Tag Archives: healthy

Crunchy (not creamy) Coleslaw

Yesterday was 37°C. Summer is here!

I never thought I would find the smells of sunscreen and mosquito repellent so appealing. Caramelised onions on the barbecue and freshly picked basil and mint are more the kind of thing I was actively looking forward to.

Summer means lots of eating and cooking outside: barbecues and long cold drinks. We’ve been making loads of tomato salads and grilled eggplant. I’ve been adding finely sliced zucchini to green salads, and using the first of our homegrown herbs. Oh and I’ve newly discovered a love of mangoes, can’t get enough of them. After two winters in a row we’ve finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s hot and glorious.

So, rhapsody out of the way, this is just a simple recipe with my take on good old coleslaw. I like to have the vegetables shredded or chopped into large matchstick-sized pieces. The crunchy apple adds a great sweetness, while the sunflower seeds bring their usual toasty, nutty goodness. With the sharp dressing the result is a well-balanced, very crunchy salad that is easy to make in huge quantities for when you’re feeding a crowd.

To make

Half a red cabbage
2 carrots, peeled
2 crunchy apples
2 spring onions
¼ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons-ish red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon-ish olive oil
salt and pepper

Shred the cabbage finely with the grain, and then chop the long strands into around 4cm lengths. Chop the carrots and apples into matchstick-sized pieces. Clean the spring onions and remove the roots, then slice very finely at an angle.

Combine the cabbage, carrots, apples, spring onion and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

Mix up a dressing of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part olive oil (i.e. an opposite ratio to usual dressings) and add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. I give ‘ish’ measurements above because the amount of dressing you need will vary depending on how big your veg are etc. Add the dressing a little at a time until you get just the right balance of sweet vegetables and tangy dressing.

One great thing about this salad is that it can handle being dressed a while in advance, so it’s great for taking to parties.

NB: If you won’t be eating the coleslaw straight away squeeze a little lemon juice over the chopped apples before adding them to the other ingredients to prevent them from discolouring.

J

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baba ghannouj: roasted eggplant and sesame dip

Eggplant, aubergine, melanzane, squash … whatever you call it it’s delicious, and it is the central ingredient in my favourite dip in the world.

I’ve always loved Baba Ghannouj, enjoying it at Greek restaurants or bought from delicatessens at home in Adelaide. Then I learnt how to make it. The recipe proved to be incredibly simple and delicious … way too delicious. Now I always make at least a double quantity so that there is plenty to go around. Seriously, I have an addiction.

Anyway, this recipe is based on one from The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos. This was first published in Sydney in 1979.

Baba Ghannouj

1 medium-sized eggplant
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, very finely grated, chopped or crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
Olive oil, around 1 tablespoon

Grill the eggplant until very soft and blackened all over. Ideally this should be done over a charcoal fire, but those of you who don’t have a fire BBQ handy, or who live in a fire-ban zone, can cook the eggplant on a gas BBQ or in an oven. You’ll miss out on the smoky element, but you also won’t start a bushfire.

While the eggplant are still hot, peel away the skin and stem of the eggplant and discard them.

At this point you have a choice – chunky or smooth? Make your decision and process the flesh of the eggplant accordingly. I tend to go for a chunkier Baba, so I just give the flesh a good chop on a board and then throw it in the serving bowl.

Add the tahini, parsley and garlic. Mix well. Now you’re in a balancing game. Add olive oil, salt and lemon juice bit-by-bit until you get the perfect balance of flavours.

Serve with an extra sprinkle of parsley and a light slaking of olive oil. Make sure you pull your hands away from the bowl quickly as you’re serving this – hungry crowds are liable to take a finger off in their rush to get into the bowl.

Or you can just keep it all for yourself …

J