burnt toast

Tag: salad

Potato Salad

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I don’t know how you like your potato salads, but this is how we have ours. You should try it.

 

Potato Salad

Serves 4 as a side

 

1 kg waxy potatoes

salt

100ml hot vegetable stock

6 Tbsp mayonnaise

6 Tbsp sunflower oil

5 Tbsp white balsamic

1 ½ tsp vegetable stock powder

1 tsp curry powder

1tsp maple syrup, or failing that, raw sugar

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch chives, snipped

15 cornichons, finely sliced

parsley, to garnish (if you can be bothered)

I do this the lazy way because I can’t be bothered to peel hot potatoes or wait till they’re cool – so instead, I peel and slice them thinly before boiling them. So smart and efficient, I know. So once they’re all sliced, they go into a big pot with some water. Bring to the boil and add a bit of salt, about as much as you’d add to a pot of pasta – it’s got to taste salty. Let the potato slices boil until just soft – check every few minutes by nipping some off with a spoon and tasting it: firm but cooked is what we’re going for. When they’re ready  a few will have decided to break apart already, which is fine. Drain them and put them in a big bowl. Add the veggie stock and let it sit until cooled down a bit. Hot potatoes tend to be thirsty, so we want to minimise the possibility of them soaking up too much dressing. You can give it a stir here and there, but don’t go too crazy because otherwise you’ll end up with mash.

In the meantime, mix the mayo, oil, balsamic, stock powder, maple syrup, onion and chives in a separate bowl. Pour over the potatoes, add the cornichons and gently stir. The dressing will become quite liquid because of the residual heat of the potatoes, but do not fear! It will all thicken again once it’s reached room temperature. Cover it and transfer to the fridge for at least half an hour. Give it a quick taste – you might need to add some more salt – then throw some parsley on top and dig in.

The Lentil of Salad

the best lentil salad

Lentil salad, chicken. You heard me. Lentils. Hippie heaven on a plate. No, I am being serious. This is the stuff. Rip out that prejudice you have sticking up on the wall of your brain of how unenjoyable lentil salad is. Because baby, it isn’t.  I went to a whole lot of trouble to make it into something beautiful and delicious, just to put a smile on your face. I know, I’m such a good person.

I want you to know why I love this salad, and why you should to. First of all, there is no celery in it. Celery is such a spoilsport. Secondly, no raw vegetables. They make salads like this one taste more healthy than delicious. And I would choose tasty over healthy any day. The sesame oil, the feta and the fresh coriander leaves are what make this lovely rock in my opinion. And even though I’m not usually a big fan, a confettied scatter of the ever so popular beetroot makes this salad enter a dimension of its own. Funny, Australians are the largest consumers of beetroot. I never would have guessed. It’s not like we’re big on beet salad or anything. Health Conscious? God no. You know what it is? Burgers. Burgers with a slice of pickled beetroot. At least we get a point for aesthetics. So yes. Sweet, salty and sour deliciousness.

And while you’re at it, you should go buy this cookbook called The Modern Vegetarian: Food Adventures for the Contemporary Palate by Maria Elia. It’s the initial source of inspiration for this recipe. Also, this is a vegetarian cookbook where literally every single recipe makes you want to get cooking immediately. Get it.

The Best Lentil Salad

Serves 2 really hungry people, 3 medium hungry people or 4 as part of a meal. Your pick.

1 cup brown lentils

2 Tsp olive oil

2 carrots, finely diced

1 onion, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp sesame oil

3 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp vegetable stock powder

1 garlic clove, crushed

freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (4-5 beets) canned baby beetroot, finely diced

1 bunch coriander, finely chopped

100g Danish feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled

You may have your own way of cooking brown lentils, so do it your way if you want – this here is how I do it: Pour the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with about 5 cm of water. Let them sit for about half an hour until they have soaked up some of the water, then put over a low flame. You may have to top up with more water along the way, but see how it goes. Simmer lentils till soft but not squishy. We need them to hold their shape. Drain them and keep to one side.

Now while the lentils are cooking, add the chopped carrots, onion and olive oil to a frypan and cook, covered, until soft. Turn off the heat. Add the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, stock powder, garlic and pepper. I do this in the same pan to save on dirty dishes. Now add the lentils and give it a good stir. Cover, and let them absorb all those delicious flavours, for about 15 minutes. Once the salad has cooled down, you can add the beetroot, coriander and feta.

Yum.

Egging it on.

egg salad on toast

Now, living a life of a pseudo vegetarian can be… how shall I put it. A fucking nuisance? Not for me, no, no. I’m fine with being difficult. As in “Barbequed chicken? Where? Who? You! GIVE IT TO ME. I want some NOW.” The bit I feel most ashamed about is when I’m invited round for dinner and I have to check in with the cook beforehand, who’s lovingly prepared a 7 day roast for me, and tell him that I don’t really like “real” meat and that I’ll have sides, yes just sides, no don’t worry about me, I love peas. Meat is still very much a mood thing in the world of Watson. So when I’m alone, just me, myself and the kitchen, the menu will almost exclusively be rabbit food. Rabbits also have chocolate and crisps, they just don’t like to talk about it you know. Anyway. What I’m trying to get at is I do get protein cravings, as a normal human being should. And so I choose eggs. Fried, poached, but mainly scrambled, and ever since my last visit to Switzerland, in egg salad form.

The “incident” that got me hooked, was a small and rather insignificant one. But I have found that moments like these are ones that stay with you until you’re old and wrinkly, and those are the ones we like. And so I shall share it with you. Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, to refresh some memories out there, as small as it is, actually has its own airport. Belp airport. At the time of my visit, two of my closest friends were living Holland, so it was imperative that I go visit them – I had last seen them two years ago, on my last trip back home, and I will say this: two years is always too long. So back to Belp. My flight was at eleven o’clock, and I had arrived nice and early, as you would being Swiss, so I had plenty of time to kill. A book to read, a few mints to chew, but nothing to fill my empty tummy. I usually avoid buying food at airports, mainly because they are overpriced, but that day I felt like living dangerously. And besides, Swiss snacks are good. I opted for an egg salad roll at the kiosk, and once I had done paying I sat down at one of the silvery round tables and took a bite. It was perfect. So perfect. The crunchy crust of the fresh little bread roll, then its chewy interior, made complete with the creamy and slightly tangy, finely chopped egg salad. Pure quality.

I know I will never find anything that lives up to a memory like that, but I can still try, and tried I have. And I’m pretty happy with the result. I have a saying that if there’s anything I really like, I can eat it by the spoonful. This is another one of those recipes. Add or subtract toast, as you feel is necessary (unless you’re in Switzerland, then you must use bread. Any bread. You lucky bastard).

Egg Salad

Serves 2 relatively greedy people

6 eggs

1 Tbsp sour cream

2 Tbsp good-quality mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp seeded mustard

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 1/2 tsp vegetable stock powder

1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

lots of freshly ground black pepper

Fill up the kettle and let it boil. While it’s heating up, poke a little hole with a pin or a sharp pointy knife into the bottom of the eggs. This will ensure the air can escape when the egg cooks, preventing them from exploding. Place them in a small saucepan and cover with the just boiled water. Put on the heat and let them boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour off the water and cover with cold water. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel those babies.

In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Chop the eggs as finely as you can or can be bothered to, and add to the mixture. Adjust the seasoning if need be. Delish.

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