Tuesday, August 7, 2012
There was a knock at the door early yesterday morning. I was in the middle of getting dressed so took a little while to get to the front door, all the while hoping it wasn't one of those annoying door-to-door sales people that have a knack for ridiculous timing. I opened the door to see my friend Nat getting back into her car 'sorry can't stop, enjoy' she yelled (or something along those lines) as she took off on her way to school, I'm guessing. All I could do was yell thanks and wave frantically through the fly-screen. What a lovely way to start the day (and so much better than if it had been one of those pesky sales people!).
There on the doorstep she'd left a little bag of freshly picked vegetables from her mothers garden. It contained a bunch of deep red rhubarb that will most probably end up stewed with apples and eaten for breakfast, a few kumara (aka sweet potato), long red chillies, some beautiful baby beets and a bunch of flat leaf parsley. Yum.
I immediately knew I wanted to make some form of salad from all those hand-picked goodies, especially the flat leaf parsley which I love to eat just like a salad green. I tend to soak and cook my own chickpeas from dried, but on this occasion instead of finding a jar of chickpeas in the pantry, all that stared out at me was the jar. Tinned it would have to be.
Along with the chickpeas, I finely diced and roasted the kumara until golden and crispy around the edges, threw in a whole load of that parsley, a little crumbling of salty feta and drizzled the lot with a punchy spiced lemon dressing.
I couldn't leave today without mentioning the Olympics could I? I love, love, love them. The telly has never been on so much in this house and I'm super excited to see NZ doing as well as they are. I'll also be keeping my eye out to catch an old friend paddling in the C1 heats on Friday. Many moons ago when we were both teenagers we represented NZ at the Waka Ama/Outrigger world championships. We had always hoped that Waka Ama would become a recognised sport at the Olympics, but sadly it hasn't yet. Never mind, he's found a way around it by transferring over to K1 (in Beijing) and C1 this time round in London. I can't tell you how proud I am of him and wish him all the best.
What are your favourite events to watch? Me, I love the rowing, gymnastics, basketball, track + field and swimming.
roast kumara, chickpea and feta salad with spiced lemon dressing
I usually like to cook my own chickpeas from dried, but when I'm short on time or have forgotten to soak them overnight I turn to tinned chickpeas which I always have in the pantry. Just make sure you drain them well, rinse under cold running water and then drain again before using.
- 1 large kumara (sweet potato), diced into 1cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas/400g tin, drained and rinsed well
- 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
spiced lemon dressing
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 long Thai red chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
- juice of 1 large lemon (approx 1/2 cup juice)
- 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Place diced kumara (sweet potato) on a oven tray, drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning a few times during cooking until tender and golden. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
To make the spiced lemon dressing, lightly toast fennel and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle/coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Tip into a medium bowl, add black pepper, thyme, honey, chilli and lemon juice. Whisk to combine. Continue to whisk as you drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt.
To serve salad, combine roast kumara (sweet potato), chickpeas, parsley, red onion and feta in a large bowl. Drizzle over as much dressing as you like and serve. Store any leftover dressing in a screw-top jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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