Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Left: hardcore version. Right: softcore version

I don’t particularly like blue cheese, but this dip has won me over. If you make it just before serving, it will be quite runny and you can use it as a salad dressing (great over cos lettuce halves). If you leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight, it will firm up and become more of a dip consistency.

In whatever form, it is great with hot and spicy chicken winglets, and celery. I cannot get enough of celery sticks dipped into this.

Warning: you will need a food processor (I have a mini stick food processor)


  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • Blue cheese:
    • Softcore version: use 1/4 to 1/3 of the White Castello soft cheese half round (Creamy White)
    • Hardcore version: use 1/4 to 1/3 of the Blue Castello soft cheese half round (Creamy Blue)
    • Extremely hardcore version: use 1/4 of the Creamy Blue and 1/4 of an actual hardcore blue
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Pop everything into your mini food processor and process until smooth. Pour into a lidded container and then either dress salad with it immediately, or leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

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Recipe: Garlic Salad Dressing

Dressed cos lettuce halves and radish quarters

You can thank the Countess Von Noodlestein for inspiring this: she drenches tomatoes and separately chopped iceberg lettuce in something similar. And it is divine. It’s also quite simple.


  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (aka EVOO)
  • 1 clove garlic (fresh garlic, mind)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Crush the fresh garlic into a dressing container, add the salt, mix and leave for about 20 minutes. Then add the EVOO and the pepper and whisk/shake until well combined. If you are serving this over tomatoes, dress the tomatoes in it an hour/so before so they have time to warm up, marinate and infuse (same with the chopped iceberg lettuce), otherwise drizzle over your cos lettuce halves, your radishes or whatever else you want to bath in luxurious, garlicky, olive oil warmness immediately before serving.

Dressed cos lettuce halves (2018 may be all about the cos lettuce halves) and tomato quarters

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Cos lettuce halves with tomato quarters, slow cooked beef ribs and red cabbage coleslaw

I’ve previously shared with you a really delicious, creamy Purple Coleslaw with ginger, lemongrass and garlic.

This new version is a purple cabbage coleslaw for the days when you don’t want a creamy salad (perhaps you are cooking something that is quite fatty and rich in and of itself, like beef ribs). It’s a lot more simple that the creamy version, but word of warning: it’s not for the coriander h8rs.


  • 1/4 head of purple cabbage (red cabbage), finely sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped finely (coriander ha8rs could substitute mint and/or basil…I guess).
  • 1-2 tbsp sushi vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

Pop the cabbage in a bowl with a lid, add in the sushi vinegar and caster sugar. Shake and leave for 1-2 hours: I left it on the counter top but you could also leave it in the fridge. Every so often, shake your bowl (hence the need for a bowl with a lid) to make sure the vinegar and caster sugar are covering all the cabbage and the sugar is dissolving (you could also mix the sugar and vinegar together before you pop it on the cabbage, but I was lazy).

When you are ready to serve, add in the coriander and stir thoroughly.

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Kale Closeup (Kale Kloseup?)

I had a bit of a foodie adventure while I was travelling, so when I came back to Perth I wanted simple things in salad form. What I craved was kale. The first night I was back I had a bowl full of kale that had been massaged with olive oil and rock salt. And I actually had to force myself into more balanced eating (and other colours of vegetables) so I didn’t also have that the next night. Because.I.really.wanted.to.eat.kale.

Kale is an interesting vegetable, it’s mainly eaten cooked (wilted with bacon, it’s a great side dish for a roast). However you can eat it raw, you just have to prepare it first.

Preparing Kale:

I use Curly Kale (Kurly Kale?).

Cut the spines out of the leaves (I hold the leave up and slice along the stem to cut the leaves away from it). Discard the stem, then tear the pieces up up a little to reduce the size of the leaves.

Throw the leaves into a large bowl and pour about a tablespoon of olive oil on them, grind some rock or sea salt over them and then massage the oil and salt into the leaves until the leaves are completely covered with the oil. They actually change colour (from dull green to a shiney bright green) and texture (they will feel softer to touch). This method removes the bitterness and makes the kale pleasant to eat raw.


Kale Greek Salad with Barley

Having weaned myself off eating only Kale, I then started experimenting with Kale Salads. I recommend Kale Greek Salad as well as this variation which is basically Kale Greek Salad with Barley. It’s light but also filling. If you want something more substantial and warming that just “salad” this becomes a good option.


  • 2 leaves of curly kale, prepared as listed above
  • 1/3 red capsicum, diced
  • 1/3 punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Handful of olives
  • 1/4 block of feta (about 50gm), diced
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, sliced finely
  • 1 cup barley, prepared as for the other barley salads I’ve made
  • 1 tablespoon of oil reserved from a jar of semi-sundried tomatoes

Combine all the ingredients, then stir. The herbs flavouring jars of semi-sundried tomatoes bring a richness of flavour. At this point I would season it, but taste before adding salt (the Kale already has salt and feta is very salty).

Serves 2 as a meal.

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Cucumber and Mint Salad

On the side

On the side

I made this as a yummy side salad to go with an omelette and rice – it makes a tasty light meal and ensures you eat vegies/greens with your protein and carbs. I sprinkled a little sesame oil over the omelette and added some soy sauce to the rice, so it was nice and flavoursome.


  • 1 x lebanese cucumber, top and tail and then quarter lengthways before slicing finely
  • Small handful mint, torn
  • Small handful of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Sushi vinegar
  • A couple of drops of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

Combine mint, cucumber and chives in a bowl. Combine the other ingredients and whisk until they emulsify, season if needed. Pour over salad and mix salad. Serve 😀

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Carrot and Purple Cabbage Salad

aka: It takes alot to find the carrot and purple cabbage salad that is perfect for you.

Purple cabbage and carrot salad

Purple cabbage and carrot salad with Bill Granger’s Vietnamese-style chicken

This recipe came about because Le Amazant Monsieur H and The Divine Miss K bought me Indira Naidoo’s The Edible Balcony for Christmas. Apart from the great tips about small space gardening and the seasonal growing guides, there are a heap of recipes for each season.

Indira included a recipe called Fitz’s Carrot Salsa which is basically grated carrot, shredded purple cabbage, diced green capsicum, parsley, red wine vinegar and olive oil. (Clearly if I have a book by someone, we are on first name terms even if we have never met).

I really liked the idea of combining orange carrots with purple cabbage without the heaviness of a mayonnaise you would get in coleslaw.

So I made it and I did like it, but…I wasn’t as keen on the mediterranean flavours and I don’t really like green capsicum. Although good, this was not quite right for me.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry.  She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.

Source: The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Clearly, I needed to take another step in my hunt for the perfect salad.

Next up was a Carrot Salad recipe by Bill Granger from delicious (For 4 years running Le Amazant Monsieur H and The Divine Miss K gave me a subscription to Delicious for my birthday. They spoil me, but they benefit when I cook. ).

Unfortunately I can’t find the recipe on the Taste website, disappointing :\ This recipe had carrots, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, kalamata olives, feta and coriander, mint and parsley leaves.

I made it, but I added purple cabbage, and it was nice. I really liked the mint, coriander and parsley combination, but…it still wasn’t quite right for me.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said

Source: The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

So: I decided to take the elements I liked from these two recipes, along with the flavourings I like (e.g. my Purple Coleslaw with ginger, lemongrass and garlic), remove the mayonnaise and see how much trouble I could get into on my own 😉

The result = perfect.

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

Source: The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears


  • 1/4 purple cabbage, either chopped finely or shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • Handful of fresh herbs, I suggest a mix of the following:
    • Mint
    • Coriander
    • Basil
  • 1 small slurp (say 1/2 tbsp) Peanut Oil
  • 1 slurp (say 1 tbsp) Sushi Vinegar
  • A couple of drops of sesame oil
  • 1 slurp lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve! Too easy 🙂


Not too hot, not too cold…just right

It is great with barbequed chicken, especially with Bill Granger’s Vietnamese-style Chicken recipe, also from delicious.  Unfortunately I can’t find this recipe on the Taste website either, disappointing #2 :\ but I make a slightly altered version using chicken thigh fillets, so I will post up my variant for you soon 🙂

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Recipe: Japanese Inspired BBQ

First BBQ of Spring

Countess Von Noodlestein came over to mine for a BBQ – the first one of Spring/Summer. It was a nice night, the food was yummy and the company goo.

I thought I might share my Japanese cuisine inspired twists on the BBQ staples: steak, simple salad and coleslaw; in celebration of Spring and eventually summer – and the super warm nights that lend themselves to BBQing on the patio.

Purple Coleslaw with ginger, lemongrass and garlic

I should confess that until I made this, I didn’t like coleslaw (or pasta salad, or rice salad, or 3 bean salad). I think that’s a hangover of growing up in the 80s and the fact that those salads are pretty stodgy and bland. But one year, for Australia Day, I challenged myself to reinvent the BBQ staple and came up with a really really good recipe…if I do say so myself.

So good, in fact, that I should probably patent it rather than share it – yes, I like it that much.

On the plus side, it only needs 2 fresh ingredients (the cabbage and the onion), so the rest you will hopefully already have in your fridge/pantry!


Serves 2-3

  • 1/4 of a head of purple cabbage
  • 1/2 a small brown onion
  • 2 big tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp lemongrass

Dice the cabbage and the onion and mix together. Add the mayonnaise as well as the garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Stir well.

So simple and so great with a charred steak straight off the barbie!

Simple salad with a sesame and sushi vinegar dressing

  • 1 tbsp sushi vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a couple of drops of sesame oil (it’s pretty strong, so you don’t need much)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Spinach leaves
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved

Put the spinach and the tomatoes into the serving bowl.

Whisk together the other ingredients and pour over the salad when you are about to serve. Enjoy!

Soy Marinated Rump Steak

My dad used to cook steak in soy sauce in the 80s – I don’t know if it was a Dad thing or an 80’s thing. Either way, when I think of childhood dinners, steak and soy is one thing I remember.

The steak I bought for the night was massive – there was enough for 2 servings each for the Countess and myself as well as enough to cut up finely, heat through and have for lunch in a knot roll the next day!

  • 1 piece of rump steak (it looks nicer if you cook it whole, let it rest and then cut servings of it for your guests)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 /2 tbsp olive oil

Whisk the soy and the oil together and use a pastry brush to coat the steak with it. Leave it to marinate for a couple of hours (or overnight if you have time) before you BBQ it.

Plated up

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Last outdoor lunch of summer

Seafood salad and sparking nashi pear wine from Margaret River

Countess Von Noodlestein and L’Artiste came over to mine for lunch, Von Noodlestein bringing a deluxe bottle of sparkling Nashi Pear wine from the Berry Farm in Margaret River (NB – The Berry Farm also do a deluxe fortified boysenberry wine/port – which is the bestestest. And you can purchase online!)

It was one of the last hot sunny,  summery Sundays before Autumn/Winter really hit. Mind you, in Perth Autumn/Winter really hitting just means it gets colder…but it’s still sunny.

Sun, good food, good wine and friends – what more do you need?

So I made a deluxe seafood salad :

Close up of salad


  • Mixed Lettuce Leaves
  • 1/2 x Red Capsicum Sliced
  • 1 x Lebanese Cucumber, quartered and finely sliced
  • Mushrooms (sliced finely and then fried in olive and garlic) – should be warm
  • Prawns (fried in olive oil, coriander, a dash of mirin, a teensy dash of sesame oil and garlic )- should be warm
  • Fresh common mint leaves
  • Fresh italian basil leaves

Mix together and use the pan juices from the mushrooms and prawns with a little SSB white wine vinegar, olive oil if needed and salt and pepper as the dressing. Enjoy with friends 🙂

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Recipe: A Bread Winner

It may disappoint you to know that Fattoush is not actually exotic and effective swear word (“you great big fattoush). Nor is it an affectionate dimunitive (“my little fattouschka”). In fact, Fattoush (or fattush, fatush or fattouche, according to wikipedia) is actually a middle eastern bread salad. “Bread” + “salad” without “sandwich” in there too? Radical, I know!

According to the great god  of misguided studies, wikipedia, fattoush is:

a salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread (khubz ‘arabi) combined with mixed greens and other vegetables

The following recipe isn’t authentic Fattoush. It isn’t even Fattoush according to the recipe I followed the first time I made it but it is very nice and it is a very good base for pushing the fattoush envelope (fattoushelope?) and exploring different combinations of breads and vegetables.

Per wikipedia, you’re supposed to use toasted pita bread in this recipe but I used olive oil flatbread (pizza bianca sans the bianca) the first time I made this recipe and that tasted dandy! I have also had it with toasted sourdough and ciabatta (toast then lightly spray with olive oil) and it’s been nice too. Verdict = whatever type of toasted bread floats your boat is fine the salad will still fattoushincate your tastebuds 😉

You’re also supposed to use lemon juice, but I have made version using white wine vinegar and verjus and both are nice. On balance I preferred the verjus as it gave a milder, softer flavour; but whatever floats your boat is fine.


  • 1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbs verjus (or 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar)
  • 1-2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1 olive oil flatbread still slightly warm
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • handful coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, diced

Put tomatoes in bowl, sprinkle with sumac and verjus. Season with salt and pepper and leave for 30 minutes. Don’t put them back in the fridge – tomatos taste best when served at room temperature so take any chance you have to get them to that level.

Add olive oil, cucumber and herbs to the tomato bowl and mix well.

Crumble the flatbread over the salad and mox well, serve. Et voila:

This salad is totally fattoushed

It works well as a light supper or lunch or a side salad with lamb steaks. When I don’t have coriander, I just add more parsley and mint. And I have also thrown chives in the mix too and they are nice.

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There are some things that should be staples in every pantry…or at least in every pantry of anyone who can eat them. Things like a jar of semi sun dried tomatos in oil, vegetable stock, couscous, chickpeas (in a tin for quick dishes), evoo in a bottle and a spray can, a jar of pitted black spanish olives, tins of sweet corn (the smaller ones are fine), marinated mushrooms in a jar, sunflower seeds, roasted capsicum strips, eggs, rice noodles, somen noodles, pasta, a tin or 2 of tuna, basil pesto, tinned tomatoes, pearl barley, plain and self raising flower, frozen edamame, butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, a jar of whole egg mayonnaise and cheese (tasty/colby and parmesan).

These ingredients plus some basic herb + spice staples keep forever (metaphorically speaking) and are also great starting ingredients for any number of dishes. You can add in additional things from what you have fresh in your house or that are in seasons. In the list above, you have most if not all the ingredients you need to make:

And much much more. So much much much more…

There are also little things you can do that will add a certain je ne sais quoi to several recipes.

For example – when you have used all your sun dried or semi sun dried tomatoes in oil, don’t throw out the jar with the oil in it. It’s infused with a beautiful rich tomatoeyness plus herbs. It is not overpowering and will add a bulk and a richness to things like:

  • vinagrettes for green or garden salads
  • tomato or meat pasta sauces
  • pearl barley salads
  • coating a chicken you are about to roast

And more.

Today I want you to think about coucous. Hopefully you like it or are prepared to try it.

Coucous is one of the easiest and quickest side dishes you can make: boil 1 cup of water in saucepan, add one cup couscous and 1 knob butter, take off heat, stir with fork, cover with lid and let sit for 5-8 minutes. If you are going to serve hot (i.e. with a casserole or tagine), put back on low heat and stir to warm through. Not rocket science, is it?

The recipe I am going to give you can be served warm as a main dish or a side dish and it also works cold as a salad (think picnics, large dinners where you have to bring a plate or left overs for lunch the next day).

It’s a filling but light salad that uses a couple of fresh ingredients either from your garden or your veggie crisper as well as some of the staples I have suggested are good to own.


  • 1 cup couscous
  • Knob butter (1 tsp)
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock (vegeta) in saucepan
  • Slurp of reserved oil from semi sundried tomatoes
  • handful of semi sundried tomatoes chopped finely
  • handful of black olives chopped finely
  • handful of marinated mushrooms
  • handful of of fresh grape/cherry tomatos halved or quartered
  • 1/2 lebanese cucumber, quartered and then chopped finely
  • handful of fresh chives (could also use fresh parsley or fresh oregano, whatever tickles your fancy)

Bring stock to boil, take off the heat and add couscous and knob of butter. Stir with fork and pop lid on pot. Leave off heat for 5 minutes.

Throw all ingredients in a bowl excepting the slurp of reserved oil. Take lid off couscous pan and stir grains with fork to fluff up couscous and ensure all liquid and butter absorbed.

Add couscous to bowl, pour over slurp of reserved oil and then lightly stir to combine. Et voila:

We live…underneath the cupboard, we dance underneath the cupboard

Works well on its own, for lunch the next day or as a side to a red wine lamb roast. Enjoy.

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