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What do you think of when you hear "Summer”? Sun. Sand. Surf. Singlets. This for me is summer, but I also think SALADS! Summer is a time of lightness and vitality, freshness and simplicity, cleansing and detoxifying foods. It makes sense to me to eat an abundance of the seasonal goodness the earth provides at this time of year, to fuel our body and feed our soul: crunchy leaves, rich tomatoes, cooling cucumbers, sweet fruits and berries, all juicy, refreshing and delicious! When creating summer (or any) salads, there are just a few elements to think about, keeping within the principles of seasonal, fresh and as local as possible. Think:
Now is also the best time of year to get a veggie garden going, even if you can only afford the space of a few pots. Plant abundant leaves (a few different kinds of lettuces, spinaches, chards, kales), herbs, tomatoes (the baby or tiny varieties are wonderful for children), climbing beans, even cucumbers and watermelons if you have the space (only about 1m)! This is a great way to get kids involved in the growing, nurturing, preparation and cooking of foods and often leads to them trying new salad and vegetables that they would not ordinarily eat! They will become attached to “their” plants and get excited to se the first tomatoes budding then reddening, the heads of leaves thriving and the crunch of the first bean picked off vines that are taller than dad! It really is an incredibly satisfying feeling to pick your food that you have grown, just before eating it.
Rebekah Raymond and the Everyday Cashmere Team
Any combination of vegetables works wonderfully with quinoa. Cook up a large batch of a wholegrain - or a blend of grains - a couple of times a week and keep in the fridge in a lidded container as a quick, healthy, wholefood go-to: use with eggs for breakfast, with salad and protein for lunch or instead of starchy sides for dinner. Quinoa is a grain full of magnesium, the great calmer. It is also one of the only plant sources that is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids and is also full of wholegrain, complex carbohydrates – bring on lean muscles that are fuelled with the right carbs.
Original recipe by Rebekah Raymond at Wholefood Muse
(Facebook @ Wholefood Muse, Instagram @ wholefoodmuse)
1 cup quinoa
1/2 head broccoli
1 handful green beans
1 bulb fennel, cut into 1.5cm wedges
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1/2 bunch fresh dill
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 lemon, zest and juice (I use the larger curly zester for salads)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tspn sea salt, cracked black pepper to serve
All of the steps below can be happening simultaneously. Place the quinoa on to cook, get the water boiling for the vegetables, start the fennel cooking then pick the herbs all at the same time!
1. Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve well until water runs clear and no more soapy-like bubbles form on top of grains. Place grain in small saucepan with 1 1/4 cups water on high heat, no lid, bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, place lid on saucepan and cook for 12-14 minutes until quinoa is cooked but still firm and germ ("tail") of grain has popped out. Fluff with a fork then turn out into large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
2. Bring water to boil in a large saucepan on stovetop. Wheh boiling, place broccoli and beans in the water for 2 minutes. Drain vegetable, rinse under cold water to stop cooking process, set aside.
3. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan until hot, add fennel wedges and lemon halves and fry each side for a few minutes until browning - both the fennel and lemon will begin to caramelise in their own natural sugars. This step can also be done on a bbq, just toss the fennel with melted coconut (or olive) oil first.
4. To the quinoa add the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well to combine. Add the baby spinach leaves, broccoli, beans, fennel, half the herbs and fold through. Serve with the rest of the herbs piled on top and the fried lemon halves.
5. Serve as a side with meat or with crumbled goats cheese, nuts and/or seeds on top for a delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner.
Great at this time of the year with so many Christmas parties! A cooling, refreshing, detoxifying, energy-boosting smoothie – great for any time of the day. Place the following into a high speed blender and blend until smooth (makes 2 smoothies):
1 lime, peeled
½ bunch mint leaves
1 cup baby spinach or kale leaves
2cm knob ginger, peeled
½ - 1 small Lebanese cucumber
1 small green apple, cored
1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup coconut water
This salad tastes as good as it looks and is always a crowd pleaser! Adhering to one of the first rules of a healthy diet, to "eat a rainbow", this salad is full of colourful, anti-oxidant and phytonutrient-rich salad vegetables. Anti-ageing phytonutrients, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, alkalising buckwheat, not to mention all those anti-inflammatory healthy omega fats from the fish. Make up a large batch of the Asian dressing and keep in a glass jar in the fridge to create a stunning Asian flavoured salad anytime, in no time. An impressive lunch for guests or a great alternative to a traditional family pasta meal.
Original recipe by Rebekah Raymond at Wholefood Muse (FB @ Wholefood Muse, IG @ wholefoodmuse)
1/2 packet Soba noodles
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Black sesame seeds
2-3 Tbsp Coconut oil
4 Salmon fillets, skin on or off (or poached/ grilled chicken or bbq medium-rare
1/2 Red capsicum
1 Lebanese cucumber
1/8 Small red cabbage
1/2 bunch Fresh mint leaves
1/2 bunch Fresh coriander leaves
1-2 Fresh long red chillies, finely sliced (optional)
1/2 cup Peanut or grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 Tbsp Fish sauce
1 Tbsp Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch Sea salt, white pepper
1 Tbsp Dried chilli flakes (optional)
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Place dry soba noodles into boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, until al dente. Drain in colander and run under cold water to stop cooking process (and avoid soft, soggy noodles). Place cooled noodles in large mixing bowl, drizzle with sesame and olive oils, sprinkle over black sesame seeds and toss to combine.
2. Heat coconut oil in large frying pan over high heat and cook salmon fillets (skin-side down first if skin on) for 2 minutes each side, or until salmon cooked to liking (my preference is still pink on the inside and not completely cooked through). Set aside to cool.
3. Finely slice the red capsicum, cucumber, carrot and red cabbage – the fastest and easiest way to do this is with a mandolin, or very sharp knife. Pick herb leaves leaving them whole. Place vegetables and herbs in mixing bowl with noodles.
4. To make the dressing place all ingredients except chilli flakes in a food processor and whizz for 10 seconds, or whisk together in mixing bowl until emulsified (creamy appearance, has “come together” and you can no longer see oil separated from other ingredients). Add chilli flakes and mix, if using.
5. Drizzle dressing over noodles and salad in mixing bowl, add extra black sesame seeds and toss gently to combine.
6. To serve place on serving platter, gently place salmon fillets (or chicken or beef) on top of noodle salad, sprinkle with a few extra black sesame seeds and reserved coriander and mint leaves. The fish or meat can alternatively be broken up and tossed throughout noodles with salad.