Sunday, December 4

A perfect salad for a party, and some Xmas ideas...

In a moment of weakness I ended up treasurer of the Social Club at work, my duties seem to mainly involve hassling people for money, but I am also required to produce something edible for the annual children's Christmas Party. The sweet selection was already well covered, so I thought this salad would be ideal. It comes from River Cottage Everyday Veg, which I can highly recommend as a brilliant Xmas gift for anyone interested in good food. Hugh F-W is perhaps more known for his use of meat but this book is packed with excellent recipes. We have at least a night or two a week of meatless dinners, so it is great to get new ideas.....

The original recipe used beans, but as asparagus is in season at the moment I substituted those. Grilled eggplant would also be perfect instead of the courgettes and some roasted beetroot would also be a delicious addition.

Courgette & Asparagus salad with Tahini dressing

2 tbsp olive oil
3 courgettes (zucchini) sliced into rounds about 2mm thick
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 red chilli chopped (or use chilli flakes)
1 bunch asparagus (about 150gr)
3-4 handfuls salad leaves
Handful semi-dried tomatoes
Handful of fresh mint

Tahini dressing
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed (I peel & grate mine on a microplane)
2 tbsp tahini paste
Grated zest & juice of 1/2 a lemon
Juice 1/2 orange
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salad & fresh ground pepper

For the dressing mix the crushed garlic, tahini, lemon zest & juice, orange juice & honey together in a small bowl. Add salt & pepper, and the olive oil. The dressing will be very thick, so add enough water to this to dressing consistency. I pop everything into a jar and keep in the fridge while I make the salad.

For the salad heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, and fry the courgette rounds in one layer until tender & golden on both side. You might need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan. Pop onto a plate when cooked, and sprinkle with the lemon juice & chopped chilli.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the asparagus, boiling for just 2 minutes. Drain & immediately dunk in cold water to stop them cooking. Drain really well, then slice into spear into 3 pieces.
On a platter spread out your salad leaves. Sprinkle on the courgette slices, asparagus & tomatoes, then the top with mind, chopped if the leaves are very large. Drizzle over your dressing if serving immediately, otherwise cover with clingfilm & take to your party, not forgetting the dressing in the fridge.......

The dressing is also delish for dunking raw veg into, or maybe asparagus that has been blanched as above, then grilled for a couple of minutes on the BBQ , yum!

Every year I bang on about being organised for Christmas, I have added incentive this year as I am hosting my family for the day at our place. So I have already sent off my UK presents (Tiffany actually asked if everything was ok, I mean, my Xmas presents normally arrive in time for New Year....if I'm lucky) and I am well into the family gift list.
One site I particularly love is Mapua Country Trading  Even if your family are not big gardeners, there is something for everyone, all NZ made & all really rather lovely ( I brought my Mum the Apple House Bird Feeder last year)

Homemade gifts are always a treat, this Strawberry & Vanilla Jam would be perfect with so many strawberries around at the moment. I will be whipping up some Apple & Walnut Chutney in the next week or so & will share the recipe, also a perfect stocking filler....

It is raining in Auckland today, Mr PK is very pleased, he wants the lawn perfect for Christmas day, what is it with men & lawns??


  1. Oh my that looks good, I love Hugh F W's books but I haven't managed to get this one yet, thanks for the Mapua trading link too, looks like a lot of goodies to be found there!

  2. Inspired to get this book now - the salad looks really inviting.

  3. Everything you make always looks so delicious and fresh. You always seem so organised so it's no surprise you are early with posting off gifts and have all your plans thought out for you Christmas dinner this year. You are so lucky to be having rain! We just keep waking up to very strong wind at the moment although it seems to have dropped today, thank goodness!

  4. Yes it is really RAINING in Auckland today! Never mind! Great salad, good to see a meat eater like Hugh getting his teeth into some vegetarian food :-). I hope that more TV chefs will follow suit.


  5. Lovely bright cours in the salad, hole everyone enjoyed it. I ahe only just bought my Christmas cards for the UK and they need to go by the 5th! I haven't even done any Christmas baking, usually my cake is done in October!

  6. Ooh, your salad looks lovely! Will put it on my summer salads list :) And I have so many strawberries - your jam might be the answer!

  7. What a tasty looking salad! Brilliant idea for summer Christmas eating!

  8. Yum! I have to give that a try, especially with the Tahini dressing

    I did tell you

  9. Ah, I really should've read this before cooking dinner tonight - I had pretty much all the ingredients, and zero inspiration, so ended up making an omelette instead. Looks delicious!

  10. Looks yummy and healty! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  11. I have this book, and was just about to make this the other night but switched to an Ottolenghi recipe instead. Love the sound of the dressing though, and I do have a zucchini leftover, might have to give it a proper go this time!

  12. Mmmm that looks scrummy...especially the dressing.

  13. Great summer salad - love the idea of the tahini dressing. Obviously, another book I need to add to my wish list.

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