Winter salad of charred chicory with Wensleydale, hazelnuts, clementine, dandelion and fennel

Winter salads are pretty kickass

Winter salads are pretty kickass

Well it’s been ages since I’ve had time to post anything, I’ve been off gallivanting down in the South West rather a lot and dashing about working on lots of little projects. Christmas was a time of hedonistic indulgence, I’m still in Christmas mode to be honest, my tree is still up which means by Festive Rules it’s still fine to just eat cheese for breakfast.

I’m always finding chicory in the Reduced Section at the shops, people seem to be a bit nervous about using this bitter leaf, this works in my favour as it means they are always in cheap supply.

I like to use a crumbly cheese, creamy with a bit of tang, a good Wensleydale works really well, don’t go for the cheap stuff though as they have very little flavour. Feta works well as does a fresh ewe’s curd.

Ingredients:

  • leaves from half head of chicory, separated.
  • 1 tsp butter
  • juice from 1 clementine plus zest
  • handful hazelnuts
  • crumbled Wenseydale cheese (feta is also lovely)
  • few young dandelion and rocket leaves
  • fennel fronds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tiny sprinkle of smoked salt

Method:

  1. Preheat a non stick frying pan over a high heat, place individual chicory leaves over bottom of pan making sure they don’t overlap. Char then turn over and cook the other side.
  2. Add the butter and orange juice and swirl pan to coat, it will go sticky very quickly. Put leaves on a plate then add the hazelnuts to the hot pan and cook whilst swirling the pan so they heat and release flavours but don’t catch as they will taste bitter.
  3. Remove from heat, crumble cheese over leaves, add toasted hazelnuts, young leaves and finely grated clementine zest then season.

Winter Veg and Seed Salad

 

Brighten up your Winter

Brighten up your Winter

Winter and salads shouldn’t be such ace buddies but they get along like a warm cosy house on fire. The fresh winter veg is crisp and refreshing with a nice winter earthiness that is kicked up a notch with bright citrus flavours from jewel-like ruby pomegranate seeds and a squeeze of clementine.

Yesterday morning was spent at a very cold and wet Melton Mowbray cattle market with the very lovely Rupal Rajani from BBC Radio Leicester. Rupal is vegetarian so was obviously delighted (not delighted one little bit – sorry Rupal) when I took her around the game auction. As we walked into the Fur & Feather shed we spotted a man with a huge fluffy grey rabbit sat on a bag of feed. The rabbit was beyond adorable, we both fell in love with it. Just as Rupal was getting her phone out to take a quick pic the man grabbed it, flipped it upside down by the neck, stuffed it in his coat and disappeared out into the rain. As we moved further into the shed people were busy stuffing shot birds from the game auction into carrier bags and holdalls, yeah this wasn’t the nicest place for a vegetarian (again…sorry Rupal).

I’m hoping I made up for all of this by making her a lovely winter salad, just to show that I can cook without the addition of dead animals really.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 red cabbage, shredded (I use a speed peeler for this)
  • 1/2 red onion, very finely sliced
  • 1 large jerusalem artichoke, pared into wafer thin strips using a speed peeler or box grater if you don’t have one.
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 clementine
  • 1 apple finely sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 pear finely sliced into matchsticks
  • handful pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon blue poppy seeds
  • chopped fresh parsley ( or mint/coriander/fennel fronds)
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • drizzle of raspberry vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Just combine everything in a big bowl and leave for a minimum of 30 minutes (I leave mine overnight).