persimmon, fennel + rocket salad recipe

persimmon, fennel + rocket salad

So, the book is done. 

After many months of cooking all day and editing/writing until the wee hours, I can finally say it's all done. It's funny, before I started I was under no illusion as to how much work it would involve, for most cookbooks there is a whole team of people pulling it together, the author, the photographer, the stylist etc, but with mine I was all three (I vividly remember reading Aran's words when she had finished her manuscript and her saying how there were times when she had been so stressed and busy she could barely breath). But I would never have known how full on it would be, mentally. Writing a blog post is easy, I just write. If people like it- they do, if they don't- it doesn't bother me, after all I'm not forcing anyone to read and people can always just move on if they don't like what I do, no biggy. But with a physical book, it's different or as Heidi so perfectly described "It's just an entirely different world of expectations, with all hopes tied into a single grand gesture". Naturally I wanted everything to be perfect, I am a Virgo after all. Not only do I want people to love my recipes as much as I do, but I also want them to work and my photos to shine, enticing people to want to cook. Heck, I spent so many nights stressing out about the photos, knowing exactly how I wanted them to look but just not quite knowing how to achieve it, ya know? (I had never edited photos pre-book deal, so it's been a steep learning curve let me tell you!). But now that it's all done I can say I've done the best that I can do, yes there will always be things that I will look back on and think I could have done better, but overall I'm super proud of what I have achieved and I just hope you all love it as much as I do. 
As my mind played tricks on me telling me what I was doing was not good enough it was the words of Heidi and these honest words from Tara that kept me sain, reminding me that all us creatives go through it, that horrible waste-of-time, good-for-nothing self-doubt.

Just know, I spend a certain amount of time talking myself out of the trees~ Heidi Swanson

In the first few weeks of working on this book I was in such a state that I swear every time I tried to think about where to begin I had a near panic attack, it was my friend Grace who snapped me out of it after I told her about that little negative gremlin who liked to sit on my left shoulder and shout abuse at me throughout the day. "Give him the middle finger", she said. So I did, well as best as I could. Sadly I don't think we can ever get rid of those gremlins completely, but we can sure do our best to muffle their voices eh?

salad greens
persimmon, fennel + rocket salad

Anyhow, enough of that talk. What I really wanted to say is that I'm back. It may take me a few weeks to get my brain back into gear after so many months of intense cooking/writing/creating, but I have to say it feels nice knowing this will be my only food focus for the next little while...

I'd been hoping I'd have some time to highlight persimmons before their brief season came to an end. See, we adore persimmons in this house and planting a couple of trees will be one of the first priorities when we eventually move back to NZ and get our little piece of land happening. We usually just eat them straight-up, peeled and eaten like an apple or sliced and savoured bite by bite, however I thought their mellow flavour and gentle sweetness would also work wonders in a lovely fresh salad. So I experimented.

Our garden has been so neglected over the last 6 or so months, but much to my surprise there's still a little bit out there to pick, totally by fluke it would seem. Our courgette (zucchini) and eggplant (aubergine) which pretty much died in Perth's intense summer heat, have somehow hung on just long enough to make it to the cooler months and are now flourishing, pumping out slender courgettes and deep purple eggplants every few days, even now that we are heading into the winter months. Little frilly green lettuce and rocket (arugula) are growing up everywhere from seeds that dropped after the last season and it was these that inspired today's salad. This is the kind of salad that is a great place to start and seriously feel free to take it whichever way you please. I'm thinking a little finely shaved Parmesan or pecorino would work amazingly if you tolerate either of these. I used almonds for a little crunch, but had I been really thinking I would have used the lightly toasted hazelnuts I had sitting on the bench from another recipe I've been testing (duh!). I've also listed a couple of ideas to try below, if you can't get your hands on fennel bulbs too. xx

persimmon, fennel + rocket salad
persimmon, fennel + rocket salad

persimmon, fennel + rocket (arugula) salad
Feel free to take this idea and run with it, if you tolerate cheese I'm thinking a little shaved parmesan or peccorino would work wonders in this salad. Like a little garlic in your dressing? By all means add in a touch of finely crushed garlic to the dressing. Don't have access to fennel bulbs? Finely sliced celery will give a similar texture or swap in some thinly sliced pear. Also lightly roasted hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans could easily step in for the almonds. This amount of dressing is likely to make way more than you will need, however I don't ever make dressing in teeny amounts as it's always handy to have some in the fridge for the next time you make salad.
Serves 2 or more as a side
1 ripe (fuyu) persimmon 
1/2 large fennel bulb, frilly tops reserved
a good handful rocket leaves, washed and spun dry
a good handful of lettuce leaves (whatever kind you like), washed and spun dry
2 tablespoons lightly toasted sliced almonds*
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon runny honey

1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the persimmon and finely slice into rounds using a mandolin, alternatively use a very sharp knife to slice into segments. Shave the fennel using a mandolin or sharp knife, reserving some of the frilly tops and roughly chop these to add to the salad too. 
Whisk cider vinegar, mustard and honey together in a small bowl, while still whisking drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To serve, place alternating layers of salad greens, shaved fennel and persimmon into two bowls, scatter with toasted almonds and drizzle over just enough salad dressing to coat the leaves. Serve immediately. Store any leftover dressing in a screw-top glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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  • Blue Apocalypse
    June 5, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Congrats on finishing your cookbook! Looking forward to seeing it πŸ™‚


    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

      Thanks so much Ai-Ling xx

  • Jacquie
    June 5, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Yeah,yeah,yeah!I do think a break is in order my dear.Congratulations you are an author.Cool:)

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Thanks Jacquie, lotsa love xx

  • ami@naivecookcooks
    June 5, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Glad that you are done with your book! Salad looks so lovely, dear!

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 3:13 am

      Thanks Ami, it sure feels good to be done. xx

  • Nicola Galloway
    June 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Well done Emma, I know it is a huge relief to get to the end and just know you have done the best you can – and it will be awesome.
    Yum, this salad looks delicious. I am loving the persimmon season, they are so sweet and crunchy! I haven't added them to salad yet – just dipped in handmade dark chocolate :}

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Nicola, dipped in handmade chocolate sounds yum! xx

  • london bakes
    June 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Congratulations on finishing the book! I can't wait to see it – I know it's going to be utterly and totally wonderful. This salad seems like a fine way to celebrate.

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Thanks so much Kathryn. I hope everything's going well with your big move! xx

  • JJ - 84thand3rd
    June 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Congratulations, what a massive accomplishment! I can't wait to see the book, no doubt it will be stunning πŸ™‚

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Thanks JJ. I hope so! xx

  • The InTolerant Chef β„’
    June 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

    How exciting, now just take time to breathe….. πŸ™‚ Lovely salad, and great way to show case persimmons- yummo!

    • emma
      June 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Yes, breathing has mostly returned to normal πŸ™‚ xx

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    June 5, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I really like persimmons and these look so pretty in that salad.

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:46 am

      I love the star shape that shows when they are sliced into rounds, so pretty eh πŸ™‚

  • thelittleloaf
    June 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Congratulations! I imagine the whole process is similar to having a baby…except with a baby you can't really do anything about how it turns out so I guess this was actually more stressful! I can't wait to see the book – every recipe of yours is so beautiful.

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:42 am

      Yes it's very much like having a baby (although from personal experience writing a book is no where near as physically painful as giving birth! Haha)xx

    June 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Congrats! I am sure the result is awesome, I canΒ΄t wait to see it:) I can only imagine the amount of work behind a book like that! The recipe looks lovely:)

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:43 am

      Thanks love xx

    June 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    this is such exciting news, i'm so glad for you!

    it's been a very long time since i've had persimmons, i can't make up my mind if i like it or not. but i do enjoy fruit in salads and right now strawberries are in season.

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:48 am

      Thank you! I never used to be a huge fan of fruit in savoury salads, although I find myself adding them in more and more nowadays.

  • Alissa Hankin
    June 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Persimmon (or Sharon Fruit as we call it in the UK) is so yummy in a salad!

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:43 am

      I've never hear that one before!? Sharon fruit! Wonder what the reasoning behind that name is…

  • Hannah Cordes
    June 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Congratulations, Emma! I can't wait to see your lovely book. I already know I'll love it! πŸ™‚

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:48 am

      Thanks Hannah xx

  • Christie @ Fig and Cherry
    June 7, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Well done mama! Can't wait to see your book πŸ™‚

    I always get persimmons with good intentions to use them crisp and then forget and end up having to make really ripe ones into crumble or compote. Next time I'm trying this!

    • emma
      June 7, 2013 at 3:44 am

      Thanks love, yes I do that with certain fruits (and vegetables) too. Like cauliflower and beetroot :-/

  • Christina @ The Hungry Australian
    June 7, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Congrats, Emma! Very exciting for you. This recipe looks gorgeous x

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:13 am

      Thanks Christina! xx

  • danijela k.
    June 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Congratulations! I like your honest writing and tasty recipes. I am sure your book is a masterpiece. πŸ™‚

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:13 am

      Thanks Danijela, I sure hope so πŸ™‚ xx

  • Shanna Mallon
    June 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Congratulations! Can't wait to see it!

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:12 am

      Thanks Shanna xx

  • Domestic Executive
    June 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Well done for getting the book across the line. I'm looking forward to trying this salad for lunch on Monday. A real pick me up with this glum winter weather :o)

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:12 am

      Enjoy love and thank you xx

  • Irina @ wandercrush
    June 9, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Persimmons are one of my favourite fruits! I'd always had them as a child when I went back to Taiwan and stayed with my grandmother, but I never even know they were persimmons until much later. Those thin slices you've photographed are absolutely beautiful.
    Congrats on making it through the cookbook trials! I'm sure it'll be amazing and absolutely worth every second of hand-wringing.

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:12 am

      Thanks Irina! xx

  • vanilla bean blog
    June 10, 2013 at 2:32 am

    So glad to hear you can (almost) breath again. πŸ™‚ I am certain it will be such a lovely book – I can't wait to see it and bake and cook from it.
    And, your salad is gorgeous. I love the black and white photograph – beautiful. xo

    • emma
      June 10, 2013 at 3:11 am

      Thanks Sarah! xx

  • Cheryl
    June 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Congrats on finishing the book. I can't wait to see the pictures. and yes your pictures entice me to cook. Love the salad, especially the dressing πŸ™‚

    • emma
      June 12, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Thanks Cheryl! xx

  • Julie
    June 11, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Gratulerer sΓ₯ mye (congratulations so much!) on finishing your book! Really looking forward to it. I HOPE the book can be shipped to Norway, otherwise I'll get order some to get sent to Rosie and she can send them over. All the best xx

    • emma
      June 12, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Hi Julie! I'll let you know when/where it will be available when I know more xx

  • Local is Lovely
    June 11, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Congratulations Emma! And thanks so much for this post. I am three weeks into writing/photographing/styling my book too and am FREAKING OUT! Talk about a crisis of confidence. Later today, when the kids are at school and I can actually concentrate, I'm going to reread your words, Heidi's too and hopefully brace myself and move on! Sophie x

    • emma
      June 12, 2013 at 12:12 am

      Hang in there love, it's one crazy ride πŸ™‚ Email me if I can help in any way. Doing it all yourself makes it a rather isolating project and sometimes it's just nice to talk things over with someone who understands xx

  • Mairi @ Toast
    June 15, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Congratulations! What an achievement…can't wait to get my mitts on it, in the meantime happy to see you back here & that salad looks delicious!

    • emma
      July 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Mairi! xx