Salad

Thai Salad with Native Pepper Crusted Kangaroo

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Thai beef salad flavours with native-pepper crusted kangaroo. Super simple but heaps tasty. Native pepper has the most incredible flavour, but way smokier and spicier than regular pepper, and goes so perfectly with the gamey-ness of kangaroo. 

Salad

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 Lebanese cucumbers¸ chopped into long thin slices
Couple of handfuls of beansprouts
1 bunch coriander
1 sprig native mint
1\2 bunch Thai basil
Handful of crushed peanuts or crispy fried shallots OR both. Salty crunchy stuff is good.

Dressing

½ cup fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar (chopped up if you get it in the little blocks)
Juice of one large lime
1 long red chili
1\4 cup coriander stems, finely chopped up

Kangaroo

500g kangaroo fillet
2 Tablespoons of native pepper
½ Tablespoon black peppe

Toss the ingredients for the salad together loosely (it looks nicer if you have a lot of herbs on top but do your own thing). 

Mix the sauce ingredients together, tasting for the flavour balance - if it's too sweet add fish sauce, too salty add sugar, too fish-sauce-y add lime, etc. 

Grind the pepper up together either with a regular pepper grinder or mortar and pestle. Coat the kangaroo fillet with pepper on both sides. Heat up a non-stick pan until it's extremely hot (if you flick some water in it it should sizzle). Put the kangaroo in the pan and put something heavy on top of it to weigh it down (another big pan or something like that). Cook for 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the same way for two minutes. Take out of the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes. 

Scatter the peanuts / crispy shallots over the top of the salad. 

Cut the kangaroo into thin slices on an angle. It should be medium-rare, so pretty bloody but not totally raw inside. Lay on top of the salad. Pour dressing over the top. 

Photo by Josh Watson

Photo by Josh Watson

Fruit Salad with ginger & lime syrup

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I feel a bit silly writing out a recipe for this cause it's just a fruit salad - but I didn't fully know how to make a syrup until recently, so maybe this will be useful.

I think this syrup would be delicious over a stone fruit salad - peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries. However even though it was STONE FRUIT SEASON when I made this my supermarket didn't have any except for a couple of plums. So I panicked and bought the weird assortment of fruits you see in this picture. 

Makes about a cup of syrup

Syrup ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
Half a cup of water
1 lime, zest cut off.
Thumb sized piece of ginger,
half thinly sliced, half crushed. 

Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan on high until boiling. Reduce the heat and add the ginger and lime zest and a couple of thin slices of lime. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it's a dark syrup-y consistency. 

Take out the whole slices of ginger if you don't want too-strong a ginger flavour. Leave to cool, then pour over your fruit salad. If the syrup gets too solid when it cools down, add a bit more boiling water and stir vigorously until it is liquid enough to pour. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Probably the Best Salad

I hate whenever recipes describe something as ‘delicious AND guilt free’ or like ‘you won’t BELIEVE it’s healthy’ – cause usually they’re talking about stuff with heaps of weird fake-sugar chemicals or under-salted microwave meals. Also if something is delicious you can’t feel guilty about eating it that’s the rule. But this salad, with honey and nuts and a bit of chili, tastes good (not as good as a grilled cheese but better than a can of tuna) and is relatively healthy. You could probably eat it for at least 3 days before you started really wanting a chicken burger.  

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

This recipe is very easy and you probably could have made it up for yourself – but I know sometimes it’s hard to think of a lunch idea that won't make you feel like shit, so here it is.

Ingredients:

¼ of a big pumpkin
2 cans of Butterbeans
300g Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 cup of nuts, roughly chopped (I used Brazil Nuts, but walnuts, pecans or cashews would work fine too)
Half a red onion, finely diced
200 grams of Rocket
1 Sprig Rosemary
Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sumac  (you could use Dried Chili if you want more heat/don’t want to buy sumac)
3 tablespoons of honey
Half a lime
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 108 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into bite sized-ish pieces.

In a baking tray, coat the pumpkin, nuts and Brussels sprouts in the honey, sumac or dried chili, rosemary and a big glug of olive oil together until everything is evenly covered. Bake for about 30 minutes – checking after 20 if you cut your pumpkin fairly small.

When the pumpkin is soft, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool.

Drain the butterbeans, then add to the cooled pumpkin and nut mixture. Mix the rocket and onion through, and finish with a squeeze of lime and salt and pepper to taste.

‘Fuck Minimalism’ Salad

I’ve never really subscribed to the ‘a few good things done perfectly’ style of cooking. If a few things is good, well EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE must be great. This doesn’t always work – but for this salad it does. When I first made this about a month ago it was a panzella (Italian bread) salad that I added heaps of other stuff too. Then I dropped it all on the ground on the way to the party I’d made it for. That was a bummer, but now it has been REBORN with EVEN MORE INGRIDIENTS (but no bread). I really like silverbeet in salads cause it’s like kale’s cheaper, more laid-back brother. I love kale, but I respect silverbeet.

Serves 12 - 15

Ingridients

2 Zucchinis
1 Bunch Asparagus
1 punnet (500g) ‘Tomato medley’ (different coloured tomatoes, cheap in summer but all other times you can use 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes instead)
2 Cans butter beans
½ Red Onion, finely diced
Half a bunch of silverbeet, green bits only, roughly chopped.
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or cut up as fine as you can)
1 Bunch of basil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Handful of shaved parmesan

Cut up the basil as fine as you can, and mix it with enough olive oil to cover it (you want more ‘basil oil’ than ‘oily basil’). Add the garlic and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Slice the zucchini lenthways so you’ve got long thin slices (about 1cm thick). Slice the asparagus in half lengthways. Put a frypan or wok on the stove and let it get hot. Throw the zucchini and asparagus in (without oil) and dry fry them until a little bit charred and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Slice the tomatoes in half, and mix together with the red onion, butter beans, silverbeet, and some olive oil, salt and pepper. When the zucchini and asparagus are cool, add them to the tomatoes. 

Toast the pepitas in a hot pan, moving them around constantly so they toast all over, be careful because they burn very quickly.

Cover the salad with the basil oil and stir through. Top with parmesan and pepitas (still hot is good but not important) and serve.

(Shoulda been) Soba Salad

If you look closely (or like, at all), you’ll notice that the noodles in these salads are definitely NOT soba. One is vermicelli (fine, gotta cater for my legit celiac friend Laurel) and one is Udon. NOT FINE. Udon noodles are great in soups or stir fries because they’re substantial and salty – not at all right for ‘delicate’ (as close as I ever get anyway) salads.

But when you’re rushing around the supermarket trying to get ready to feed 20 people, it’s very easy to pick up the wrong packet – and then what was I gonna do, walk back to the shops? In the middle of the day in summer? Nah. But please don’t make the same mistakes as me. For the love of god get the soba.

You could also definitely make your own sesame sauce (I’ve made one before with mirin, light soy, a little sugar and tahini that was pretty good) but the ready-made stuff is generally a much better consistency. It’d be worth going to a Japanese grocer to get the real deal (Genki Mart in Alderly is terrific if you’re in Brisbane) but the Kewpie brand one is available in most supermarkets.

Serves 12 + as a side

Ingredients:
2 packets soba noodles
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 packet tomato medley (if the multi-coloured tomatoes aren't in season regular cherry tomatoes are fine)
Sesame-soy sauce (see above)
1 Carrot
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Couple of handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
thumb-sized peices of ginger
500g raw salmon fillets (should be about 2 - 3 fillets) 

Wrap the salmon fillets individually in baking paper with the ginger, a splash of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of butter for each fillet. Cook at 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked. Leave to cool.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Cut the carrots into matchstick-sized 'julienne' pieces (you can grate them if you want, though it tastes different). Slice the cucumber in 1-2cm slices, then cut them in half into semi-circles. Cut the tomatoes in half (or smaller if you're using big tomatoes. 

Mix the cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, lettuce, shallots, soba, sesame seeds, and the sesame dressing of your choice together. Flake the cooked salmon over the top and serve.  

Fattoush-ish Salad


I don’t know if this should be called a fattoush salad cause they often have capsicum (gross) and no chickpeas. This shit is so simple it seems silly to write a recipe for it – you can see pretty much everything that’s in it in the picture. But apparently that’s ‘not the point’ of a ‘recipe blog’ so ‘here we are’:

Serves 12 as a side.

INGREDIENTS
5 Tomatoes
1 Continental cucumber
2 Cans of chickpeas
1 Lemon
2-ish small pita breads
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch coriander
½ cup mint
2 teaspoons sumac
Olive Oil

Slice the tomatoes into chunks, the cucumber into thick-ish semi-circles. Toss together with the chickpeas, parsley and coriander.

Roughly chop the mint. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl with a few glugs of olive oil (maybe like half a cup? Go with your heart), the mint and the sumac. Use this to dress the salad. Before serving, toast the bread, rip it up, and throw it on top of the salad.