How to make the perfect Summer salad

salads seasonal eating Feb 02, 2022

This week we’re honing in on the vital elements required to create the perfect salad, to help guide you to mastery with this exceptionally underrated life skill.

The difference between a good and cracking Summer salad is nominal in terms of the time and effort required, yet when it comes to indulging – they’re worlds apart.

Mastering the art is pretty straight-forward, even for non-cooks. All it requires is some know-how around contrasting and balancing flavours, colours and textures – and grasping the critical importance of using fresh ingredients. 

In Summer, salad can be so much more than an assortment of greens (not that there’s anything wrong with a peppery green side and zingy vinaigrette)! At this time of year, salads can hold their own as hearty standalone meals.

 

It doesn’t need to be complicated

Oftentimes, simplicity trumps complexity. Pairing a perfectly ripe fruit with a soft cheese and something for crunch is enough to...

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Summer days call for Summer salads

salads seasonal eating Jan 20, 2022

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing break and that any run-in with Covid you might have had, was mild and manageable.

Thankfully, mine was rather anti-climactic (isolating with young, energetic children proved the hardest part) and it was significantly less debilitating than regular man-flu, for my partner.

It’s good to be out the other side, with some additional antibodies to boot!

At this time of year, when the weather beckons us outside in favour of dwelling in the kitchen for too long, summer salads are an easy ticket outdoors.

A few sexy ingredients tossed together can make a delicious side dish or even a substantial main in mere minutes – not a small win, when you’re dreading the extra heat from your stove or oven!

Perhaps most importantly, they’re a fabulous way to celebrate the best of Summer produce. There is minimal skill required to enhance a perfectly ripe, freshly picked Summer fruit. With the abundance of great produce, anyone can be a masterful cook...

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Central Coast farmers markets: your guide to shopping supermarket-free

If you’ve never ventured outside of the supermarket for your food on a regular basis, it can be quite a daunting transition at the outset, especially if you don’t know what the alternatives are. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the myriad of benefits that come with purchasing the bulk of your food in season from local producers and this week we’re focusing on how to change up your shopping habits.

If you’re reading this as a Central Coast resident, rest assured that this transition might be easier than you’d think. You may not have even been aware of the fact that we are living in a food bowl! Unbeknownst to many locals, we’re surrounded by passionate small-scale farmers in the fertile coast hinterland who are producing some of the best quality produce and animal products right at our doorstep.

Here are some of the options available as you start to think outside the supermarket aisles.

Central Coast farmers markets

A...

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Getting started with seasonal eating

In last week’s column we explored some of the benefits associated with seasonal eating. This week we’re focusing on how to gradually master the process.

It’s ironic that reacquainting ourselves with such a simple, age-old tradition can require some initial effort. Before the development of such efficient global transport systems, seasonal and local foods were the only ones on offer.

After only a few decades of relying on supermarkets for our food, we’ve lost touch with the knowledge and skills required to eat this way. Most people no longer possess any awareness of which foods are in season or even an inherent understanding of the fact that most produce and even many animal foods, do in fact have a season!

We’ve been sold the idea that we can have whatever we want all year round, when this is not how nature works. Supermarkets perpetuate this illusion by responding to consumer demand for apples, oranges and bananas every single day of the year.

If we...

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The untold benefits of seasonal eating

As we move into Autumn, I thought it might be nice to take this, my second favorite seasonal transition of the year (nothing beats Winter to Spring!), as an opportunity to explore the untold benefits of seasonal eating.

Once upon a time, I had no idea where my food came from, other than knowing the location of the supermarket and the shelf I found it on. The concept of seasonal eating was merely a romantic notion that conjured up visions of pumpkin or apple pie in Autumn.

When I started on my journey to get closer to the source of where my food came from, I had no way to fathom the transformation that lay ahead. It’s been life-changing, let me tell you!

Seasonal and local eating has become one of the most important pieces of health advice that I can offer people. It’s central to everything I teach about food and nutrition. If you were to focus solely on this one idea, striving to eat seasonally, sourcing from local producers, it has the power to transform not only your...

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Bitter: the abandoned flavour

Bitter: the abandoned flavour

It’s a flavour that is universally associated with harshness, pain and the downright intolerable, yet bitter foods (and especially greens like radicchio, endive and dandelion) are an overlooked and very essential food group. It’s possible that many of the health complaints that plague us in the modern era, such as reflux, indigestion and type 2 diabetes, may in fact be traced to a deficiency of bitters in the diet.

For the health conscious folk among you, who probably prioritise getting enough fibre, vitamin C, iron and calcium – and for the finger-on-pulse types, probably also bone broth, liver, kale and chia seeds – when was the last time you pondered whether you’re including sufficient bitter foods in your diet? Did it ever make your checklist, I wonder?

Certainly not mine, until several years ago when my all-time favourite food author, Jennifer Mclagan penned the modern classic “Bitter: a taste of the...

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How to embrace seasonal eating: my tips from the road

Embracing seasonal eating isn’t just an attempt to reconnect with nature. It’s one of the simplest ways to radically improve the quality of your food. And by default, you’re reducing grocery bills, packaging and food miles, all whilst supporting local farmers. That’s because seasonal food is fresh, local food. The type that our grandparents, and indeed all our ancestors, thrived on.

This post is part of our Traditional food tour through Europe.
We’re still in Frankfurt, Germany.

Seasonal eating in Australia

Thanks to the dwindling food culture – the price of convenience for our parent’s generation, we’ve really lost touch with eating this way. Most Australians shop predominantly at their local supermarket instead of markets or farmgate stalls, as is the norm in Europe. There’s certainly more of an inherent understanding over here, that all foods, including meats, have a season.

Spargel berries
Beautiful fresh asparagus we found at a...
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