I’ve taken up a new hobby. Foraging. But don’t think you have to look too far. All I had to do was venture into the back garden after a decent fall of rain to discover big leafy greens with a new lease of life and vibrant colour, and succulent fruit hanging from the tree.
The herb garden I thought had been decimated by the startling heat from the sun was flourishing and overflowing the old wooden rail sleepers that it had once been contained in; finding a remarkable boost of growth that I had long given up on. I found more than I had bargained for; figs and pomegranates, goji berries, blueberries and strawberries, lemons and limes, eggplant, celery and chillies, coriander, basil, parsley, sage, mint, rosemary and chives.
After filling my basket to the brim, I carried my fragile and deliciously scented load into the kitchen. I love using fresh herbs, but when I have them coming out of my ears I dry them. It’s not uncommon to find bunches of rosemary or bags of chilli hanging from door handles and hat stands. Yes even the fan, until an unsuspecting member of the household turns it on, only to be shrouded in whatever goodies I’ve placed up there!
What to do with all these greens? Make a salad of course! There’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day, than a refreshingly chilled leafy green salad to accompany a Sunday barbeque.
First step is to have all the ingredients crisp and chilled. Combine the leaves of rocket, witlof and iceberg lettuce, add celery and then toss in a mixture of the herbs mainly parsley, chives, mint and coriander. Maybe at this point in time you could add avocado or feta cheese.
I love chilli, so the dressing is where I normally heat things up a bit. Try a combination using favourites like garlic, mustard, lemon, white wine vinegar, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The rewarding part about making your own dressing is that you can season it to your own tastebuds.
What’s your favourite salad dressing? Or are you the kind of person that makes delicious concoctions on the run and then wishes forever more that you wrote them down!
Enjoy your salads - Louise
Louise FitzRoy – author of ‘From Paddock to Plate’ and ABC (Australia) radio journalist writes a fortnightly blog for LMS - a journey through the seasons with salad ingredients, old traditions and popular, exotic or unusual vegetables.
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