Tag Archives: herbs

Recipe: Arden Forest Salad

For too long has my Complete Works of Shakespeare languished, lonely and unloved, waiting in vain for our next reading to occur!  I do love our Shakespeare feasts, but they are quite fiendishly difficult to organise – as soon as I think I have a full cast, someone gets sick, or remembers a prior commitment, or moves overseas or interstate, and then everything has to be rearranged.

And then, of course, there is the cooking.  For reasons that even I do not entirely understand, I feel compelled not merely to drastically overcater, but to do so in a way that fits the theme or story of the play.  Which means sitting down with book in one hand and notepad in the other writing things like ‘fool.  Passionfruit?  Lots of hearts.  Venison!  Disguise. Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes’, and then trying to come up with a collection of recipes that both cover the most important keywords while actually producing a fairly balanced meal that covers this week’s collection of dietary restrictions…

This sounds like a big complaint, which it really isn’t – but it serves to explain why I have to be feeling pretty bold to plan one of these feasts, and why by the end of them, I feel both great satisfaction and as though I’ve been hit by a train.

Anyway.  Today’s play was As You Like It, which is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, clearly written at a point in his life when he had a lot of good musicians in his Company, because everyone sings, all the time.  He hasn’t quite written a musical, but you can see that he was seriously considering it.  As You Like It is notable for pretty much the entire cast running off to live, like Robin Hood, in the greenwood.  Half the characters start off in exile in the wood, more characters join them there as the play progresses, and at the very end, when everyone is set to return from exile, the villain of the piece puts himself into self-imposed exile – you guessed it, in the woods.

Clearly, the woods needed to be represented here, so I decided to create a salad forest, suitable for exile with random singing.  This is my excuse for making it quite so mildly psychedelic – I imagine most forests are not amply endowed with magenta rocks, but mine is.  This is, of course, a composed salad, and your dressing is essentially the layer that everything is standing on, so when serving, make sure you get a good scoop of the yoghurt layer and the nutty gravel to go with your vegetables.  It really is astonishingly delicious.

4 forest

 

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300 g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini (unhulled is nice!)
100 g pistachios
100 g  slivered almonds
125 roasted chickpeas (sometimes called chick-nuts)65 g dried cranberries
6 small oranges (blood oranges or even mandarins would work – that’s about the size you are after.)
12 stems of broccolini
8 little bocconcini (ovalini are good)
4-6 spears of sage flowers or rosemary in bloom
8 small radishes in mixed colours
5 sprigs of thyme
a handful of dill
3-5 sprigs of mint
80 g fresh blueberries Continue reading

Recipe: Green ‘couscous’

Oops, bit of a hiatus there, wasn’t there?  I really owe this blog another travel post, but basically, I got distracted by politics, and then I got angry about politics and then a woman in my suburb was beaten up on a train for wearing Hijab and I got absolutely furious about politics, joined Women in Solidarity with Hijabis, and put on a headscarf for a week.  Which I then felt compelled to blog about.  And it turns out that when you are writing political blogs nearly every day – and also fighting with scarves and pins every morning, though I seem to have finally mastered the art of getting my scarf to stay on – there isn’t much time left for food blogging.  Sorry.  I have a feeling that between the Islamophobia and the coming State Election, I’m going to be living on Cate Speaks rather a lot for the next little while.

Anyway, the recipe that follows is inspired by a recipe for cauliflower couscous in the Green Kitchen App, which I exhort you all to buy, because it’s awesome.  Also, it has this ribboned asparagus salad recipe with blueberries that I’ve made about four times in the last fortnight.  But, while I wanted to try the cauliflower couscous, my cauliflower was looking rather sad, and my broccoli cheerfully green. Then, couscous is supposed (in my book) to have fruit in it, and here I was with a bag of freeze-dried pomegranates.  Also, I didn’t have pumpkin seeds, but I did have a bag of mixed pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.  And so forth.

Also, my quantities are different.

What this is is a lovely, fresh-tasting recipe that can be made quite fast, and makes a lovely accompaniment to anything rich or protein-ish you were having for dinner.  And one can never have too many recipes like that, in my book.

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1 head of broccoli
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds
1/3 cup freeze-dried pomegranate seeds (or, of course, you could use the seeds from 1 actual pomegranate)
half a bunch of basil
a small bunch of parsley
80 g goats feta cheese
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup pumpkin seed oil

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Planting time!

I’m running very late with my gardening this year.  I pretty much let it lie fallow from mid-summer, because cycling was taking up all the energy I normally use for gardening, and Andrew is not confident about identifying weeds versus vegetable (let loose on a garden bed and told ‘this needs clearing,’ however, he works wonders).

So today – my first free day in about the last two months that wasn’t raining – was clearly the day to get started on it.  Fortunately, Andrew has made a start on all three garden beds recently, getting most of the weeds out of them and making the whole thing look less scary.  So this afternoon, it was off to Poyntons for us, to search for interesting seeds and a few seedlings too.

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