Friday, January 24, 2014

Pimped coleslaw

Strayla day is all about the BBQ. Nothing stirs up a sense of national pride like the waft of sausages sizzling and onions frying.   It's a day steeped in nostalgia, as we recall the summers of our youth and marvel at how far we have come from the days of Grandma’s horrifying beetroot jelly and onion in vinaigrette.
I am a big believer that history and contemporary life can go hand in hand and have subsequently tarted up the once dowdy coleslaw beyond recognition. Notably absent of thick mayonnaise and grated carrot, I am not  even sure if the presence of cabbage is enough to qualify it as a slaw. Either way the moreish texture and refreshing flavours are what I am after; so in the spirit of a true blue Aussie sheila I do as I please.

Crunchy lemon hazelnut and chive coleslaw.
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
½ cabbage
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbs olive oil
First make the nut crumble by chopping the nuts and then mixing through the garlic, teaspoon of oil, lemon rind, salt and pepper to taste.
Toast the seasoned and coated nuts in a frypan over medium heat until lightly golden and irresistibly aromatic. Resist the urge to nibble some, and place to one side to cool while you get on with the rest.
Using a mandolin slicer for preference, shave the cabbage into a lump of fine strands. Add the herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and mix well to ensure and even distribution.
Sprinkle the cooled nuts on top and toss lightly.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Salad days

Here we are after a summer of fun.

Routine is beckoning, but bathers, sand and the sweet scent of sun cream lotion still happily make
their presence felt in our day to day life as we wait for the crescendo that is school opening its doors for another year.

I have taken my annual vow of health and well being, and my husband was a terrific sport keeping a straight face when I declared that no wine would pass my lips for the next week. I also made note of mentioning increased efficiency, renewed vitality, and a deep commitment to frugality; but he had busied himself doing the dishes whilst I was babbling away, so I didn’t push the point too far.

Suffice to say here is a little recipe that ticks most of the boxes. Maximising seasonal goodness this jolly little salad is as refreshing as it is easy on a hot summer’s day. And yes; it would go particularly well with a cheeky little glass of summer holiday white wine.

Green bean, orange and almond salad.
This is such a joyful looking salad that celebrates Australian fare. Look out for Valancia oranges, their slightly greenish skin belies their juicy interior, they are our summer orange crop and vastly superior to any out of season import.
400 grams green beans
100g snow peas
Flesh of half an orange
¼ cup whole almonds
For the dressing
Juice of half an orange
2 Tbs seeded mustard
3 Tbs olive oil
Salt and peppe

Top and tail the peas and snow peas. I tend to serve the snow peas raw in the salad and only blanch the beans to balance tenderness versus crunch.

Blanch the beans by bringing a large pan of water to a brisk boil. Cook the beans in the boiling water for no more than 2-3 minutes. Drain them immediately under plenty of cold running water to stop them overcooking and help retain their bright green colour.  Dry well.

Combine the beans and snow peas on a serving dish, cover and chill until required.

Make the dressing by combining dressing ingredients in a small jar and shaking vigorously to combine – check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Just before serving: In a frypan over medium heat, roast the whole almonds to make them beautifully crunchy and flavoursome. This should take about 2 mins. Roughly chop to create lots of interesting shapes and textures. Cut the orange into small chunks, being sure to discard any pith or seeds.

Toss the dressing through the chilled beans and scatter the oranges and almond atop.