Do you remember the time as a kid when the most exciting part of your day was if your mum or dad allowed you to place a pillow on your chair and sit on it at the dinner table, instantly making you heaps taller (and unconquerable)? How special were simple days like that? Earlier today, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to type on my laptop at our dinner table. Because I am the shortest person I know, I hunched my shoulders in an attempt to elevate my elbows. Then I had a thought. I turned around and looked at my couch overflowing with cushions that get forgotten in the corners and picked the flattest one. I placed it on the seat of my chair, sat on it and grinned. My heart lifted as I recalled the sheer joy of this exact same exercise when I was a child and I felt that lost feeling in my chest, in my cheeks. A smile – because I did something that amused and excited me (not because I saw something ridiculous online). And it made my day.I realised I had slowed down enough to find joy in the mundane. And let me tell you this. I haven’t felt that in a long time. Something so banal and trivial. So I decided to share it here. With you. A little snippet from my everyday that had nothing to do with the usual blog jargon I subject you to (sorry!). I am probably going to sit on a cushion while I work in the coming weeks until I am sick of it.
Now let’s talk about the real reason you are here. The salad! After years of hoarding cookbooks, I have at long last begun to use them the way they were intended to. By cooking from them. And today’s offering is an adaptation of a salad from Venus Wholefoods from The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook. I have had a hankering for one of their salads after seeing lush pictures on Instagram. I love books that share real working recipes from restaurants and cafes that one can potentially re-create at home. Because I neither fall in the trendy young hip people category nor suave swish time-on-our-hands older people category, eating out (especially after traveling an hour in each direction from the suburbs to the city) is truly a luxury. Oh there are so many eateries I would like to frequent and so many dishes I would like to try. But for now while my offsprings are still little and have a bedtime curfew, I shall suffice in sitting on my cushioned chair and sampling something delicious from a cookbook I bought of the cafe I can’t visit.
The salad is robustly based on oven roasted broccoli. Roasted, barbecued or charred broccoli is a completely different beast of the plant kingdom and if you haven’t tried it, you absolutely must. I am a staunch champion of using the whole broccoli – florets, stem and leaves if attached. In fact, the stem is the best part and I have a complete recipe dedicated just to the stem in my cookbook. But back to the Venus Wholefoods Broccoli and Coconut salad, the original recipe was to serve four. I set out to make a salad for two by altering the quantities and using ingredients I had on hand. The dressing was the sunny crown jewel of this texture heavy salad. It was delicious and mouthy after I made a few variations to it. I always tone down turmeric when a recipe calls for an insane amount of this miracle spice. Having grown up with turmeric in my diet morning noon and night, I am very attuned to its flavour. Just the right amount delivers the perfect heat while an over zealous use of turmeric can result in a bitter after taste which ruins the dish.
The salad is voluminous and filling, tangy and tasty. I love the fact that it has detoxing and healing properties. It looks bodacious and I can see it being added to my weekly lunch every now and then. If you cook from the blog, don’t forget to share it with me on Instagram using #cookrepublic. If you enjoy what you make, I would love for you to comment and rate the recipe so others can discover and enjoy them too. Thanks! x
BROWSE – CABBAGE RECIPES
BROWSE – TURMERIC RECIPES
THREE YEARS AGO – LUNCHBOX COLOUR SALAD
FOUR YEARS AGO – BASIC PIZZA DOUGH
SIX YEARS AGO – 2 MINUTE NUTELLA MUG CAKE
- 350g broccoli florets and thickly sliced stem
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt flakes, a large pinch
- fresh ground black pepper, a light sprinkle
- 150g shredded red cabbage
- 80g shredded coconut
- 60g baby spinach leaves
- 30g alfalfa sprouts
- 4 medjool dates
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons wholegrain or dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- Pre-heat oven to 200C (convection)/180C (fan-forced). Place broccoli, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Using your hands, toss gently to coat evenly. Spread broccoli on a baking tray and roast in the oven for approximately 15-17 minutes until starting to char but still crunchy.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by soaking the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain. Place dates, water, garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt, honey and turmeric in the bowl of a small food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a little glass jar.
- Place broccoli, cabbage, coconut, spinach and alfalfa in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss gently to mix. Serve in two salad plates with some of the remaining dressing drizzled on top.
- Place cooled broccoli in a large bowl