occasionally I have to give up on the search.  So it was with a particular recipe for Celeriac Remoulade that I got from a cooking demo last year.   Before Christmas I looked everywhere but it was nowhere to be found so I had to start from scratch.  Not a hardship, it is delicious and fun fiddling around until the right combination is found.

I have served this twice alongside my Slow Roast Pork (recipe coming soon) and Christmas Salad.  The pork and two salads are piled up into a warm bap along with a few dressed green leaves and a good blob of chilli spiked yogurt.  Soft falling apart pork with the tang and crunchiness of the salads is a heavenly combination which seems to please adults and children alike.   After she had eaten this with us at New Year a friend asked me for the pork recipe and has now made it three times which thrills me to bits.  I thoroughly recommend you try it and I will post the pork recipe next week.  In the meantime enjoy this fabulous, crunchy raw salad with some air dried ham and if you’re not on the wagon a glass of cold cider, sensational.

Celeriac Remoulade

If you have a food processor with grating attachment this takes literally minutes to make but if not just use a regular grater and mind your knuckles.  This combination of yogurt and mustard is how we like it, enough of a kick but still child friendly.

1/2 a celeriac, peeled (approx 450g)

1/2 a bunch parsley, finely chopped

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons dijon mustard (you can use seedy mustard if you prefer)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

A pinch of salt

A pinch of caster sugar

Grate the celeriac using a processor or grater (see introduction).  Mix the yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and sugar.  Mix together with the celeriac and parsley, I do this in a really large bowl so as to get it all properly incorporated.  Taste for seasoning.  This will serve 4 with a few slices of prosciutto or similar for lunch or 6-8 if you are having it with the pork and other salads in a bap.

Celeriac Remoulade

 

 

 

Thai-ish Salad

Thai salad 2

Right I must say from the off that this is a Thai salad in the loosest possible sense.  Yes there is coriander, lime juice, fish sauce etc but also apple and radish and I’m not sure quite how authentic they are.   That said, it is fabulous to eat and sometimes I am happy to throw authenticity out of the window.  I think I mentioned it with Paella (January 2013) – I am not trying to recreate an original dish, I simply want to make something good to eat.

This is crisp, crunchy and jam packed with flavours.  The ginger, garlic and (small amount) of chilli give this life and heat whilst the herbs and lime bring zip and zing to the party.  You can leave out the apple if you want but I love their tangy sweetness and likewise the radishes, if they are not your thing omit them but they add peppery crunch and a beautiful pink.

It is a bonus for me that my children like this.  My daughter is a bit of a salad phobe but she adores and this and happily ploughs her way through a bowlful, sometimes adding a little more chilli and then smacking her lips and puffing as a result.   Its good to see them enjoying a bit of healthy salad at this time of year when we are rather surrounded by root vegetables and a lot of hardy brassicas.

This is fab with pork chops or roast chicken (hot or cold) and also works very well with leftovers.  In particular I’m thinking leftover turkey here but then that would make it a challenger to my beloved Christmas Salad (December 2013).  Never mind, we’ll just have both.

Thai salad

Thai Salad

Make the dressing first so that the flavours can sit and meld for a bit.

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons light olive oil

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon sriracha or other chilli sauce

Small thumb ginger, finely grated

1 small clove garlic, finely grated

1/4 white cabbage

1 apple

6 radishes

2 carrots, peeled

1/2 bunch coriander

1/2 bunch mint

Mix the first nine ingredients together to make the dressing.  Taste and adjust as you see fit, a little more chilli perhaps?  Finely chop the rest of the ingredients and mix in a large bowl, add most of the dressing and combine.  You may or may not need all the dressing, it rather depends on the size of your cabbage and carrots!   Enough for 4 as a side.

 

Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Salad

Courgette and feta salad 2

I know I say that every new salad I make is my new favourite but truly, this is.  I must have made it six times in the last two weeks and still show no signs of getting bored.   Crunch from little new courgettes go amazingly well with the glorious double podded emerald green beans.  A flurry of snow white tangy, salty feta along with a lemony garlic dressing brings the whole thing together with a boom.   Completely fresh and seasonal and got to be good for you, what is not to love?  I implore you to make this while the courgettes are small and the beans are around.

Broad beans might not be everyone’s cup of tea when single podded and served in their sometimes tough, grey outer jackets.  This I would concur with, a reminder of school lunches, both chewy and a little bitter.  Unrobe them further however, reveal that stunning inner green and you are in for an absolute treat, a true taste of the English summer.

I admit you need quite a pile of pods to end up with 200g of the inner bean but it is a job I enjoy, sitting at the table releasing each bean from its cosy padded sleeping bag.  A gin and tonic would be the ideal accompaniment to this task and reminds me of sitting with my granny podding beans recently picked from her garden (she had the gin in those days obviously, not me).    Granny’s kitchen garden was one of my favourite places in the world and although its been many years since I was there I remember the rows of vegetables like it was yesterday.   My first taste of asparagus, artichokes and fennel came from here along with beans of all variety.  Fruit trees in one corner offered regular treats when I was wandering around and the strawberries and raspberries further delights if I could negotiate the netting on the fruit cage.  It was a dreamy place and the excitement of picking fresh produce has never left me.

You will see feta mentioned again and I admit it finds its way into a lot of my salads.  If you aren’t keen on it though a little labneh (simply drained yogurt) would be a perfect, less salty alternative or some fresh ricotta (Herby Ricotta, September 2014) a delicious addition.

Courgette and feta salad-2

Courgette, Broad Bean and Feta Salad

3 small courgettes

200g double podded broad beans,

100g feta, cubed

1 small clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh mint or marjoram, chopped to serve

Finely slice the courgettes and put into a bowl.  Blanch the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes then drain and run under cold water and drain again.  Mix the garlic with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, taste and check you are happy with the seasoning but bear in mind the feta can be quite salty.  Turn the courgettes in the dressing and make sure they are well covered then add the beans and feta and mix the in gently, sprinkle with herbs and serve.  Enough for 4 alongside other things or 2 on its own.

 

 

 

Roasted Aubergine, Feta and Mint Salad

Aubergine and Feta salad

At this time of year I am happy to eat salad after salad.   By this I don’t mean just a regular green salad with a vinaigrette.  Rather piles of fresh crunchy vegetables with handfuls of fragrant herbs, texture from seeds or grains, creamy feta, labne or ricotta and all anointed with a punchy dressing designed to bring the components together.

I like a classic Nicoise or a retro Coronation as well as the next person and a perfectly made Caesar is a thing of joy.  More often though my salads will be veggie based, at once healthy and delicious whilst celebrating the bounty of salad leaves and vegetables spilling from the shelves during the summer months.  Tomatoes, courgettes, beans of all kinds, beetroot, aubergines, carrots, peppers either raw, steamed or roasted.   Loads of verdant green herbs bringing all their gorgeous flavours to the party and lots of salady leaves.  If there is meat or fish it will often be almost as a seasoning, some small cubes of chorizo or bacon for example or salty slivers of anchovy.

You will find lots of suggestions here, Green Beans with Tomatoes and Chorizo (September 2013), Christmas Salad (December 2013), Favourite Green Salad (January 2014) and Roast Vegetables with Pomegranate Molasses (July 2014).   I turn to all these regularly and honestly, never get bored of them.  Todays salad is a new kid on the block and celebrates that trinity of good friends aubergine, feta and mint.  I often use these ingredients in other dishes but this time wanted them to shine and along with some bulgar for body, leaves of rocket and a garlicky dressing it is a stellar combination.

Aubergine and Feta salad 2

Aubergine, Feta and Mint Salad

I have mentioned previously my determination to find a way to make all vegetables agreeable to my children but it would seem that aubergine may be my nemesis…..

2 aubergines, sliced and then cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g bulgar wheat

1 large handful of mint, torn

100g feta (more if you like) roughly cubed

1 large handful of rocket

1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 teaspoon runny honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200, turn the aubergine cubes in the oil and spread out on a baking tray (you may need two), sprinkle with salt and roast for 20-30 minutes until golden.  Put the bulgar wheat into a bowl with a pinch of salt and cover with boiling water to about 1cm over the bulgar and leave for 10 minutes.  After this time taste a bit, if it is still a little hard leave for a few more minutes before draining.   Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing the garlic, honey, lemon juice and oil, season with salt and pepper until you are happy with it.  Mix the bulgar with most of the dressing and then gently mix in the aubergine, feta, rocket and mint.  Taste for seasoning and just before serving pour over a little more dressing.  Serves 4 alongside other things.

 

Blood Orange, Beetroot and Feta Salad

Blood orange and beetroot salad

We are blessed with a fabulous farm shop just down the road and I find myself there often.  This point was proved, rather tellingly, the other day when my husband went in to collect “an order for Anna” to be told “oh yes I know her, she is in here all the time….”..

I do shop there a lot.  Since foxy got our chickens, the next best thing is to see those at Washingpool strutting, pecking and buy their spanking fresh eggs.  When I can’t be bothered to make bread, theirs is marvellous and when I want tip top, super-fresh fruit and veg that haven’t clocked up air miles I go there.  The problem is that I usually come out with more than I went in for.  Faced with amazing produce I am helpless and unable to resist.  So it was this week when I chanced upon fat globes of beetroot still with their frilly green and pink leaves (perfect in a stir fry) and one of my absolute seasonal favourites, blood oranges.

Once home I decided I wanted to combine the sharp juiciness of the oranges with the sweet earthiness of the beetroot.  I added a little spring onion and rocket for peppery bite and some soft salty feta.  It was a delicious lunch.

Blood Orange, Beetroot and Feta Salad

This is how I made the salad you see, it was enough for one but can easily be doubled or tripled.

1 cooked beetroot, peeled and cut into 8

1 blood orange, peeled and segmented

A handful of rocket

1 spring onion, finely chopped

About 25g feta

2 teaspoons rapeseed oil

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

Mix the oil and vinegar in a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.  Put the beetroot, blood orange, spring onion and rocket on a plate, drizzle over the dressing then add the feta at the last minute so it doesn’t all turn Barbie pink.

Blood Orange and Iced Tea Granita 3

For an unbelievable refreshing light pudding after this seasons hearty, cosy stews try my Blood Orange Granita (February 2013) show here in front of another crisp, cleansing number, Iced Tea Granita (July 2013).

Blood oranges

A final point, why have supermarkets started calling Blood Oranges Blush Oranges….?

 

 

My Favourite Green Salad

Green Salad 1

Happy New Year!  Are you looking for something fresh, green and crunchy? After the Christmas cake which I ate almost entirely myself I know I am.  I love salads all year round and eat them in one form or other several days a week.   However right now my craving knows no bounds.   After what feels like weeks of rain the sun is out and the sky is blue.  Tom and I went for a fabulous walk up beautiful Lewesdon Hill this morning and following a  hose down (Tom, not me) I felt like something healthy, raw (mostly) and fresh to eat.

This is the sort of salad we often have for a weekday lunch, perhaps with the addition of a few chunks of feta, maybe with soup if it is chilly or just good bread.  Whatever the weather we often have this for a weekend lunch alongside a roast chicken, my children invariably picking out the bits they like best.  It makes a lovely change from the usual roast with vegetables and feels a bit lighter – without losing out on the gorgeous golden roast chook.  Perfect with a steak for supper, no need for chips because of the croutons and it is just the thing with any barbecued meat (I know, I know, barely a sign of Spring outside and I am already talking barbecues, I can’t help myself).

Green Salad 4

I suspect you may have spotted the croutons so I must state that this is not diet food per se but it is so delicious, crisp and clean that I would certainly term it healthy.  Whatever, this is the green salad I turn to most often and usually have the ingredients in my fridge. No spring onions or avocado?  No matter, use what you have or what you like best.   This is enough for my lunch just as it is, the croutons, seeds and avocado giving it substance but as ever, it is just a guideline, an idea to share.

My Green Salad

4 slices of baguette or similar, cubed  (a little stale is fine)

1 tablespoon oil

1 small clove garlic, crushed or very finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons oil (I use 2 of good extra virgin olive oil and one of a plain oil)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pine kernels

1 little gem

A handful of baby spinach

A handful of rocket

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 avocado, peeled and cubed

Small chunk of cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped

Chives, a small handful (parsley, mint or oregano work well or a combination of any)

Preheat the oven to 200.  Turn the cubes of bread in the tablespoon of oil, put in a small tin and bake for 5 minutes until golden, then sprinkle with a little salt.   In a small bowl mix the garlic, sugar, mustard, lemon juice a good pinch of salt and some black pepper.  Slowly add the 3 tablespoons of oil mixing well until emulsified.  In a small frying pan heat the seeds until just turning golden.   Cut up the little gem put it into a large salad bowl with the spinach, rocket and avocado.  Add most of the dressing and toss the salad, you may not need it all but I find this amount just right.  Scatter over the croutons and seeds and trickle over the rest of the dressing if you want.  Snip the chives or other herbs over the top.  Serves 2 for lunch or 2 adults and  2 children as a side dish.

If you are looking for more healthy New Years’ crunch, try my carrot salad which I posted in January 2013.