When the Welsh sun is out and proud, salads suddenly become highly relevant, essential and a playground for all things fresh and seasonal. They become a palate for vibrant colours and fresh textures. This recipe has a real taste of South Asia about it, with the chillies, sesame, ginger, orange and tamari. Certainly a wake up call for the taste buds! I love to take gorgeous British produce and jazz them up with some global flavours.
We are getting the first stages of our glorious organic veg bounty from the hardworking local growers and its truly a beautiful time of the year! Spring has bowed out to full on early summer (with the occasional patch of dramatic storms) and things are starting to leap from the ground in the most wonderful ways. Even our garden is waking up and every fertile day sees growth.
ORGANIC VEG FARMERS ARE REAL HEROS
Tyddyn Teg is back up and running with a new gang of lovely folk at the helm, they even have a facebook page this year! The farm is looking incredible which means we are going to be a busy one in the BHK, in the best possible way. Loads of fresh and lovely local produce (you can probably tell we’re a bit excited about this!!!) The farm is 10 acres and a huge under taking. These guys are real hero’s, nothing to do with money and profit and all to do with integrity, promoting organic farming practices and ensuring folk around here have healthy affordable food.
John and Pippa have been growing organic veggies near Bethel for many years and have taken a well earned step back, it has taken six young people to replace them! We’ll be showcasing their beautiful produce throughout the year.
BOK CHOI LOVES WALES!
Succulent Bok Choi is something that thrives in poly tunnels up here and we use a lot of it at Trigonos and in the BHK. Trigonos have many different varities growing at the minute. My favourite is the crunchy, peppery, purple Mizuna Leaf (surely a close relative?!) a real surprise package in salads and stir fries. Does anyone really, truthfully, know the real difference between bok and pak? It’s a size thing no? I feel that flavour and texture wise, there is very little between the two. They sound so exotic and yet thrive here in North Wales, as does our brassica buddy Mr Kohlrabi with his alien tendrils. Its basically a turnip/ cabbage crossed with an extra terrestrial space craft. Sometimes called a German Turnip. We love them grated in slaws, roasted whole or just chopped simply into a salad.
THE WANDERERS RETURN
Jane and I’s wandering summer got off to a flying start in Durham and Newcastle this weekend. We both made talks at the brilliant Vegan Festival Newcastle which took place in the lovely, historical Assembly Rooms. We met loads of inspiring people, vegans and non-vegans alike, and really enjoyed our first speaking engagements. Afterwards we enjoyed a cool drink high above the River Tyne, perched in the Baltic Art Gallery Restaurant. Newcastle looked glorious with the setting sun and glittering river, even the roaring gangs of stag-do’s seemed to mellow out as the light became richer.
On Sunday we whizzed over to beautiful Durham (where my family are all from) and spent a morning at Flat White Cafe with the ace Patrick and his gang of merry baristas. Its such a buzzy little place, tucked in a nook, packed with style and surely the coolest place to enjoy a coffee in the North East of England. You get a proper mug of intense Americano!
So its been a weekend of meeting kindred spirits and plenty of celebrating so returning to the little Beach House on the hill seemed like a very peaceful, healthy proposition indeed. This salad certainly brightened things up, its insanely nutritious and fresh. We are looking forward to more food and chat-based adventures this summer mixed in with our usual raw food month (probably in September this year). This salad gave us a flavour of what is to come……(minus the toasty sesames!)
The Bits – For 2
1 large head of Bok Choi (leaves trimmed from the heart)
1 handful red cabbage (finely diced)
1 courgette (cut into long thin slices or thin ribbons using with a French peeler)
1 orange (cut into segments, without pith preferable)
1/2 small red chilli (thinly sliced)
1 tbs fine capers
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
2 tbs fresh coriander (finely chopped)
Ginger and Orange Dressing
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs orange juice
2 teas cider vinegar
1/2 teas tamari
1/4 teas finely grated ginger
1/2 teas agave syrup
1/4 teas orange zest
Peel the pith off your orange with a sharp knife, following the shape of the fruit, to leave very little pith. Then, holding the orange in one hand, gently cutting each segment out, using a sawing motion, just inside the pith of each segment. When you are finished, squeeze out the juice from the left over orange piece to make your dressing.
In a nice shallow bowl or large plate, scatter your bok choi and then courgette ribbons/ slices and orange. Sprinkle over the red cabbage, chillies, capers and finally the coriander and sesame seeds.
Whisk up the dressing in a small bowl and drizzle over the salad.
This crunchy number makes for a very colourful side dish and just by adding a little chopped firm tofu or a handful of nuts and serving with some bread, a brilliant summery main course. Adding the tofu and nuts are an obvious protein addition to most plant-based dishes, but there are so many ways of getting good, healthy, plant protein onto our plates:
We have oodles of fresh basil at the minute and feel that a couple of handfuls of basil leaves would be quite sensational (and probably highly excessive in a good way!)
Sesame seeds have a higher calcium content than milk! In fact, they are a great source of so much! Read more nutritional info here.
Random little fact, Myanmar is the top producer of sesame seeds in the world.