It's become a hashtag: #WhatWouldKarinaSay. You might wonder what on earth this means, but to put some meaning into this little idiom, Karina is our exceptional but strict German Personal Trainer. She has a fearsome pause, usually prior to praise but it leaves you hanging for a second or two as your stomach drops. Then whoop you're up again as she gives approval. It's my quotidian dose of being back at school.
So along this theme of keeping fit and trying to stay healthy (and the emphasis, now that I have a girl, is NOT on shape but rather on strength: read about that here), I wanted to curate 10 of my favourite ways to but some shine on the salad. It's just that day in day out of green leaves makes me bored. And as we grow our own (despite frequent attacks by Mickey the Mousebird - Peter Rabbit is nowhere to be seen), I don't really feel like I have an excuse not to delve into the fresh, organic, slightly nibbled at lettuce, rocket and spinach.
So here goes, this is what makes me love it:
1) Oat Croutons (inspired by Donna Hay)
90g rolled oats + 2 tblsp sunflower seeds + 2 tblsp flaked almonds + 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic + 1 tblsp honey + 60ml olive or canola oil + sea salt & pepper.
Preheat oven to 180. Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Spread the mixture out on a large lightly greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until delightfully golden. You may need to give it a stir from time to time. Set aside to cool before scattering over your salad.
2) Coconut, Lime & Ginger Dressing (inspired by Donna Hay)
250ml coconut milk + 2 tblsp lime juice + 15g brown sugar + 2cm piece freshly grated ginger + 1.5 tblsp fish sauce.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over salad, noodles, steamed chicken or fish… try and resist mopping it up with a chunk of bread!!
3) Wasabi Dressing
150g home made mayonnaise + 1 tblsp wasabi paste + 1 tblsp lime juice.
Mix to combine. Enjoy with freshly steamed new potatoes, on rye bread with a topping of crunchy cucumber, or on the side.
4) Coriander Pesto
1 bunch coriander, de-stalked, leaves only + 40g blanched almonds + 1 clove garlic, crushed + 25g finely grated parmigiano + 2 tblsp white wine vinegar + 125ml olive or canola oil + sea salt & black pepper.
Toast the almonds. Crush the garlic. Place everything into your Magimix and blend to combine. Alternatively, use a hand blender. If you don't have either of those you clearly don't have kids yet, so put some elbow grease into it and use a pestle & mortar.
5) Tarragon dressing
1 bunch tarragon + 1 clove garlic + 1 tblsp capers + 60ml white wine vinegar + 60ml olive oil + 1 tsp caster sugar + sea salt & cracked black pepper + 100g mayonnaise
Place everything except the mayonnaise into your Magimix (see note above if you don't have one), and blitz to combine. Place in a large bowl and fold in the mayonnaise until thoroughly friendly. Serve with a potato salad, atop a mountain of tomatoes or with some delicious cold chicken.
6) Salsa Verde
Fresh herbs (basil, mint, tarragon) + 1 garlic clove + 2 cornichons (gherkins) + 2 anchovies + 1 tsp dijon mustard + juice of one lemon + olive oil.
Blitz together the herbs, garlic, capers, cornichons and anchovies. Add in the mustard, lemon juice and enough olive oil to make the right consistency. Goes very well with fish.
110g hazelnuts + 80g sesame seeds + 2 tblsp coriander seeds + 2 tblsp cumin seeds + 1 teaspoon sea salt + freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 180. Lay your hazelnuts over a tray and toast for 3 - 4 minutes. Allow to cool whilst you toast your sesame seeds (dry frying pan is the best method, and watch them like a hawk). Blitz the hazelnuts to a rough consistency (not complete breadcrumbs). Add the sesame seeds to the hazelnuts. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds. Once toasted and aromatic, pound to dust in your pestle and mortar. Add to the nuts / seeds, add the salt & pepper and voila. Best enjoyed using bread and olive oil as your vehicles.
8) Green Goddess Dressing - from Food 52
Equal quantities of basil, dill, mint & parsley + 1 mini cucumber + 3 spring onions + couple of lugs of olive oil + 2 tblsp natural yoghurt + 2 tblsp red wine vinegar + salt & pepper.
Blitz & serve.
9) Hummus - from Ottolenghi
1 tin of chickpeas + 2 tblsp tahini + juice of one lemon + 4 cloves of crushed garlic + olive oil + salt and pepper
Drain the chickpeas, blitz in your processor and then add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and enough olive oil to reach your desired consistency.
10) Chilli dressing
3 fresh red chillies + 10 tblsp olive oil + 3.5 tblsp lemon juice + 1 small bunch fresh mint + 2 tblsp minced lemongrass + small bunch coriander + 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger + 1 tsp sugar.
Blitz and serve!