burnt toast

Tag: onion

Salad

IMG_7667.jpg

Let’s talk about salad. Nah just kidding, let’s talk about salad dressing. I do love me a good salad here and there, with crumbled bits of toasted stuff and juicy bursts of caramelised and vine-ripened vegetable shards literally jumping onto the fork with vitamin-spurred enthusiasm. Those salads are fantastic. But really, a salad is nothing without it’s dressing.  Sometimes, when I’m less in the mood for a frilly salad, I’ll go for something  simpler, dressed in a creamy outfit, something that’ll accompany my meal of carb on carb and turn it into something that resembles a balanced food pyramid if you squint. For once no chia seed and watermelon oil dressing kittens, but a dressing your grandma would make if she were Swiss, lived on top of a mountain and yodelled her chickens awake in the wee hours of the morning. It’s a dressing that would make most picky grandchildren lick their plates clean.

IMG_7662.jpg

Oma’s Salad Dressing

4 Tbsp mayonnaise (all my Australian friends – the good stuff ok? None of that sweet gunk)

4 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp white balsamic (replace with white wine vinegar, but add a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavours)

3 Tbsp milk

1 shallot, finely chopped

  • ½ tsp vegetable stock powder

½ tsp mild curry powder (more would make it too exotic for Oma, and we can’t have that)

a few grinds of black pepper

Whisk the ingredients together, adding the liquids slowly to the mayo so it becomes smooth. Done!

This will keep in the fridge for three or so days, but depending on the amount of salad you’re making, you might need all of it.

 

If you want a few ideas of how to use it, here are two:

One of the most frequently eaten salads here in Switzerland would be the “Nüsslersalat”, or lambs lettuce. It has a delicate, tear-shaped leaf and is known for its nutty flavour. If you can’t find it, replace with anything else that’s green that you’re in the mood for. All we do is finely dice a few hard-boiled eggs and toss them with the lettuce and the dressing. Serve immediately, because the greens don’t like to stand around for too long.

If you’re wanting to jazz up your carrot salad, thinly slice a head of fennel with half a kilo of carrots, throw some of the springy green fronds in, a few chopped parsley leaves if you have some, and mix with the dressing.

IMG_7677.jpg

Advertisements

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

zucchini and onion fritters

Yay it’s fritter time! One of my very favourite form of food is finger food. It’s so easy and casual while still being completely alluring – a little nibble here, a crumb there, maybe even with a drizzle of this, or a scoop of that. There are few things more satisfying than sharing a few plates of delightful nibblies with your favourite humans, I think we can agree on that.

This is such an easy little number to whip up. If you have onions, zucchini and chickpea flour, you’re most of the way there. The rest is just improvisation and decoration.

Serve them with both a sweet chutney and a tangy yoghurt sauce for a bit of fun and contrast.

While you’re at it, you might as well make some samosas to accompany them, or maybe even some herby spinach and cheese triangles.

 

Zucchini and Onion Fritters

Inspired by The Tiffin Box

 

2 large firm zucchini (700g)

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 large red onion, quartered, then finely sliced

½ bunch coriander, leaves picked and reserved for the yoghurt, stems finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric

freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups chickpea flour

½ cup water

oil for deep/shallow frying

 

Coriander Yoghurt

250ml plain Greek yoghurt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp water

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

the leftover leaves from the coriander from above, finely chopped

1/3 tsp salt

 

Date chutney, to serve

 

Grate the zucchini on the big holes of a grater. Transfer to a colander, and sprinkle over the salt. Give everything a good squish, then let it sit for 15 minutes or so. You can either wait longer or not at all – the point is, we want to get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. Get back to your colander and smoosh the zucchini around, trying to squeeze all that liquid out. When you find there is simply no more liquid left, and you have zucchini shreds of about half the volume you did before, dump them into a large bowl. Add the onion, coriander stems, spices, baking powder, chickpea flour and water, and give it a good stir. Give it a little taste, because it might need more seasoning. If so, add extra salt. The mixture shouldn’t be too wet – it should just hold together nicely.

Preheat your oven to 150°C. While you’re frying your fritters, you can keep the already fried ones warm in the oven, so when you serve them, they’ll all be the same temperature.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and drop in little spoonfuls of mixture. Once they’re golden on one side, flip them over and finish the other side. Let the cooked fritters rest on a bed of kitchen paper while you continue with the rest of the mixture.

For the yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with the fritters and the date chutney.

Date Chutney

date chutneyMy last memory of making this chutney was from about 5 years ago, before I decided to pack my bags to whiz around half the globe to go live with wallabies and have tea parties with huntsman spiders. Back then, amidst the alps and the rivers of chocolate, when I was slowly but steadily cooking myself into a frenzy and coming to the realisation that hobbies really couldn’t get much better than this. One of my favourite places to eat, and I know I’m not alone, is a delightful vegetarian restaurant called Tibits, in the heart of Bern, situated enticingly in front of the train station. Possibly to target starved vegetarians on their way to work, on their way back from work, or everyone else who likes delicious food. The food is presented buffet-style (drool), ranging from curries and stir-frys to salads and delicious crusty bread rolls, and a tiny section of chutneys and condiments. I hold my head high without shame when I say that at least 1/5th of my plate would be dedicated to that date chutney they had there. Date chutney rocks. And so naturally I had to have the recipe.

Have you ever heard of Hiltl? It holds a record for being the oldest continuously open veggie restaurant in the world. Where will you find it? In Zürich. It is the mother of Tibits as well as of a few wonderful cookbooks, in which you will find said chutney. If you find yourself in Switzerland at the moment, do yourself a favour and go have some food at one of their establishments. If not, then all I can do is offer you my version of their recipe, which really, is still a pretty good deal.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for using this chutney, let me help. Number one, serve it with zucchini and onion fritters and some coriander yoghurt. That recipe will follow shortly, promise. It’s delicious with pretty much every other Indian dish, especially with dhal and poppadoms, or spread into a toastie with some melty cheese. Get the idea? good.

 

Date Chutney

Adapted from one of the Hiltl cookbooks

Makes about 1 ½ cups

 

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 cm fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp ground cumin

big pinch chili flakes

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tsp tamarind puree (if you only have concentrate, start with ¼ tsp and adjust to taste)

100g dates, finely chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste

½ tsp salt

200ml water

 

Fry the onion in the oil until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the ginger, cumin and chili flakes, and stir for about one minute. Add the sugar, tamarind puree, dates, tomato paste and salt, and top up with the water. Give everything a good stir and let it bubble away for about 5 minutes, or until the dates have broken down and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit, before transferring to a jar.

Will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

 

%d bloggers like this: