What IS a Salad & Pakistani Cuisine

Another busy week over, the herb and spice cupboard got cleaned out on Saturday and it was rather embarrassing how many were out of date! My favourite herb and spice supplier Steenbergs, have just got a bulk order to replenish stocks, and add some interesting new products in preparation for a new mini adventure.

I also booked a cooking course, 4 hours with the Pukka Paki Sumayya Jamil, in November. Sumayya is a freelance writer, food blogger and expert in Pakistani cuisine and I am really looking forward to learning some new skills, especially around spice blending.

According to Wikipedia “a Salad is a popular, ready-to-eat dish made of heterogeneous ingredients, usually served chilled or at a moderate temperature. Many people use the word “salad” to describe light, savory leafy vegetable dishes, most often served with a sauce or dressing, but the category may additionally include dishes made of ingredients such as fruits, grains, meats, seafood and sweets. It is difficult to define what is meant by the term “salad”, as it encompasses a wide array of serving styles and options. Though many salads use raw ingredients, some use cooked ingredients; most salads use vegetables, though fruit salads also exist.”

Ok, so there we have it, heterogeneous, diverse would be a better word methinks!

I have a few cookery books, apart from ‘Carriers Kitchen Collection’, an encyclopaedia of recipes there are over 100 in my collection, and still growing. My recent theme has been Middle Eastern led, tasty delicious and healthy food that is packed with flavour,  inspirations include Yotam Ottolenghi, Bethany Kehdy and Maria Elia. The main event was going to be a Butternut Squash Stew, healthy, tasty and full of heat and I wanted a salad or two to be the side dishes so I turned to my favourite books for some ideas.

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This salad is a favourite of mine, the first time I tried it I was blown away by the flavours and textures. Apples, Celeriac, Coriander, Poppy Seeds, Pepper, Red Onions and Quinoa all combined in a sharp and sweet dressing.  If you google ‘tart apple and celeriac salad’, you will find the original recipe and details as published by The Guardian and devised by Yotam Ottolenghi. This time around, I changed my version slightly, using a mix of Red/White Quinoa & Bulgur Wheat, adding some sliced pepper, and replacing White Wine Vinegar with Sherry Vinegar, as I had run out!

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It’s really quick to put together, especially if you have a Mandolin but watch those fingers, I already have a number of flat edges to my fingers when not concentrating……. Why not have a go, you will be really pleased with the results.

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Looking to add a second salad I found an interesting recipe in Yotam’s book ‘Plenty’, created by his cooking partner Sami Tamimi. This cucumber salad is really simple but also packs some interesting flavours, I adjusted my version slightly and included some very fine ‘Chiffonade’ of Mint, and some roasted red peppers that I had in the cupboard. Rice Vinegar provided the acidic element of the dressing but you can use White Wine Vinegar, which is in the original recipe.

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I had some Green Beans, so chopped up and handful, blanched them for about 7 minutes and they also went in to add some different texture to the final Salad.

With the side dishes in the fridge, all that needs to be done is to cook the Butternut Squash Stew and serve.

Until next time,……. L8ers

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