Summer Salads for Sally’s 60th

Hi all, as promised, these are the salads that I prepared for Marco mother’s 60th party last night. All of these are from recipes that I have been collecting on Pinterest. In my household we have always had our salads with olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes balsamic vinegar. So I am not very experienced in salad dressings.

These salads were a big hit at the party. The Roasted Aubergine only lasted about 15 mins till it was all gone. The pasta salad was also popular. All of these salads were quite quick and easy to prepare. The only cooking involved was for the pasta and grilling the eggplant.

???????????????????????????????

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Best Pasta Salad’

The original recipe for Jamie’s pasta salad is here (gfo, sf, nf)). The only thing I did different was using small vine ripened tomatoes, rather then yellow and red cherry tomatoes. I wasn’t able to get them for a reasonable price. But it didn’t make a difference with flavor, just with color. I especially loved the fresh herbs and zesty lemon flavor. This is a great salad if you have a large group of people and is big enough that everyone gets to have firsts and seconds.

???????????????????????????????

Roasted Aubergine with Sumac and Tahini Dressing

The recipe for this dish can be found here. This salad was really loved by all the Serbians. The dressing is earthly and zesty, the toppings are nutty and fragrant and the eggplant is soft and creamy. It can be served warm or at room temperature, which is how I served it. The dressing should be chilled and added just before serving. I have never used pomegranate in ???????????????????????????????a salad before. It went really well with the pine nuts. Unfortunately it isn’t in season at the moment in Australia. These were a USA import, so they were expensive and had some bad bits inside, but it was a must have ingredient to complete this dish. I really liked the dressing as well, it was dairy free, but really creamy. I used unhulled tahini, so my dressing is a lot darker then the picture in the original recipe. For the eggplant I removed the bitterness before grilling it. I just added table salt to the slices of eggplant and left them, so that the moister would come out. Then I wiped the moisture off before cooking it. Only thing I would do differently next time is make double the amount.

???????????????????????????????

Carrot Salad with Olives, Agave and Cumin

The recipe for this salad can be found here. The only things I changed was using agave instead of honey and italian parsley instead of coriander  The birthday girl is not a fan of coriander  but loves italian parsley, so I thought for her party it was better to go with what she likes. This is also a really easy salad to put together. It did take me a while to cut these carrots into tiny matchsticks, but worth it. The dressing was sweet and zesty.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

I was really lucky last night. There were plenty of fresh salads, roasted potatoes and baked bread for me to eat. I definitely didn’t go hungry. Of course they had their lamb on the spit, which they serve at big celebrations, but I didn’t feel like it. Some of the salads they made were Cabbage and Pickles; Cabbage, Beetroot and Carrot; Tomato and Red onion; and Radish and Cucumber. They all had vinegar, oil and salt to season them. There was also a traditional Serbian homemade bread, which is called Pogača. Usually at the beginning of the meal everyone takes an edge and pulls to get their piece. It is quite a heavy, dense bread, but it is nice and airy inside and soft on the outside.

318256_10151526567077292_1735189741_n

Marco’s sister made Sally’s birthday cake. This cake isn’t vegan, but it was dairy free. It is also a traditional Serbian recipe. It consists of 3 layers of baked sponge cake, which is only made of ground peanuts and eggs and between the layers are crushed peanuts. On the outside was chocolate and strawberry flavored marzipan. The humidity got to it a bit, but it still looked great and most importantly tasted amazing.

???????????????????????????????

It was a great night for everyone. The older ones ate, drank and danced all night. Marco, the kids and I ended up watching a movie together to get out of the heat. Most importantly Sally had a great time and it was a birthday to remember.

Advertisements

Orange, Mint and Basil Noodles Stir fry with Assorted Mushrooms and Cabbage

I am addicted to mushrooms at the moment. Dried and fresh, I love them all. These little fungi are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sodium. They are cholesterol and fat free. They are also high in fiber, protein, a good source of B vitamins, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. They are good for our metabolism and if consumed regularly are proven to decrease the amount of cancerous cells in our bodies [1].

I like to use them in pasta and noodle dishes to substitute where I would normally use meat. Dried mushrooms especially have a meat like texture and they help to make a balanced filling dish. I bought a packet of assorted mushrooms from the local Asian supermarket. They are really affordable and easy to work with. Another one of my go to recipes with dried mushrooms is Risoni Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Mushrooms. 

DSC02639

Orange, Mint & Basil Noodles  Stir fry with Assorted Mushrooms and Cabbage (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 serve of brown rice noodles

1 garlic clove

2 shallots

1 red chili

1/2 cup cabbage

handful assorted mushrooms (dried & fresh)

1/2 cup vegan chicken or vegetable stock (or water)

10 basil leaves

10 mint leaves

segments from 1/2 an orange

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil (plus extra for wok)DSC02630

Method:

1. Cook the noodles according to packet directions, then strain and set to the side.

2. In the meantime dice the garlic, shallots and chili. Chop the cabbage and fresh mushrooms. Soak the dried mushrooms.DSC02632

3. Prepare the herb sauce. Place basil, mint, orange in a mortar and pestle. Then add sesame oil and tamari.

4. Heat the wok with a little bit of sesame oil. Then add garlic, shallots and chili. Cook for 1 minute.

DSC026345. Add all the mushrooms with stock and cabbage. Cook for 3-4mins or until cabbage has wilted and stock has dried up.

6. Add the herb sauce and noodles. Heat through for one more minute, then serve.

DSC02635

[1] Leslee Dru Browning 2008, Mushrooms: The Underestimated Super Food, <http://www.naturalnews.com/024548_mushrooms_cancer_food.html>