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 green beans
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
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.”