28 December 2012

A Couple of Salads

Christmas has come & gone once again & now we can look forward to a New Year.  I still seem to find it hard to believe we are heading in to 2013.  It seems only a moment ago I was on only my second or third visit to New Zealand & we were heading to Raglan to bring in the new millennium.  Back then it was Y2K that was going to bring everything to a stand still, or some sort of apocalyptic ending to life as we know it, rather than the end of a 1000s of year old Mayan calendar.  Yet we are all still here & about to enter another year. So I wish you & yours a happy, healthy, prosperous, fun & laughter filled 2013.

Alongside the festive feasts we had a couple of salads. Vibrant colours will entice you in to some healthier fare over the holiday season. Both of these serve a crowd as part of a feast & provide a little bright & light relief not to mention a fair chunk of your 5 plus a day.

First up a platter of greens; broccolini, green beans, asparagus, mange tout & peas tossed with a honey soy & chilli dressing.  Broccolini is a friend of salty so the soy makes the perfect companion.  Chilli adds a little heat & the sesame seeds & oil a toasty nuttiness.

Sesame Soy Greens


Bunch broccolini
Bunch green beans
Bunch Asparagus
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Sesame oil to drizzle

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of chilli, a little less of a little more depending on your preference on heat.
2-3 tbsp cider vinegar, again add to taste.  I prefer tarter so tend a little heavier with the vinegar.


Place all the greens in a large saucepan of salted water & bring the boil.  Cook for just a few moments until just cooked & still a little el dente.  While the are cooking prepare an ice bath.  (I.e. throw some ice cubes in a large bowl or basin) Remove from the heat & place in the ice bath to stop them cooking & to keep there vibrant green colour.

For the dressing whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, adjusting to suit your own taste.

Remove the greens from their icy bath & place in a large bowl.  Pour over the dressing & toss gently together.  Drizzle with a little sesame oil & sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds.

Alongside the greens a beetroot, walnut & goat’s cheese salad salad. The sweet earthy beetroot the perfect foil for the salty goat’s cheese.  The toasted walnuts add a welcome earthy crunch, also perfect with the goat’s cheese.  For a little freshness it all sits atop a bed of peppery watercress.

Beetroot walnut & Feta


500g baby beets
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup walnuts, toasted
250g goat’s cheese
1 bunch watercress


Pre heat oven to 190C /375F

Peel the beets (or cheat & use a can!), halve them & place them in a roasting tin.  Sprinkle over the thyme leaves.  Whisk together the balsamic vinegar & olive oil and drizzle it over the beets.  Season with salt & pepper & place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes if using fresh beets or 15 t0 20 minutes if using canned.

Remove from the oven & allow to cool to room temperature.  To assemble the salad scatter the watercress on a platter & top with the beets, goat’s cheese & walnuts.

If you like this you might like this Fresh Beets with Coriander Seeds
One year ago Salmon Rillettes
Two years ago Crostini Misto

“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” 
Brad Paisley

And if I am not back here before 2013 have a Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. I'm a big fan of salads with beetroot, feta and walnuts - yum! Happy 2013 to you - I like the quote.

    1. You too Lesley! Here's to a fun & food filled 2013!

  2. Happy New Years Mairi! I have a feeling we were both in Raglan welcoming in the new millennium all those years ago ;-) All the best for 2013 xx

    1. Thanks Emma, you have a wonderful 2013 too! xx

  3. I love the look of these salads, Mairi! Wishing you a delicious 2013!

    1. Thanks Hannah :) You really can't beat a little Ottolenghi to liven up a salad!

  4. Your website is very nice and interesting

  5. Wow! They look so yummy. Will gonna try making it at home. rot iron fence Boston


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