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.

Cobb Salad with Garlic Mayo

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I’ve been enamoured with the idea of breakfast salads recently and have been enjoying this Cobb Salad virtually every day. I eat it around 11-12 noon and it keeps me going till dinner, and I find it saves a lot of time only having to eat 2 meals per day. The dressing is made with homemade mayo and is so silky and luscious, it is the star of the show. It is a great salad to take on picnics because it doesn’t get soggy. Just pack the dressing separately and add prior to serving.

This salad can be a time-consuming to make all the components from scratch, but is quicker to prepare if you have cooked chicken, bacon and hard-boiled eggs on hand. I like to bake a big batch of chicken marylands and freeze some to use later.

Cobb Salad

Dressing:

  • ⅔ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic (roasted or pressure-cooked)
  • ⅛ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Salad:

  • 1 medium cos lettuce
  • 1 large handful of rocket
  • Any other herbs you like, such as basil, coriander, watercress
  • Celery, finely diced, 1 stick (optional)
  • Cooked meat (skin-on) from 2 chicken marylands, diced (approx 3 cups)
  • 6 rashers of bacon
  • White wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 avocado, deseeded and sliced
  • 3-4 hardboiled eggs, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Black pepper, salt

Method

  1. Cook the bacon till crispy. I love using the oven as you don’t need to supervise it very much and when cooked in the frypan it tends to curl up. When bacon is cool, cut into small pieces. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the dressing ingredients. Set aside. (I use cooked or roasted garlic as it is less harsh than raw garlic. A quick way is to trim the top off a full unpeeled head of garlic and cook in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes.)
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  4. Tear the lettuce and greens into bite sized pieces and place into salad bowl. Add chicken (and celery if using) and combine.
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  6. Arrange the sliced avocado on top; sprinkle on a little white wine vinegar or lemon juice to prevent browning. Next, add the eggs and bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Just before serving, drizzle the dressing generously over the salad and add the chives.

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