Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eat 'em while they're hot

I'd chosen to use the rest of my flaky pastry by throwing together a mince and vegetable pie, thus using up not only the pastry, but also some leftover beef stock, tomato puree and egg wash.

The question was, what veges to have with it? I felt like something a bit different, so I turned to a recipe I remembered seeing in the salad chapter. I hadn't perused this chapter much since the cold weather set in, but there was one recipe that makes use of ingredients available at this time of year: winter salad (p180).

Winter salad is a mixture of cooked broccoli and cauliflower florets, with chopped celery and mandarin segments tossed through a french dressing. I had some celery that needed using, and with broccoli at 99 cents a head at Raeward, it seemed like the ideal time to be making a winter salad.

I dropped by Raeward on my way home from work, picking up the broccoli, half a cauliflower and a couple of mandarins. On arriving home, I cut my brassicas up into florets, and got them cooking while I sorted out the pie.

Once the cooked cauli and broccoli were chilling in the fridge, I turned to the other ingredients. I peeled and segmented the mandarins, then chopped the celery. It was past its best, so I chopped it into quite small chunks, hoping to make the celery a less noticeable component  of the salad.

These ingredients were added to the cooled cauli and broccoli, and tossed through with a french dressing. I confess that I used a bought salad dressing, since I couldn't be bothered making my own. It's possible that the homemade vinaigrette might have worked better, but on the whole, I usually prefer a bought, low-fat dressing.

I suppose you could call this recipe a success; it didn't taste bad, really. It's just that, realistically, all you're eating is cold cooked veges in a salad dressing. You don't get many salads in winter: this is mostly because the usual salad ingredients are out of season, and therefore either expensive or unavailable. But you could also say that salad in winter is just not appropriate to the weather.

If a plate of cold veges in the middle of winter sounds appealing to you, by all means have a go at this salad. Like I said: it's not a bad salad - I'd probably quite happily eat it in warmer weather - but as an accompaniment to a slice of pie in the middle of winter, I'd much rather have my veges hot.

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