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Summer salads

Secretly, this is a post about what we ate on Christmas Day. However, I’ve been lazying around down at the beach (and just being lazy in general) and so I am a little behind on my posts and Christmas Day now seems so 2009. Therefore, I have simply entitled this post: Summer salads. Salads to enjoy on any Summer’s day. Not just Christmas Day. (Though you might notice some Christmas themes happening…)

GT Garden Salad

Christmas time is family time, and our family is no different. Dad and I usually make the salads together. We tend to shout a lot when cooking together in a confined space, but that’s ok. Everyone else knows not to come too close until a disaster strikes and they are needed to ‘mop up the spills’.

Dad and I are pedants and we think that all Christmas Day salads should be green and red themed. Behold, above and below…

First up, I made a garden salad from the December ’09 Gourmet Traveller. I made it with snow peas instead of sugar snap peas. Yep, even pedants sometimes dare to make such substitutes. I also omitted the ‘organic nasturtium and viola blossoms’ because, well, I just didn’t come across any that week.

Hall-of-Fame Potato Salad

I adore potato salad. And, it is so simple to make. For some reason it is always better the day after it is made. This is my version:

Potato Salad:
Approx. 2kg desiree or other waxy potatoes. Smaller is better.
Capers of any sort, I like quite a few.
Spanish onion, chopped very finely
Any appropriate herbs, such as flat leaf parsley, chopped
Aioli (see below) (substitute mayonnaise and garlic if you don’t want to make your own, though it’s really easy)

  • Wash potatoes if need be. Do not peel, but boil until tender (approximately 20 minutes depending on size of potato).
  • Drain potatoes. Cut up into edible sizes if they are medium or large. Leave whole if they are small. Leave to cool.
  • Mix with all other ingredients to taste. Chill in the fridge until serving. So easy!

Aioli:
3 egg yolks
sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
About 300mL not-too-strong oil (most people mix half olive and half vegetable oil. Never make this one with a peppery olive oil – it will be unpalatable!)
5 garlic cloves, roasted in foil in the oven for about 15 mins
Smoked paprika (optional)

  • Use a food processor. This makes this VERY easy.
  • Add eggs, lemon juice and salt and wizz for a few seconds.
  • Turn processor on and add the oil. Drizzle VERY slowly to begin. You can speed up as the emulsion begins to form.
  • Add roasted garlic cloves and pepper. Add more salt and lemon juice if necessary.
  • I’m going through a little craze of adding smoked paprika to pretty much everything. It works with this too, so add some if you like…

Dad's 'Christmas Salad'

Dad has made this salad for the last few years and it’s become his Christmas specialty. I’m not sure where it came from. It involves: red cabbage; cooked beetroot; radishes;  roquette; pomegranate seeds; and, maple syrup. I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific. We might have to get Dad to do a guest post!

Mum's Watermelon Salad

Mum made this one. It came from George Biron at Sunnybrae, though I think his version includes jamon slices and is served on a platter. This one in the picture involves: watermelon; garlic greens; lemon juice; white wine vinegar and olive oil. The watermelon-garlic combination sounds unusual, but I think it is a winner.

THE pudding in all its pudding shaped glory

And, the finale: MY pudding. On Christmas Day, I steamed them for about two and a half hours – which was pretty much exactly the amount of time it took us to eat lunch. I think they looked pretty good – I was very pleased that they didn’t stick to the pudding basin.

We poured some brandy over them and lit them on fire (which is, of course, the most fun part of the whole process).

They crumbled a little when cut, but that’s ok.

Christmas dessert: Pudding, berries, brandy butter and Malteser semifreddo (thanks cousin Ed)

Prognosis: This pudding was good, but I like my grandma’s Christmas Pudding recipe better. This one is just too rich for me after an enormous meal. I also think the suet messes with my semi-veg digestion system. (Though that could also have been the copious amounts of food consumed on that and in the preceeding days. Festive season is challenging, at times.)

Also, I preferred my cousin Ed’s malteser semifreddo. It was delish!

Stay tuned in December 2010 for when I revert to making my grandma’s recipe. She has ‘officially’ handed over the pudding-making reigns to me – yesterday she gave me her kenwood mixer. Em – I now have a rival for your beloved kitchenaid!

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3 Responses to “Summer salads”

  1. luke says:

    “Yep, even pedants sometimes dare to make such substitutes.” – ha ha ha !!! Keep breakin all the rules… Love it Sas x

  2. Annabelle says:

    Hey Sas,
    Just came across the watermelon salad!! Mum always makes this one when people come round and its so yummy, especially on hot summer nights. When people come over they always think it sounds a little strange but once they’ve tried some there is no going back!!
    Annabelle
    xx
    P.S You blog is now my home page:)

  3. Saskia says:

    Thanks Annabelle! It does sound unusual, doesn’t it? I also saw a recipe somewhere for a watermelon curry with cumin seeds.

    Thanks for making us your home page – we’ll be sure to keep up the interesting posts for you! Sas x

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