Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

I have a list. Well, I have many lists, but in particular, I have a list for which recipes to post and when.

All bloggers have a list like that, right??

Well, the problem I find is that I cook way, way, WAY more than I post. Now because of this, my precious list is in constant flux. Seasonal dishes have to move down the list, waiting for their time to come around again because I just didn’t get to them.

And for that, I blame the Internet.

There are just too many recipes out there to try, and when you throw in all the cookbooks, magazines and trying to recreate meals you’ve had at restraints, it becomes a hell of a feat to create the weekly menu. We’ve spoken about this before.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

That’s exactly what happened this week. I was supposed to post a yummy, go-to lentil salad that actually makes lentils look pretty, but Yotam struck again with his weekly column in The Guardian and I just had to try this red rice salad with grilled corn and other goodies. And then, once I had tried it, I had to post it. Immediately.

It. Was. That. Good.
Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

This red rice salad is nothing short of amazing. It is perfectly balanced in both flavour and texture, and is great both warm for dinner and cold the next day for lunch – if you are lucky enough to have leftovers. And the dressing… Just yum.

I’m sharing this salad with the happy revellers at Fiesta Friday #89 and this week’s co-hosts, Angie @The Novice Gardener, Mila @Milk and Bun and Kaila @GF Life 24/7. There will be extra dressing for all who link up to the party!

Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

  • Servings: serves 4 to 6
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Red Rice Salad with Avocado and Grilled Corn

Ingredients

  • 150g Camargue red rice
  • 1 large red onion (peeled, quartered and the individual layers separated)
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • Salt
  • 2 corn cobs (peeled if in husks, trimmed and cleaned)
  • 6-7 spring onions (trimmed)
  • 150g edamame beans (blanched for 30 seconds and drained)
  • 80g snow peas (cut diagonally)
  • 2 medium avocados (peeled and stoned just before serving, then cut into 2cm dice)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted, to serve)
  • 15g coriander leaves (optional)
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges, to serve)

For the dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon flaked chilli
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil

Method

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with plenty of water and place on a high heat. Once boiling, add the rice and cook for 25 minutes, until soft but still retaining a bite. Drain, refresh under cold water, set aside in a colander to dry, then transfer to a large bowl.
  2. While the rice is cooking, use a freestanding or hand-blender to blitz all the dressing ingredients with a quarter teaspoon of salt until smooth and thick, then set aside.
  3. Put a ridged griddle pan on a high heat and ventilate your kitchen. In a medium bowl, mix the onion with the oil and a quarter teaspoon of salt. When the pan starts to smoke, add the onion and cook for four minutes, turning over every 30 seconds, until the individual leaves are soft and charred all over, then transfer to the rice bowl.
  4. Lay the corn cobs on the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them every minute or so, until charred on all sides. Remove from the heat and, once cool enough to handle, hold each cob upright on a board and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels in clumps. Add these to the rice bowl.
  5. Lay the spring onions in the griddle and cook for six minutes, turning them over often, until charred and smoky all over. Remove from the heat, chop into 5cm-long pieces and add to the bowl.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, add the snow peas and avocados to the bowl, pour over the dressing and toss Serve in individual portions, sprinkling each with sesame seeds and picked coriander, if you like, with a lime wedge on the side.

Note: Yotam tosses the salad very gently; preferring to not have the ingredients completely evenly distributed. Apparently I need to work on this… Otherwise, toss the whole thing into one mixed salad and serve.

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian.

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Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters and a Tribute to Selma

It seems that every other person has a blog nowadays.

Some start up because they need a creative outlet. Others are looking for notoriety. Still others just want a little piece of space, carved out just for them and their thoughts.

I started my little food blog at a time when they were already a dime a dozen. I had no new idea, not fantastic, paradigm-shifting approach to creating or sharing recipes. I just wanted a little creative outlet and a place to keep track of my efforts, achievements, and which recipes in the mounds and mounds of magazine cutouts, cook books and web links were the ones worth cooking again.

What I never thought I would encounter when I started was a community of like-minded people who were so sweet and nurturing. A group of people that were unbelievably kind and supportive, even to one who mostly just lurked in the shadows and only popped up every now and then to shyly say hi before going into hiding again.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters
Amongst this beautiful community was a lady who I formed a bond with over haloumi, of all things. Selma @Selma’s Table was always there, encouraging all of us with her kind words and sweet nature, and we’re all deeply saddened to hear of her passing. I will miss her wicked sense of humour and her heartfelt advice.

These haloumi fritters are not the ones we first bonded over, but they are the ones I’ve made to honour Selma. A huge thank you (and even bigger hugs) to Angie @Fiesta Friday, Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook, Elaine @Foodbod and Sue @birgerbird for putting together this space for all of us to remember Selma.

Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters with Avocado Salsa

  • Servings: makes 12 to 16 fritters
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Spiced Haloumi and Pea Fritters

Ingredients

  • 250g frozen peas
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g cornflour
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 180g haloumi (half finely grated, half cut into 1cm cubes)
  • 3 scallions (finely sliced)
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • Vegetable oil (for shallow frying)
  • 1 Avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Boil the peas in salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. Refresh under cold water, then drain again. Roughly mash half of the peas with a fork and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flours and baking powder until combined and smooth. Fold in the peas, haloumi, scallions, lime zest, coriander and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoonfuls of the mixture to the pan, pressing down to flatten slightly, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
  4. Meanwhile, halve, de-pit and roughly chop the avocado flesh. Mix in the chopped fresh coriander, and then add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.
  5. Serve the fritters hot or at room temperature with the avocado and coriander salsa.

Recipe adapted from Delicious magazine.

Salad and Burrata Piadina Wraps

For a little over a year now, I have been waiting for quinces to come back into season so I can make a version of Philippa Sibley’s Hansel and Gretel dessert.

Last month, I bought some quinces and some apples, and I poached and I baked and I churned and I caramelised and I made a seriously tasty dessert.

But all those little notes, change and tips that we all make to recipes are messily scrawled across multiple bits of paper. Bits of paper that I do not have the time to transcribe at the moment.

You see, things are happening… things that require boxes, and tape and bubble wrap…

I have only done it twice, but I know that I do not like moving. It’s messy, dusty and my usual method of ordered chaos has disintegrated into pure disorganisation. I don’t think it helps that the cat jumps out at me from behind boxes like a ninja.

So, seeing as though the majority of my spare time is now devoted to boxing up my life, I offer you all not the beautifully poached quinces and apple crumble ice cream that has been the plan for two weeks now; instead, I present a quick (plus resting time!) and easy recipe that can be adapted according to your mood, cravings, time and whatever it is you have in the fridge.

Salad and Burrata Piadina

Piadina is Italy’s lesser-know flatbread, after pizza and focaccia, can be just as tasty – there’s a lot of bad pizza out there – and is much easier to make. It’s great as a snack or as a base to top with a variety of ingredients from cheeses to cold cuts to vegetables. I love them folded over and stuffed with pesto, rocket, tomato, avocado and lots of burrata.

And I promise to share the poached quinces and ice cream dessert very soon. But until then, grab a piadina and enjoy this week’s festivities at Fiesta Friday #76 with Angie @The Novice Gardener, who is this week encouraging all of us to slow down, pause, and to appreciate and value each other.

Salad and Burrata Piadina Wraps

  • Servings: makes 6 piadina
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Salad and Burrata Piadina

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour (plus extra to dust)
  • 250ml milk
  • 100g vegetable oil (or half vegetable oil and half extra virgin olive oil, or lard or duck fat)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons pesto (your favourite kind is the best choice here)
  • 100g rocket (or any salad leaves)
  • 3 tomatoes (finely sliced)
  • 1 to 2 avocados (flesh sliced)
  • 1 burrata ball (sliced as neatly as possible)

Method

  1. Combine flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Divide the mixture into 6 balls and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out each ball on a lightly floured work surface until 2mm thick.
  4. Heat a large frying pan or chargrill pan over medium heat and cook each flatbread for 2 minutes each side or until golden.
  5. Spread each piadina with a tablespoon of pesto, top with rocket, tomato, avocado and burrata, fold over and serve.

Recipe by Matteo Carboni via the SBS Food website.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Have you noticed that there is a negative side to food trends? Where the oh so last year dish that was raved about and declared divine is discarded for the new trend, fad, ingredient or flavour?

I recently overheard someone in a café complaining how smashed avocado is so passé, and yes, they used the word passé. Okay, so you can pretty much get a version of smashed avocado from any café these days, but so what? If it tastes good and you like it, why can’t you order it? Whatever happened to each to their own? Maybe loudly opinionated food snob whingers should become passé…

Smashed Avocados

And just the other day I read an article that argued that sourdough is so overused, and that our obsession with it is a fad that’s going to pass when ‘foodies’ decided it’s time to worship a new type of bread. There was no sense that the author had done any research on sourdough in the midst of the sweeping generalisations, otherwise they may have noticed that sourdough can be traced back to the California gold rush of 1849, if not back even further… 165 years is hardly ‘temporary’…

But how are bloggers different to hoity-toity café goers and reporters who tell you what you should and shouldn’t be eating? Isn’t one of the main ‘reasons’ for blogging to get your opinions out there?

Sure.

But as a general rule, food bloggers offer their opinions in quite an unassuming way, and usually by sharing their stories. They very rarely annoyingly parade their opinions about, loudly shoving them in your face and belittling you if you don’t automatically bow down and agree…

So, if there are past food trends that you still eat, even though they seem to have fallen out of favour, then more power to you and your culinary tastes!

Now onto more important things… like smashed avocado… This recipe is the basic starting block. Get the base mix to your liking and you can build the toppings from there, from a simple garnish of fresh herbs, chilli or dukkah, to basil and lemon juice-topped cherry tomatoes, to fried or poached eggs, with or without smoked salmon.

Oh, and in case sourdough just doesn’t do it for you, or you can’t get your hands on some, rye bread is a fantastic substitute for smashed avocado toasties.

Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast

Smashed Avocados

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe but firm avocados
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 100g Danish fetta
  • 4 slices of sourdough or light rye bread
  • 1 tablespoon of dukkah

Method

  1. Slice and halve the avocados, remove the pits and scoop the avocado flesh out into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, crumble in half of the fetta and mash roughly with a fork until just combined. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bread until golden brown.
  4. When ready, scoop ¼ of the avocado mixture onto each slice of toast. Top with the remaining crumbled fetta and scatter with dukkah. Serve with lemon wedges.

Vegetarian Club Sandwiches – A Sandwich a Week

I both love and loath grocery shopping. I love the sudden burst of inspiration that comes from stumbling across a new seasonal ingredient or a new flavour of something. I loath, first and foremost, navigating around stupid people or aisle hogs. I also get very, very miffed when by chosen brand of something is out of stock or no longer carried. Most of all though, I hate having to go to the supermarket more than twice a week.

 

I always have leftover bread after the mandatory toast on weekends to mop up whatever egg dish I have created for breakfast. So there’s at least one sandwich ‘meal’ per week to make sure the rest of the loaf is used up. I think people either underestimate a really good sandwich, or they forget that the filling possibilities are almost endless and can be extremely creative.

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These vegetarian club sandwiches need to be prepared fresh as there are quite a few wet ingredients that will make the bread turn soggy, and we all know that soggy food is just wrong, don’t we?

Served with a crisp, green salad, they make a fast, satisfying and mostly healthy dinner.

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Vegetarian Club Sandwiches

Makes 2 club sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bread
  • 80g rocket leaves (approx.)
  • 4 tomatoes (thickly sliced)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and grated)
  • 1 Avocado (cut in half, pitted)
  • 4 tablespoons hummus dip (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 20g fetta (optional)

Method

  1. Toast all of the bread slices.
  2. Scoop out the avocado into a small bowl and smash it with a fork. Add the lime juice and stir to combine.
  3. Spread four slices of toast with the smashed avocado. Set aside two of the slices.
  4. On the remaining two slices, top with half the rocket, half the tomato slices and half of the grated carrot.
  5. Spread a tablespoon of hummus dip on the two undressed slices of toast, and place them, hummus side down, on top of the grated carrots.
  6. Carefully spread the remaining hummus dip on the other side of each piece of toast.
  7. Top each hummus toast with the remaining rocket, tomato slices and grated carrot. Sprinkle with crumbled fetta, if using.
  8. Finish off by adding the remaining two slices of avocado toast.

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