Sort of Waldorf Salad

Sort of Waldorf SaladNeither of us really fancied dinner this evening; both having eaten out for lunch at work – but we always need lunch! So I knocked this up for tomorrow’s lunch.

A traditional waldorf has apples, celery and walnuts dressed in mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce.

This recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More swaps walnuts for hazelnuts and there is the addition of red cabbage, red onion and sour cherries (I used barberries which are pretty similar).

This is pretty easy – and pretty quick – I think it took a little more than 30 minutes – but only because you have to toast the hazelnuts gently for around that long alone.

Mind you while they are toasting you can easily do the rest.

Finely slice red cabbage, red onion, apples (granny smiths), celery and toss together with some dill and sour cream.

Then make some mayonnaise. I did mine in my new Nutribullet blender (this little beast will blitz anything to a perfect puree). The mayonnaise is made with a shallot, dijon mustard, cider vinegar and a mix of sunflower and rapeseed oil. And it was amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever buy mayonnaise again.

Mix the mayonnaise with the salad, scatter with your roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts and you’re done.

I think this salad is amazing and might be nice with something on the side – or even in a wrap with some Halloumi. I do love my salads though and I could eat tonnes of it on its own.

Brussel’s Sprout Risotto

Brussels Sprout Risotto

I’ve made this twice now. And I know I will just keep making it. It’s quick, easy, tasty and I always have the ingredients to hand. On top of that it makes lots so there are always leftovers for work the next day!

Tell someone you are making Brussels Sprout Risotto and they are sure to turn their nose up at you. Freya’s brother did. I could see his mind whirring at how he needed an excuse to leave so he could pop into McDonalds and get some real food! But trust me this is worth it.

The Brussels that Ottolenghi has in the pictures in Plenty More look stunning. Straight off the stalks with lots of purples and dark green colours running through them. I had to settle for the boring light green pretrimmed variety from the supermarket. I’ll try and hunt down the colourful ones nearer Christmas; I think the dish will look super special with more vibrant colours.

You make the risotto by frying some onions in butter and oil and then adding lemon, garlic and thyme. While that is caramelising, shred your Brussel Sprouts.

I must admit I made it wrong this time. You’re supposed to shred about half the sprouts and quarter the other half but I wasn’t paying too much attention and added all the sprouts and the rice to the onions at this stage.

The idea is you pan fry the quartered Brussel Sprouts in hot oil until they are golden and crispy and add them as a topping at the end. I’ll try and remember this for next time!

You now make the risotto as you would any other risotto; add wine and let it absorb and then gradually add stock while stirring often. When the stock is all used up the rice should be cooked but still have some bite.

Right at the end add Parmesan, Dolcelatte, tarragon and some grated lemon zest. if you followed the recipe properly, add the pan fried Brussels on top and serve.

It’s just as good with all the Brussels incorporated it just doesn’t look as striking – and it removed a crunchy texture that could have made the dish even more special.

This risotto is so creamy and is really tasty – especially with the additional lemon zest that I added.

There was so much of this left over that we had it for lunch the next day. I don’t think we were especially popular in the office later that day. Two Brussel’s Sprout meals in a row!

Beetroot, Avocado and Pea Salad

Beetroot, Pea and Avocado Salad

One of the big problems of winter and living on the boat is taking nice pictures of the food you make. Now that the clocks have changed it will always be dark by dinner time and we only light the kitchen and lounge with LED reading lamps so most of the pictures look dark and shadowy. Also, I’ve stopped using my iPhone and have switched to Android and I really don’t like the camera, so now  I’ve switched to my Lumix. More effort but hopefully more worthwhile.

This one didn’t come out particularly well but I can assure you the salad itself was amazing. It’s another sub 30 minute salad proving you do things in the right order and don’t stand around waiting between stages.

This dish like everything this week is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. I’ve only looked at the first 100 pages and I’ve already selected 12 things I want to make. I could be on this book for quite some time!

This is another incredibly easy salad to make. It is a little messy; peeling beetroots always is – but they are a lot better than the peeled, precooked and prepackaged ones you get in a supermarket.

Once you’ve peeled your beetroots, slice them thinly (about 2mm) and blanch them until they are cooked but still have lots of bite. I did mine for about 3 mins as I love raw beetroot anyway. The thinner you slice the beetroot, the easier it is to eat raw (or less cooked)!

Once blanched and drained, mix with some sliced red onion, sherry vinegar, olive oil, caster sugar, seasoning and chilli paste and leave for around 15 minutes to infuse the flavours.

While you’re waiting blanch some peas and refresh them in cold water. Slice a couple of avocado’s too while you’re at it.

When you are ready to eat, grab a big serving dish, and toss pea shoots (or lambs lettuce like I did), the peas, the beetroot and the avocado together. Tear in some mint and coriander and dress with some more olive oil and you’re done.

This is very fresh and very tasty. Proper beetroots can’t be beaten – never buy the packet ones!

I resisted the temptation to use one of my crazy chilli pastes and just went for something mild. I don’t think Freya would have appreciated it and I imagine an overpowering of chilli would have totally spoiled the dish – so go easy on the chilli!

Globe Artichoke and Mozzarella with Candied Lemon

Globe Artichoke and Mozzarella with Candied Lemon

 

The UK weather has been so mild of late that is seems almost normal to put together a cold salad for dinner on 27th October 2014!  I was expecting to come home to a cold damp boat every evening and be heating the boat to keep warm but it just hasn’t been necessary.

After spending an eternity in the IKEA returns department and then another eternity spending the store credit we got home quite late and were both feeling pretty hungry. Fortunately this dish can easily be put together in less than 30 minutes.

After bashing together an immediate snack of toasted pumpkin seeds with tamari, I set to work making this awesome salad.

The salad is courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It does require really fresh ingredients though or it will just disappoint you.

Last week we bought some Dill and Mint from our local Morrisons and it was tasteless, chewy and limp and really let down all the dishes I made. Contrast to yesterday when I asked for mint from our local greengrocer and he went out the back and got me the freshest, most aromatic mint I’ve had for ages. It really is worth shopping around for your herbs!

Anyway – there are two ways of making this dish; the hard way or the easy way. The hard way relies on you being the master of artichoke preparation and having lots of time on your hands. The easy way uses them from a jar or frozen. We don’t have a freezer on the boat so I plumped for jars.

The only cooking involved here is candying some lemons. I really recommend you do this rather than copping out and just adding lemon rind, as the sauce and the sweetness from the lemons really sets this salad apart from the rest.

To candy lemons, remove the rind, cut into 1mm batons and cook down in lemon juice and caster sugar until the liquid reduces to about a third. Remove the lemon batons and allow to cool down. Keep the sauce for the dressing of the salad.

All that’s left is to cut some little gem lettuces, tear in some mint, parsley and basil and top with your quartered artichokes and torn mozzarella.

To serve, dress with some olive oil, your candied lemon and lemon syrup and some black pepper.

This salad is so fresh and tangy. The lemon hit might seem too much to start with but I found it really lifted the salad. The mozzarella, artichokes and lemon went really well together and it really was a meal in itself. Albeit a late one!

Fortunately for us we had loads left over so we have a very nice lunch to look forward to today!

Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour Cherries

Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour Cherries

Wow I haven’t updated this blog for months. Shame on me! But I have been busy honest!

Freya and I got married, and joined a Gym, and started a film club, and basically upped our social life by a factor of a billion.

I just haven’t been cooking properly – at all. Until today!

I resolved on Sunday that we can’t keep eating out, and just eating halloumi wraps every time we come home from the Gym and trawled through my new favourite book – Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

I shortlisted 12 dishes, ordered all the ingredients from Ocado and threw this together in about 40 minutes.

It’s pretty straightforward, cook some rice, then drain it and let it cool down. While it’s cooling, cooks some pine nuts and almonds in a little oil until they start to brown and let those cool down. Also cook some quinoa and let that cool down. While that’s cooling, fry some onions until they are part crisp and part soft.

Once your onions are done, toss all the above in a big bowl (very big bowl – this made loads) add the onions, sour cherries, rocket, parsley, basil and tarragon, garlic and lemon juice and toss the lot together with some added lemon zest and olive oil.

As you can tell this is a cold-ish salad. It’s best to leave this for a while as you want the lemon juice, garlic and the herbs to work their magic and for the flavours to penetrate into the rice.

I absolutely loved this. It’s the first proper meal I’ve made for a month I think! And there’s loads left for lunch tomorrow!