Post Christmas Winter Salads

Beetroot & Orange Salad

Today is 6th January; the Feast of the Epiphany; The 12th Day of Christmas and, co-incidentally, my sister’s birthday. (Happy Birthday Maura).

In other countries this is a day of gift giving and of celebration.  If you still feel like celebrating then today is the day to bake yourself an Epiphany Cake.

However, in Britain this is the day that, traditionally, the decorations come down:  The house looks bare, everyone is back at work or school, the weather is grey and damp and January starts to weigh heavily on your shoulders.

And January isn’t the only thing that starts to weigh heavily!  The seasons excesses have taken their toll and I, for one, will be glad to forgo rich food and an excess of alcohol for a while.  But I don’t want to give up on flavour.  And I do want something to spice up my life, something to add zest and colour and joy to otherwise drab days.  That’s where winter salads come into their own.

Now, I am not talking about soulless diet food; a lettuce leaf and a stick of celery, I am talking about proper, tasty food that is also light on your stomach.  Food that is kind to all your senses.

Luckily for me my husband bought me a copy of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi for Christmas.  Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian but this particular book is an out and out celebration of vegeatables.  He takes simple, familiar vegetables and adds the magic of spices and maybe a chilli or two and before you know it you are eating something truly wonderful and guilt free.

I have made two of the recipes for the blog (so far) and I can really recommend them both.  The Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad is spicy and sweet and satisfying whilst the Beetroot and Orange Salad is zingy and sweet and sharp and really brings your taste buds to life.

The Beetroot and Orange Salad is suitable for vegans and the Carrot salad could be if you left off the youghurt dressing.  I would eat them, just as they are for lunch but you could always throw in some seeds and/or nuts to add a little protein.

For a main meal they make a great accompaniment to whatever you like to eat – bean burgers, vegetable fritters, fish or chicken.

Wrap up warm this winter and feed your body and your with some tasty and lovingly prepared winter salads.  You really won’t regret it.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

 

Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad

This simple recipe takes the humble carrot and turns it into something significantly less humble.  It’s as if the carrot has had counselling and found itself a huge dose of self-esteem and no-one is EVER going to put carrot in the corner!

Ok, I may have indulged in a little hyperbole there but this really is a wonderful salad.

Please don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, most of them are spices and you probably have them in your cupboard already.  If you don’t it is worth buying them because they are staples that crop up time and time again in tasty recipes and they really help to lift even the most mundane meals.  Try cinnamon in your porridge, or ginger in a smoothy.  Cumin and Coriander go well in savoury pancakes or winter stews.  If you keep your spices in sealed containers in a cool, dark place they will last for ages so it is worth the (modest) investment.

Preserved lemon is a little more unusual but you could always make your own!  Recipe here.

The otriginal recipe is from Plenty by Ottolenghi.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1kg Carrots

80ml Olive Oil

1 Onion

1 tsp Caster Sugar

3 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

2 Green Chillies (finely chopped)

1 Spring Onion

1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Sweet Paprika

1 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp chopped Preserved Lemon

40g Chopped Fresh Coriander

120ml Greek Yoghurt

Salt

Method

Peel and slice the carrots.  I cut them lengthways but you could cut them into cylinders or semi-circles depending on the size of the carrots.

Put the carrots in a saucepan and just cover with water, add salt and bring to the boil.  Simmer for around 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how you cut them) until just tender but with some crunch left in them.  Drain in a colander and set aside to dry out.

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions over a medium heat until soft and slightly brown.  Add the cooked carrots to the onions with the rest of the ingredients except the yoghurt and fresh coriander.  Stir well, season with salt and remove from the heat.  Leave to cool.

Before serving stir in most of the coriander, serve with a dollop of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of the reserved fresh coriander