logo

Watercress, blood orange and beetroot salad with green dressing

After the winter storm that hit most of the UK last week, it finally feels like spring is trying to make an appearance. Along with my appetite for large, colourful salads. Hahaha. Who am I trying to kid… I would eat salads with blizzards howling around me 😉 Whether it is still snowy where you are, or you have secretly started unpacking your summer wardrobe, here is some inspiration for those of you in need of something fresh and refreshing – a watercress, blood orange and beetroot salad with a moorish green dressing.

Winter salad 1

The salad ingredients are really up to you. Here I’ve combined blood oranges, rocket, watercress, spring onions, pomegranate seeds, beetroot, green olives, red chicory and very salty Pecorino cheese. Keep it vegan by omitting the cheese or replacing it with a vegan alternative. Blood orange season is now almost over, but you can use regular oranges, tangerines, minneolas or mandarins too. And any beetroot will do, although this candy (or chioggia) beetroot is particularly beautiful and great raw in salads, as it loses its candy stripes once cooked. I also really love the addition of the chicory here, as it adds a tad of bitterness.

Ingredients for the green dressing

90ml (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
60ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
large handful mint leaves
small bunch coriander, leaves and stalks
large pinch of good quality salt
freshly ground black pepper
small knob of ginger
1 garlic clove
maple syrup to taste

Method

  1. Pour the oil and lemon juice in a blender, then add the other ingredients on top.
  2. Blend until smooth and velvety. Pour over the salad, or store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a few weeks. Shake well before use.

Note: to spice things up, you could also add a green chilli to the dressing. For other winter salad inspiration, click here.



Bergamot and cucumber salad

I only recently discovered my love for Earl Grey tea. Not the regular kind, mind you. It was the combination of Redbush tea from my homeland with the intoxicating aroma from the Bergamot oil that swayed me. The Bergamot orange (sometimes mistakenly referred to as a lemon) was created more than 300 years ago in Southern Italy when a sour orange was crossed with a citron/lemon/lime/Palestine sweet lime. No one is quite sure. The oil is extracted from the rind and used in Earl Grey teas, as well as fragrances, aromatherapy and to flavour dishes. Here I’ve put them to good use in a refreshing salad dressing with cucumber and blueberries. But the options really are endless…

Bergamot lemons (1)

Bergamot lemon cucumber salad

If you cannot find Bergamot oranges (in season from December to February) try a combination of lemon, grapefruit and orange or tangerine, although the distinctive floral, slightly bitter flavour is difficult to replicate.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the salad

2 English cucumbers, peeled if not organic

1 punnet blueberries (about 125g), washed and halved if you prefer

a large handful of pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Ingredients for the dressing

zest of 2 Bergamot oranges

juice of 1 Bergamot orange

80ml thick Greek yoghurt (or coconut yoghurt)

45ml (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

large pinch of unrefined rock or sea salt

1 – 2 teaspoons raw honey (or maple syrup), or to taste

small bunch of dill, leaves only, finely chopped

Method

  1. Thinly slice the cucumber on the diagonal and gently toss with a pinch of unrefined salt. Place the cucumber slices in a colander over a bowl or in the sink and allow to drain for at least half an hour.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar, screw on the lid and give it a good shake until the honey is dissolved.
  3. Add the rest of the salad ingredients, toss with the dressing and serve immediately.

Bergamot lemon dressing

Cuke salad

 



Sweet potato rösti with Caesar kale

My biggest gripe with classifying something as an of-the-moment superfood, is that it inevitably leads to that food going “out of fashion” at some stage. It is such a shame, as many so-called superfoods really are fantastic, nutrient-dense foods that have a lot to offer. It was kale this and kale that for quite some time, but this wonderful veg seems to have fallen out of favour. Don’t be a fashion victim! Add this brunch dish, that I developed for the M&S Super Brunch Campaign, to your Boxing Day brunch, and rediscover an old favourite.

The Caesar-style dressing is delicious with the astringent greens and complemented by the sweet potato pancakes. I used the tiny copper pan from the new M&S chef range to make perfectly shaped individual portions.  rosti-2 rosti-1 rosti-4

 

This is a fantastic meal, be it for breakfast, brunch or a light supper. Like most things in life, it tastes even better with an egg on top.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the rösti

4 medium (about 800g) sweet potatoes, peeled

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 medium eggs, lightly whisked

40g (about 1/4 cup) wholemeal spelt flour or flour of your choice (I use a gluten-free mix)

butter or ghee for frying

Ingredients for the kale

5 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained and chopped

1 small garlic clove, peeled and chopped

small pinch of coarse salt

60ml (1/4 cup) mayonnaise, preferably home-made

15ml (1 tablespoon) freshly squeezed lemon juice

15g (1/4 cup loosely packed) finely grated Parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper

300g kale, thick stalks discarded and torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces

 

Method

  1. For the kale: make the dressing, by placing the anchovies, garlic and salt in a mortar and pounding them together until you have a paste.
  2. Stir in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Parmesan and pepper, and set aside.
  3. For the rösti: boil two of the sweet potatoes in a little water until they are just tender around the outside (do not let them get too soft!). Remove from the pot and allow to cool.
  4. In the meantime, coarsely grate the other two sweet potatoes and mix with the spring onions, eggs and flour.
  5. Finally, coarsely grate the slightly softened sweet potatoes and carefully combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Heat a little butter or ghee (or coconut oil) in a frying pan until hot (but not smoking), then add enough batter to make a patty shape. Press down on the batter to ensure it is compact and will hold together.
  7. Fry for roughly 5 minutes on each side, or until golden and crispy. Carefully remove with a spatula and keep warm while frying the rest.
  8. Whilst your final rösti is frying, gently wilt the kale in a little water over a medium heat. As soon as it is tender, drain, return to the pan and stir through the dressing.
  9. Serve the dressed kale on top of the rösti with or without eggs.

rosti-3

*This blog post was written in collaboration with M&S. All content and photos my own.



Roasted pumpkin with green sauce

I spent some time in beautiful Hamburg in my early 20’s. My neighbour opposite was also a keen cook and I remember chatting to him about his favourite local dishes (his was SteckrĂŒbeneintopf). When he asked me whether there were any particular South African specialities I loved, it took about 1 second for “Pumpkin Fritters” to leave my mouth, a little more loudly than I had intended.  He was horrified. “Pumpkin? That is what the pigs eat here in Germany…” Say what?! Naturally I rose to the challenge and, once I had finally sourced a pumpkin, made him some Pampoenkoekies. I believe he was a converted man.

pumpkin dsc_7469

This dish is a lovely make-ahead option for the colder months. Use whatever squash or pumpkin you have, but it is particularly delicious with sugar pumpkin. The green sauce is very moreish and good with any type of grain or pulse-based salad. It will thicken in the fridge, but just give it a good whisk and it should be pourable.

roasted-pumpkin

 

Roasted pumpkin with green sauce

 

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients for the sauce

80ml (1/3 cup) coconut milk (if using organic, stand the tin in warm water to melt the fat)

30ml (2 tablespoons) lime juice (about 2 medium limes)

1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

1/2 small avocado

Juice of 1 tangerine

1 spring onion

large bunch (100g) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

medium bunch (50g) fresh mint, leaves only

1 teaspoon raw honey

1 green chilli (more or less to taste), seeds removed if you prefer it less spicy

 

For the rest

1 fennel bulb, the tough outer layer peeled (or a couple of stalks celery)

1 spring onion, finely sliced

3 cups cooked lentils and/ or quinoa

unrefined salt

crumbled goats cheese

roasted pumpkin (I used kabocha squash, but for an extra delicious option, try sugar pumkin)

toasted pumpkin seeds

 

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Separate the layers of the fennel bulb, then chop into small squares. Sauté in a little coconut oil until tender.
  3. Combine the fennel with the rest of the ingredients, dress with the dressing and serve.

 



Beet and butternut “fasagne”

I love this time of year, just before the clocks go back. It is sometimes frosty, but mostly bright and often sunny. The Boston ivy cascading over the garden wall has embraced its beautiful autumnal coat of reds, yellows and oranges, while the climbing rose is fighting the change of season with a last few brave blooms. The produce at the farmer’s market is now distinctly different from the offering even a month ago. And our appetites have definitely veered towards more warming, comforting dishes. This fasagne (my son’s name for “fake” meat-, gluten- and (mostly) dairy-free lasagnes) is a delicious way to feed a gathering. It does involve a few steps, but nothing is too complicated or time-consuming. I often double the quantities and freeze one.

dsc_6458 dsc_6784

Beet and butternut “fasagne”

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients for the cauli-béchamel

2 medium cauliflowers, florets steamed until tender (about 1.2kg cooked weight)

30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (preferably organic and grass-fed), omit if vegan or dairy-free

1 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

2 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes (available at health stores and most good supermarkets)

heaped 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 

Ingredients for the beet & tomato sauce

extra virgin olive oil

400g red onions, finely chopped (300g chopped weight)

1.4kg (about 14) tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped (or use tinned if you prefer)

500g beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

 

Ingredients for the rest

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled

extra virgin olive oil

350g (roughly 2 medium) leeks, washed, cut in half length ways and finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

400g chard, washed, stalks finely chopped and leaves finely shredded

1/2 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

large handful of finely grated Parmesan, optional

 

Method

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients for the béchamel and set aside.
  2. For the tomato sauce, sweat the onion in a large heavy bottomed saucepan in a glug of olive oil over a medium heat until soft an translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has a chutney-like consistency (about 30 minutes).
  3. While the tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the rest of the layers. Cut the butternut squash(es) in half just above the rounded end. Set aside the half with the seeds for use at a later stage (try the Pumpkin Pie smoothie in my book Good Better Green). Slice the other half into thin slices, roughly 0.5cm/1/4” thick. These will form your lasagne sheets. Place the “sheets” in a large saucepan and boil in a little water until just tender when tested with a sharp knife. Be careful not to let them cook too soft. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Pour the water from the butternut saucepan and add a glug of olive oil. Gently sweat the leeks and garlic until soft. Add the salt and chard stalks and continue to cook over medium heat until tender. Finally add the chard leaves and cook until wilted. Set aside.
  5. You are now ready to assemble the lasagne. In a large ovenproof dish, place a layer of butternut squash “sheets”. Spread half the tomato sauce on top, then half the bĂ©chamel followed by all of the chard and leek mix. Repeat the process, ending with a layer of bĂ©chamel.
  6. For an extra-delicious end result, sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top, then bake for roughly 1 hour at 180°C/360°F. It should be bubbling around the edges and the butternut “sheets” should be very tender when tested with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a large green salad.

 



Melon and avocado poke

This is refreshing and utterly summery. Unlike the British weather. (Here’s hoping the guys at the met office are right about that heat wave…) Poke (pronounced poke-keh) is a Hawaiian staple and can be found in many different guises, with chunks of tuna marinated in soy being the most popular and ubiquitous. This is a meat- and fish-free version and something I love eating whilst sat on my garden chair with the sun kissing my toes. It serves 4 as a starter, but I often eat the entire bowlful for lunch. Whatever you do, only attempt this if you can get your hands on seriously good melons.

Version 2

Melon & avocado poké with nori crisps

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients for the nori crisps

2 sheets nori

white sesame seeds

sesame oil

sea salt

 

Ingredients for the dressing

15ml (1 tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil

5ml (1 teaspoon) rice wine vinegar

5ml (1 teaspoon) toasted sesame oil

15ml (1 tablespoon) tamari

30ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon raw honey

1 teaspoon each of white and black sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

pinch of dried chilli flakes (or to taste)

1 shallot, very finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

 

Ingredients for the poké

500g (3 1/2 cups) diced watermelon (or a mixture of melons)

2 ripe avocado, cut into small dice

large handful sugar snap peas, thinly sliced lengthways

1 spring onion, finely sliced

sea salt

 

Method

  1. For the nori crisps: Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place two sheets of nori, shiny side up, on a chopping board. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush one sheet with water, then press the other one firmly firmly on top to stick the two together.
  2. Now brush the uppermost sheet with sesame oil, sprinkle on some sea salt and sesame seeds, and using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the nori into thin strips.
  3. Arrange the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they have turned crispy and dark green. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. To serve: Gently toss together the melon and other poké ingredients with the dressing and serve immediately topped with nori crisps.

 

DSC_3376 Melon Poke 2

 

 



Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you have never tasted a slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, you may not understand what all the fuss is about. Its intriguing name refers partly to its smooth and velvety texture, and partly to the sensual red colour, which is achieved in most modern recipes by adding (lots of) red food colouring to a chocolate cake batter.

Both these features were, however, originally due to the reaction of an acid (like vinegar or buttermilk) with the cocoa powder in the batter, which not only created bubbles and aeration, but also enhanced the red anthocyanin in the cocoa, a compound (also found in foods like red cabbage) that gets more red in the presence of strong acids. However, these days most cocoa powder undergoes Dutch processing, where an alkalizing agent is added to neutralise its acidity. Hence the need for (lots of) red colouring was created amongst bakers, and expertly fulfilled in the US by Adams Extract, a Texan company with good marketing sense.

But now for the really interesting bit. For our purposes today, at least. During the Second World War, bakers used reduced beet juice to enhance the colour (and texture) of their cakes, including the infamous Red Velvet cake, and give otherwise cheap bakes a dramatic appearance. Ah ha! As you know, adding vegetables to any kind of dish is my forte, so I present to you: the very beet-y red velvet ice cream sandwich.

IC cover

Red velvet ice cream sandwiches

These sandwiches are a beguiling mix of earthy, sweet, cool and chewy. I used buckwheat flour to keep it gluten-free, but if you are not a fan of the taste,  use stoneground spelt flour instead. Be sure to freeze the sandwiches until firm, or else you will end up with more ice cream on your shirt than between your biscuits!

Makes 8 sandwiches

Ingredients for the ice cream

200g roasted beetroot (about 500g peeled, raw beetroot)

1 whole vanilla pod

1 can coconut milk, gently warmed to melt the fat

60ml (1/4 cup) raw honey, plus a little extra to taste

flesh of 1/2 ripe avocado (about 50g)

15g (2 tablespoons) organic unsweetened cocoa powder

7g (1 tablespoon) arrowroot powder, dissolved in 15ml (1 tablespoon) water

Ingredients for the cookies

1 tablespoon ground golden linseeds (flax seeds)

60ml (1/4 cup) milk of your choice

60ml (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil

60g (1/2 cup) coconut blossom sugar

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

30g (1/4 cup) organic unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of sea salt

160g (1 cup) buckwheat flour

Method

  1. For the ice cream: put all the ingredients, except 2/3 of the coconut milk and the arrowroot powder slurry, in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside. (If you do not have a high speed blender, scrape out the seeds of the vanilla pod and only use these – pop the pod in your coffee or sugar pot.)
  2. Whisk the arrowroot slurry into the rest of the gently warmed coconut milk. As soon as it thickens, remove from the heat, and once cooled, add the beetroot mix and whisk. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. For the cookies: whisk the ground linseeds and milk together. Set aside for a few minutes to allow it to swell.
  4. Whisk the oil and sugar together until light and frothy. Add the vanilla & linseed mix, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix together briefly until you have a ball of dough.
  5. Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop 16 dough balls onto a baking sheet (no need to grease) and flatten each ball (I use a small palette knife to do this).
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C/360°F. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
  7. For the sandwiches: churn the refrigerated ice cream mixture in your ice cream maker.
  8. Transfer the soft ice cream to a shallow container that will yield a slab of ice cream 3 – 4 cm thick. Pop it in the freezer until almost solidly frozen, then use a cookie cutter the same size as your cookies to cut out ice cream rounds and place between two cooled cookies. You could also remove the ice cream slightly earlier and use an ice cream scoop to place one scoop between two cookies and press down lightly.
  9. If you would like to make these ahead of time, put the sandwiches in a container in the freezer and remember to take them out at least 5 – 10 minutes before eating.

Note:

To roast the beetroot, scrub clean, peel and cut into medium dice. Toss lightly in melted coconut oil and roast at 180°C/360°F until tender (about 1 hour), turning every so often. Be careful not to let them burn.

If you do not own an ice cream maker, you can make the ice cream by freezing the mixture and whisking it every 30 minutes or so, to prevent the formation of ice crystals.

Flowers



Crustless courgette quiche

Zucchini. Courgette. Summer squash. Or baby marrow, as it is called in South Africa. I have a love-hate relationship with this veg. It tastes great grilled, marinated or slathered in dressing, but it is not the most nutrient dense choice, and I struggle to get it down raw (I know, I shouldn’t be admitting this, given the current zoodle fad…) And it really is a tad boring, if you’re honest. Having said that, it is a regular in my shopping basket, as its neutral taste means it is a good canvas for more exciting things, and makes it rather versatile from being grated into omelettes, breads, fritters and even brownies (check out the recipe in my book!), to featuring in beautiful sides such as a this one. Another surefire way to make the most of the humble zucchini, is this gluten- and grain-free quiche. It looks spectacular and tastes pretty darn good too.  Rose Quiche (1)

Crustless Courgette Quiche

The leek and egg mix forms a rather delicious grain-free base and helps keep the courgette slices upright. Feel free to add a large handful of good quality grated Parmesan to the filling if you like – it will make it even more delicious!

Ingredients

Knob of butter or glug of extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, trimmed, cut in half length-wise and thinly sliced (about 250g)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, parsley and marjoram

200g spinach

9 medium eggs, whisked

125ml (1/2 cup) milk of your choice

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 medium courgette (about 550g), trimmed

1/3 red pepper, finely diced

soft goats cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Butter a 27/28cm oven-proof round dish and pre-heat the oven to 180°C/360°F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, sauté the leeks, onion and dried herbs with some of the salt over a low to medium heat until soft. Scrape into a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. In the same saucepan wilt the spinach (the water left over after washing should be enough), then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Use a mandolin (or a very sharp knife) to thinly slice your zucchini. Thin enough to bend, but thick enough to stand up on its side (about 3mm).
  5. Add 125ml (1/2 cup) of the whisked egg to the cooled leek mix. Spread this over the bottom of your buttered dish.
  6. Place the wilted spinach in a blender with the rest of the eggs, milk, salt and cayenne pepper, and whizz until the spinach is well blended.
  7. Now start placing the courgette slices into the leek “base”, starting along the edge of the dish, for stability, working your way inwards. Leave a little space between the “petals” of your rose, if possible. I steamed the slightly thicker rind pieces first, before slotting them into the rose, as they aren’t malleable enough otherwise.
  8. Now carefully pour the spinach egg mix in between the courgette petals, ensuring an even distribution.
  9. Finally scatter the little red pepper dice into the centre and bake for roughly 1 hour or until set in the centre.
  10. Serve with a mixed salad, soft goat’s cheese and additional red pepper dice.

DSC_2147 Slice



Lamb steak, puntarelle and rosemary brittle

I love the Italians! Not only do they know how to live passionately, but they also rock on the green vegetable front, especially when it comes to bitter greens. One of my favourites is puntarelle or catalogna – a loose leafed variety of chicory favoured by most Romans, also referred to as Catalonian or asparagus chicory. The word “puntarelle” actually refers to the pale green inner stalks that have asparagus-like tips, whilst the outer leaves are similar to dandelion both in taste (they are very bitter!) and appearance. If you would like a step-by-step tutorial on how to prepare this vegetable, Nick Anderer explains it all here.  For a quick overview, I’ve included the steps below. This fabulous vegetable is only in season in the colder months, but with Easter a little earlier than usual, perhaps this salad will still be a possible addition to your festive feast! It will be equally good with dandelion greens, chicory and radicchio, however, if you cannot find puntarelle.

DSC_1827

Dressing (1)

 

Lamb steak, puntarelle and rosemary brittle

 

Ingredients for the salad

2 lamb steaks

splash of extra virgin olive oil

2 – 3 sprigs of rosemary

2 – 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

1 butternut or coquina squash, cut into rings and roasted until tender

1 head of puntarelle

 

Ingredients for the brittle

85g (just under 1/2 cup) unrefined brown sugar

50g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts

15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon course ground sea salt

 

Ingredients for the dressing

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

5 – 6 marinated anchovies, drained

30ml (2 tablespoons) mayonnaise (preferably home-made)

80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil

30ml (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice

 

 Method

  1. Rub a little olive oil into the meat, then place into a shallow glass dish and press the rosemary and garlic on top. Allow to marinade for a couple of hours, then remove the rosemary and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and fry on a griddle until cooked to your liking. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  2. For the puntarelle:
    1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Strip away the dark green outer leaves – you will only need a handful of these to add to the salad. Use a sharp paring knife to separate the pale green core into its individual stalks, then thinly slice each lengthwise before dropping the slivers into the ice water. They need to soak for at least 45 minutes to achieve the traditional curly crispness that puntarelle is loved for.
  3. For the brittle:
    1. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
    2. Place the sugar in a medium heavy saucepan over medium high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Lower the heat a little and keep stirring until all the sugar has melted.
    3. Now leave it to cook untouched until it is a dark caramel colour – you should be able to smell it. Stir in the walnuts and butter, and allow to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring constantly, or until the butter is incorporated.
    4. Stir in the rosemary and salt, then scrape the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it evenly to the desired thickness with a wooden spoon or stiff rubber spatula. Allow to cool completely (roughly one hour) then break it into pieces. You will probably have slightly more than you need for this salad, but the rest can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep a few days.
  4. For the dressing:
    1. Place the garlic and coarse salt in a mortar and grind into a paste.
    2. Add the rosemary and continue to grind until it is well mixed and resembles a speckled pulp.
    3. Add the anchovies and repeat until you have a thick paste.
    4. Now slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is incorporated, followed by the mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  5. To assemble your salad, combine the sliced lamb, roughly chopped puntarelle greens, drained and dried puntarelle stalks and roasted squash, and toss with enough dressing to coat. Scatter over the brittle and serve immediately.

Version 2

 

Brittle (1)



Mackerel and romanesco with preserved lemon

Writing a book about greens has helped me rekindle relationships with some vegetables that I have neglected somewhat, such as this little beauty, the romanesco. It looks like the strange yet stunning lovechild of Mr Broccoli and Ms Cauliflower, but is indeed a unique Italian variety of broccoli that develops multiple compact heads that can be individually snapped off. Each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in a logarithmic spiral, and this pattern continues at several smaller levels. To retain the gorgeous green hue after blanching or steaming, be sure to shock the florets in ice cold water. Nutritionally, romanesco is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and carotenoids.

DSC_1756

Mackerel salad (1)

Mackerel and romanesco with preserved lemon dressing

Serves 4

 

Ingredients for the salad

85g (1/2 cup) wild rice, rinsed, soaked in fresh water overnight and cooked until tender

3 smoked mackerel fillets, skin discarded and flaked

one large handful of rocket per person

150g large green olives, pitted and halved

45g (a heaped 1/4 cup) organic raisins

1 small head of romanesco, cut into florets and lightly steamed until tender, then shocked under ice cold water (90g reserved for dressing)

 

Ingredients for the dressing

2 small preserved lemons, pulp discarded and peel roughly chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

90g (about 3/4 cup) cooked romanesco

125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil

45ml (3 tablespoons) lemon juice

1 – 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 – 3 teaspoons raw honey

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

small bunch of dill

freshly ground black pepper

sea salt to taste

 

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the salad ingredients, season with salt and gently toss with enough dressing to coat.

 

Note: It is possible to enjoy wild rice – the seed of an aquatic grass and not a grain at all! – in its raw form, if you allow it to sprout (or “bloom”). Rinse the rice well, then soak in fresh water for 2 to 3 days, changing the water twice daily. You will know it is ready when most of the rice kernels have split open and are soft.