A very simple fennel salad to have with tonight’s barbecue plus some other ideas

June 4, 2011

Corn on the barbecue

They weren’t lying about the heat wave – it’s positively roasting. Hello summer!!!!! Last night we had Auggie’s third birthday party in the back garden. Apart from the amazing weather what really made it of course was the lack of hoards of stampeding children tearing my house apart limb from limb. We just had family so  it was very civilised. Foodwise is was pretty grown up too. I recently bought a kilo of Idiazabal cheese an amazing sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque country from The Spanish Treat a brilliant online spanish food delivery service based here in Dublin.  It’s one of my favourite cheeses  and you never see it here.  We had that with some semi cured chorizo (again from The Spanish Treat) and plenty of  Albariño a very tasty white  from Galicia. Viva Espagñe!  The birthday boy had requested a strawberry cake so that was dessert (it’s kinda tricky to eat through a Darth Vadar mask but he managed). I’ll be talking cakes next week so I’ll let you know how I put that one together.

Tonight it’s just us and I think we’ll be in the garden again. It’s definitely barbecue time!! Nearly everything tastes better from the grill so if you’re wondering what to cook, look no further than your fruit and veg. The spuds (both sweet and regular) can be scrubbed then parboiled, wrapped in tinfoil and thrown on. They’ll take a while but are sooooo good. Sweet potatoes taste great with that sweet chilli sauce you get in Asian shops or some Reggae Reggae ketchup. The regular spuds are gorgeous with a dollop of mayo or aioli, pesto or just plain butter. This week’s fennel works surprising well on the barbecue as do carrots which you can cook with some curry spices. Even broccoli can be rinsed then wrapped in tinfoil and cooked in about 10 minutes. It’ll char a bit but this is what you want. Toss it with a handful of chickpeas and some garlic and chilli then dress with olive oil and lemon juice.

Cherries are just too good fresh to barbecue but bananas are great. Wrap them up with a piece of chocolate or even a Bounty bar and stick them on while you eat your savoury. Have straight up or with ice-cream. Delish!!! Barbecued pineapples are legendary in our house. Use the marinade I made a few weeks ago with rum, star anise and cinnamon or, if it’s a last minute thing, a dash of rum with some brown sugar works fine too.

Sweet Potato salad

Saladwise, you are more than sorted with this week’s baby spinach from The Healys and lettuce from Marc Michel. Toss with soft crumbly cheese, some toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, olives and few chopped tomatoes for a salad that will serve as a starter course or the bones of a vegetarian meal. Or, slice up the sweet potatoes, parboil then wrap in tinfoil with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and a little oil. When they’re done, toss with the baby spinach along with some finely chopped onion and a handful of toasted pinenuts. Dress with olive oil and vinegar (red wine or balsamic) then drizzle with pomogranate mollasses. Yum.

Fennel salad with Pecorino shavings and lemonFennel Salad

This week’s fennel, I know puts a lot of you outside your comfort zones, but don’t worry. Simplicity is the way forward. The aniseedy flavour is lifted beautifully by a little lemon. Slice each bulb as finely as you can then toss with olive oil and lemon juice. A little sprinkle of fine salt is also crucial for bringing out the flavours. Take it to the next level with some Parmesan or Pecorino shavings. Especially good with grilled fish this salad really works with anything.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

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