Salad Daze at Balmoral Beach

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We had just laid out our picnic spread and I overheard a passerby comment on how good our salad looked, which made me pleased as punch because it was a posh suburb and they obviously have high standards there.

Sometimes cookbook authors say, “Now don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you …”. Well I usually am deterred by long lists of ingredients but this salad is not so bad as I keep the majority of these ingredients on hand, with rosemary and parsley foraged from the garden (which is a treat because they happen to be the only two edible things out there, aside from aloe but I’ve yet to make anything tasty out of that).

Kale and Roasted Butternut Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut

  • Butternut squash, peeled and cut into pieces, 400g
  • salt
  • olive oil, light

Rosemary Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Zest and juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 25g (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • roasted garlic, 3 cloves, mashed (or 1 small clove of raw garlic, minced)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp honey (optional)

Salad ingredients

  • Kale, baby or adult, 60g
  • Rocket, 30g
  • Baby spinach, 25g
  • Red cabbage, finely shredded, 1 cup
  • flat leaf parsley, 1 small handful, leaves picked
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Goat cheese (chevre), 60g
  • pumpkin seeds, 3 Tbsp
  • sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp
  1. Roast butternut squash in preheated 175 deg oven on a baking tray with a little salt and oil until soft. Don’t let it get too mushy. I prefer using butternut over other pumpkins as it tends to hold its shape better when cooked. Allow to cool.
  2. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar (except for the honey) and shake. Taste; if too tart, add the honey. If not tart enough, add a little apple cider vinegar.
  3. Place the salad leaves in a bowl together with the butternut and dressing and toss. (Don’t add all of the dressing at once, as you may not need it all and soggy salad is to be abhorred.) Top with the parsley, pecans, goat cheese, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

This salad goes well with roast chicken. If you are taking it on a picnic, bring the dressing separately in a jar, and also bring the seeds separately and add those just before serving.

Kale is the new black

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I have a confession to make. Only months ago, I was militantly anti-kale. It was too fashionable, too ubiquitous, too hipster-doofus, and too expensive. Heck, $5 a bunch was crazy, what am I – made of money?? But even I could not escape the curly tendrils of this dark green vegetation. First it made its way into my smoothies, then into breakfast stir-fries, and tonight kale pushed its way into my heart (or at least into my Top 10 favourite green leafy vegies). It did help that I scored a bunch for $2 at my local asian grocer. I hate to say it, but kale won.

Kale chips are so delicious, they should be forbidden on the Whole-30.

I followed the tips from Nom Nom Paleo. To begin, wash the kale. Nomnom Paleo said to dry it in a salad spinner but I don’t have one so I just wrapped the kale in a tea towel and shook it. The aim is to remove as much water as possible. Then I blotted them with kitchen paper. Cut off the stems and save them for stir frying. (It is ok to have a little stem in the kale chips but they are a bit tougher and definitely if you have company, the polite thing to do would be to only have leaf in your chips.) Cut the leaves into large pieces.

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Meanwhile preheat the oven to 175°C. Place the kale into a big bowl and add a drizzle (around 1 Tbsp) of macadamia oil (Nomnom used avocado oil). Melted butter or ghee would work well too. You don’t need to measure the oil, just drizzle a bit in. The aim is to have a very light coating of oil on the leaves. Use your hands to toss the kale and distribute the oil. Don’t salt them until after baking. Lay the kale in a single layer on a baking sheet (line the baking sheet with parchment if you wish; it is not essential as the kale chips won’t stick, but it will make cleanup easier).

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Bake for 12 minutes or until crisp. Don’t let them burn otherwise they will be bitter. They reminded me of Thins potato crisps, only better and totally utterly guilt-free.