Tag Archives: Spinach

The Winter Salad – nutritious, comforting, delicious

The prospect of a salad for dinner is not always an exciting one in the middle of winter when you’re craving comfort food. But although salads are more a staple of the summer table, I don’t think they need disappear from the table during winter.

The trick, I’ve found, to enjoying salads in the colder months is to ensure there is at least one, perhaps two, hot elements. There is something about applying heat to a dish that instantly elevates it and gives it that comfort factor.

Last year I posted a recipe for homemade pesto. What I neglected to mention at the time was that it freezes well, to be used when fresh basil is not at its best. One of my favourite ways to use pesto is in a salad that is often on the menu in my house. I actually mentioned it in my post last year but didn’t give the recipe.

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Spicy Lamb and Butternut Salad

When I was a child salads were a simple affair. That’s not to say they weren’t delicious. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, a boiled egg, some nice cold cuts. But we are blessed in New Zealand with excellent produce and when everything is fresh and packed with flavour there is nothing wrong with simplicity.

Sometimes my mother would serve a deconstructed salad. Other times she would make a layered salad. But both were elevated by her excellent homemade dressing. Fast forward to today and my mother’s layered salad with homemade dressing is a recurring request at nearly every family gathering.

Being an adventurous cook I like to push the envelope a bit more when it comes to salads. Especially during the cooler months. Although we’ve now ticked over to September and spring is around the corner summer food feels far away. I’m still looking for comfort. And so I think a salad at this time of the year needs a warm or hot element to provide that comfort.

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Basil Pesto – and the “king of herbs”

I don’t know how I’d cook without herbs. Whether they are being used as a star ingredient, a last minute scattering for freshness or simply as a garnish, these colourful and fragrant wonders of the culinary world have the ability to bring food to life.

If asked which was my favourite herb I’d be pushed to choose one above all others. But at the top of my list are: basil, Italian parsley, thyme, rosemary, mint, tarragon.

I’ll leave it there otherwise I’ll add every herb to the list.

Basil is at the top of the list simply because for me it conjures memories of food I’ve eaten in Italy – scattered over tomatoes, tossed through hot pasta, stirred through a rich meat ragù or simply garnishing a crisp bruschetta.

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Tomato and vegetable curry with spiced pilaf

Last week I talked about spices and how they can transform your food. The collection of spices I keep in my pantry is like a security blanket – I know that a delicious meal is never far away. Following on from that I’d like to share some recipes that make great use of these invaluable spices.

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Cruising the Greek Islands Part 2 – A day in Rhodes Town (and a recipe for delicious Spanakopita)

After departing Mykonos we cruised overnight to the island of Rhodes. This island holds fond memories. In fact the first holiday abroad I had with my husband many years ago was to Lindos, a town on the eastern side of Rhodes Island. It’s just under 50 miles from Rhodes Town, which is where our ship docked early morning.

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The spectacular Marlborough region of New Zealand – and a fabulous recipe for Peperonata Couscous!

When my husband and I moved to New Zealand from the UK we looked forward to the time when family and friends would head Down Under to visit. It took some years before my husband’s sister and brother-in-law were able to come out. That made it all the more exciting – and challenging for us! We thought long and hard about where we would take them and which parts of the country they would most enjoy.

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