Hello. I have been away for a while. A bit of a holiday. An opportunity to dabble in other things. A reassessment. A change. A summer.
It is good to see you again. All my old friends – I have missed you. I may not be around so often, now, but I will be here now and again. How lovely that you haven’t forgotten me.
It is summer here, at last. A late start. A cold December, relatively. Mid January before the heat hit. It is here now – 35 – 40C days (90 – 105F). My kind of weather. It warms my bones and makes me come alive.
Lance Armstrong is here. Yes, here, right here in Adelaide. Little ole sleepy Adelaide. In the Tour Downunder. The crowds have been double the numbers of previous years. And he is doing a whole lot of stuff for LiveStrong while he is here. An amazing man.
Me? I am well. I am excited about some new projects. I am not cooking so much at the moment, living on salads and eating out much more in this exquisite weather. Thanks for asking. Today I have been making the most exquisite paneer from some milk fresh from the cow. But today I want to talk about a wonderful, summer on the balcony salad.
You know, cucumbers are the most under appreciated vegetable – tossed into some green salad, being overwhelmed by the other vegetables or the dressing. Yes, I have to admit that eating them ice cold on a stinking hot day is very good, that watery goodness very cooling. And if you can find one straight off the bush, warm from the sun even on a hot day, it is one of the best tastes on earth. Next to apricots straight from the tree, that is.
But generally it is treated like an ordinary vegetable, when a second or two of attention turns it into something spectacular. Massage some love into those little suckers and they will reward you aplenty. Join me for a bowl of cucumber, herbs and poppy seeds.
Cucumber, Herbs and Poppy Seed Salad
Source : inspired by Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
6 small or Lebanese Cucumbers
2 mild red chillies, seeded and sliced thinly
a small handful of herbs – coriander (cilantro), italian parsley, basil, mint
60ml rice vinegar or a really good white wine vinegar
125ml sunflower or walnut oil
2 – 3 Tblspn poppy seeds
2 Tblspn caster sugar or agave nectar
sea salt and some white pepper
Slice the cucumber on an angle to get slices that are 3 – 4 cm long. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, gently massaging all of the flavours into the cucumber. The taste of the salad should be sharp and sweet – taste and adjust the sugar, salt and vinegar to suit the quality of the cucumbers.
Serve immediately. If you make it ahead of time, leave the adjustment of the flavours until the last minute. Drain off any juice that has accumulated in the salad, mix again and adjust flavour.
I like to serve it with chopsticks – Japanese rather than Chinese, they are more delicate – prior to serving a main dish.
- Cool as a Cucumber Curry – Cucumber Curry
- Cucumber Salad with Sesame
- Simple Cucumber Salad
- Simple approaches
- Drinking herbs and juices
- Eggplant with Mirin and Miso Paste
- Narasihman’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry
- Sambar Powder