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.