Creamy raw broccoli and roasted nut salad

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It’s salad mayhem here. This will be the last one for the season. I promise. This raw broccoli salad is the jewel in the crown. The first time I tried it was at my turkey-carving masterclass at Copas Turkeys last year. They had put on a lunch for the visitors and this was one of the salads on offer. It’s been 6 months – and finally I got my hands on Brenda Copas’ raw broccoli salad. It’s similar to a popular American recipe that features bacon and raisins and fried lardons was an option for this dish but I left it out. If something tastes great without bacon, always best to leave it out really. I know that sounds frugal but bacon is the last thing I need these days.

It might come as a surprise from someone who talks a lot about healthy eating and vegetables, but I’ve never liked raw broccoli, I only sometimes like it steamed, so this recipe was a stretch for me. But let me tell you – it is a salad miracle that broccoli tastes so good in this salad. I think the secret is in the dressing and the marinading. You can feel free to make this salad and eat it up straight away – but if Brenda says to marinade the broccoli then I’ll marinade it because whatever it is – it works.

Sweet and creamy, this amazing dressing contains a confronting amount of sugar, but it’s so delicious it’s worth every calorie. Needless to say this is more of a celebration salad than a virtuous daily meal type of recipe.

Broccoli, Cheese and Roasted Nut Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
1 x head of broccoli
1 x cup of nuts/seeds (hazelnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds)
1 cup grated cheese
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
Dressing:
1 cup of mayonnaise
50g sugar
2 tbs cider vinegar

Method:
Roast the nuts, leave to cool.
For the dressing, mix up the mayo, vinegar and sugar.
Cut the broccoli into small florets and grate the stalk.
Toss the broccoli, cheese and onion into the dressing and leave over night.
When you’re ready to serve give it a mix, stirring in the nuts.

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Another year, another oven

After a much needed break this Christmas, I’m looking forward to a good year. I hope 2014 is treating you all well so far, for me it’s been a great start. We moved. Again. But this time it’s a little more permanent, we bought a property in a nearby village called Cookham. The move was hectic as it happened just before Christmas but we got settled in time to enjoy our first Christmas in our new home. I am still tinkering with the arrangements  in my new kitchen because it’s huge. I mean huge, for British standards anyway. It covers half of the bottom floor of the house and is home to a massive fridge and more importantly a monster Rangemaster gas and electric cooker complete with 6 burners, 2 ovens, a grill and a warming tray.

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I’ve been a bit distracted from cooking lately as I have some other projects that I’m working on, but rest assured, I have some great recipes to share in 2014. There’s some super salad ideas, vegetarian bakes, yet another scone recipe and even a little something for the local bird population and hopefully a few more reviews of some eateries in the area. Over Christmas my Festive Christmas Tart was featured in the launch issue of digital publication, Brilliant Baking Magazine. Plus the editors Andrea and Leigh have invited me back to write the forward for their February issue themed around family recipes and traditions. I’ll be sharing my bread and butter cake for that one also.

As far as music goes, I have had the new Arctic Monkeys new album AM on high rotation in the kitchen lately, with a healthy dose of QOTSA and spattering of the White Album thrown in for good measure. This winter has been incredibly mild as far as temperature goes but it has been raining almost none stop since Christmas. We have a conservatory and so it gets a bit loud when the rain gets fierce and makes it really hard to hear the telly.

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Pumpkin pie with hazelnut crust

Pumpkin pie with hazelnut crust

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Festive Christmas Tart

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Everything from the pastry to the filling to licking the beaters covered in butter, rum and sugar, this recipe is smashing! With these proportions of rum and butter – how could this tart not be decadent and delicious? I make … Continue reading