Have I mentioned I love alliteration?
We're in the depth of winter. The solstice is just around the corner and we'll begin to see the other side of the darkness. In these chilly months, it's easy to dig into the stodge until your pants are more than a little snug. Welcome to Muffintoptown: population 2.
After two very long days at work, I sprinted home a little early on my bike. My ride is leisurely. It gives me the chance to process my day, wind down and plan my dinner in my head. Some days I'm thinking of all the things I should have said to that smart-ass over the phone, others I'm laughing at Andrew and Kaye grinding behind a director's back. By the time I jump off the bike, I'm hungry, motivated and giggling about dance moves.
Root vegetables are also at their peak at the moment. Potatoes are gorgeous (more tomorrow), pumpkin is getting sweeter and carrots are crunchy and glorious. Have you ever known someone to get so sexy-like about veggies?
But I'm looking for something to contrast all the roasted root vegetables goodness. I'm craving freshness: crunch that doesn't come from oil and heat. A zingy dressing, some green leaves and crunch from some toasted nuts.
This might also be the quickest salad ever made. Toast some almonds, whip up a quick mustard dressing in a jar and peel some veggies. Pile it all in a bowl and Bob's your proverbial.
This is the salad to relieve the stodge-blues. There is a limit to the amount of soft-cooked starch a woman can eat (and it's normally 600 calories more than the recommended daily allowance). Winter is a bit of a comfort food trap, and I'm like Coyote falling for Roadrunner's wiley ways. Salad is my salvation, my TNT to his painted-on tunnel.
1/2 red capsicum
handful of parsley leaves
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp currants
3 tbsp flaked almonds
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Peel and trim the carrots. Peel lengths from the carrot until you reach the core - it might be hard to peel around it - just get as much as you can without taking your fingers with it.
Trim the capsicum of the white ribs inside the vegetable. Peel lengths of the capsicum into a bowl with the strips of carrot. Wash and roughly chop the parsley and add to the salad along with the currants. Toast the almonds until golden brown and add to the bowl.
To make the dressing, mix the mustard, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a jar. Pour over the salad to coat evenly. Serve with a piece of grilled steak and some stodge (kidding).