Category Archives: Salads

* Grow Your Own *


Grow Your OwnSeriously, how good is it to grow your own? Pretty damn good, I say. As urban dwellers, we’ve looked for innovative ways to grow our own veggies and herbs with the minimal space we have. We live super central, literally a stone’s throw away from the Rocktagon, the heart of the city. The trade off for having exceptionally easy access to like, everything, is having no backyard. We do, however, have a north-facing patio-cum-rock/shell garden-cum-jasmine grove, which is probably one of the hottest places in town during summer. Sheltered by the surrounding buildings, plants and flowers thrive, elderflower climbs out from in between the buildings (after many years of discarding the heads during elderflower fizz season) and lizards have been known to bask in the sunlight.

I’m very, very lucky to have an überpractical Beau in my life who “just whips things up”. He built 6 large planter boxes which house our greens, herbs and general miscellaneous veggies. They’re strategically placed behind the furniture and line the patio to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor area that perfectly utilises the space (am I starting to sound like Grand Designs’ Kevin MccLoud, or what?) This also makes it oh so convenient for when you want to add something a bit different to your drink (gin and tonic through a spring onion straw, anyone? Seriously – don’t knock it till you try it.)

Over the years we’ve refined what we’ve grown after a little trial and error, as other gardeners will be all too familiar with. We grow perpetual spinach all year round, as well as oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, mint and more mint (for mojitos, of course). In years gone by, we’ve grown bok choy, onions, tomatoes, rocket and chillies. Just whatever tosses your salad, really, and as you see with our wee patch, you don’t have to have a huge amount of space to reap many an earthly delight. Whatever space you have, whether considerable, small or teensy, it’s just so damn good to grow your own.

What to plant now (in New Zealand)

Asparagus, basil, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celeriac, chicory, chili, chives, climbing beans, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, endive, globe artichokes, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, okra, oregano, parsley, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, radish, rocket, silver beet, squash, sunflower, sweet corn, tomato, turnip, watermelon and zucchini.

Now come on Doctor Green Thumb, get planting!

* Goat Cheese, Figs and Walnuts with Drizzled Honey *


Greetings from Woolpit in Suffolk, England! We’ve recently arrived here after a ten day adventure in Norway, where we had a memorable time with wonderful friends, old and new.  Norway is such a picturesque country, the people are gracious and the food is superb.  I’m feeling very inspired about the local delicacies that I’ve been devouring in Norway and here in England and I’m super excited about getting back into my own kitchen in Dunedin, New Zealand and concocting some deliciousness. I’ve been dreaming about being reunited with my food processor and making all of the dishes I’ve not been able to make on this trip without it. Living in many different abodes over the past three months has really made me appreciate exactly how good my kitchen is back home and what is essential, which has consequently been a good exercise in being truly grateful for all that I have, bless. We have another week here in the Northern Hemisphere and I’m savoring the fresh autumnal produce before I get to enjoy the spring delights of home. So much to look forward to – hurray!

The air has been feeling very autumnal here in Scandinavia and England. Leaves are fluttering about the paths and the evenings are fresh, as the summer dream is over for another year. As saddening as it may be that the warmth of the sun has dissipated, autumn brings with it an array of fresh fruit and vegetables which are very dear to many. Figs are one of my absolute favorites and have arrived at the markets, which makes me very, very happy. Ecstatic even.

Figs are the shining jewel in the autumnal crown. A fruit like no other, their taste and texture is very unique. As you take a bite, the chewiness of the skin, the crunchy popping of the seeds, the luscious flesh and the saccharine sweetness exude one great whack of sensory indulgence. In addition to tasting amazing, figs also get the Super Foodie tick of approval as their health benefits are many. Figs are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which assists in keeping you full for longer, which is good news if you are trying to lose weight especially as they are low in calories. The high fibre content in figs is also beneficial in keeping your bowels in tip-top shape and works wonders in relieving constipation. Figs are a good source of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure and also calcium, which assists with increasing and maintaining bone density. Figs also contain magnesium, copper, iron and manganese for an additional dose of goodness.

When purchasing figs, select those with a deep colour and which feel plump yet tender and ensure that there is no bruising.  As figs are highly perishable, keep refrigerated, wash right before you are about to serve and eat within two days of purchasing to ensure they are at their absolute best.

I love to eat figs simply on their own or with some Greek yoghurt, honey and nuts. However, the ultimate figgin’ combination is this one – a fragrant goat cheese (or chevre, as it is called in some places), the freshest, juiciest figs that you can find at your local market, walnuts and nectarous honey. Food of the gods, I say.

Goats Cheese, Figs and Walnuts with Drizzled Honey

200 grams of ripened goats cheese

4 large figs, quartered with stalks removed

16 walnut halves

Liquid honey, preferably raw

Fresh herbs to garnish

Cracked pepper

On four plates, drizzle a small portion of honey in the middle of each of the plates.  Cut the goat cheese into four slices (50 grams per person) and place on the drizzled honey. Arrange the quartered figs and walnut halves on the plate.  Drizzle more honey on top of the goat cheese, garnish with fresh herbs and season with cracked pepper.

Serve immediately. Vel bekomme!

* Watermelon, Halloumi and Rocket Salad with Tamari Toasted Pepitas *


I feel pretty damn lucky to be able to experience the best of the summer seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and really do make the most of the summer provisions. Currently at the markets, nectarines, plums, peaches, melons, berries and avocados are all in abundance, so I’m happily concocting delightfully fruity combinations like this summery salad to share with you here in the warmer climes.  For those in the deep south, summer is just around the corner, so sit tight and watermelons will soon show their bright faces again.

Watermelons are peaking right now here in beautiful Berlin – juicy, sweet and oh-so-lecker, I just can’t get enough.  Watermelon really is the bees knees.  It is a super satisfying fruit which quenches thirst, the perfect fodder for cruising down the canal in a blowup rowboat on a bright, sunny day.  It is an excellent source of vitamin C, which assists the body in fighting infection (a bonus if you happen to fall in the canal).  It is also especially good for men as it has a generous dose of lycopene, a cartenoid which not only assists in keeping the prostate gland in tip-top shape, it is also beneficial to cardiovascular health.

As you may know, I’m staying in Neukölln, a highly eclectic area of Berlin with an array of cultural diversity and naturally, all of the foodie delights that come with it.  In actual fact, it seems that anywhere in Berlin you can’t swing a shopping basket without hitting a Middle Eastern kebab shop, Greek restaurant or Turkish supermarket. If I’m eating out, one of my favorite dishes has to be anything with fried halloumi, whether in a kebab with felafel or as the pièce de résistance atop of a salad.  Fried halloumi is something of a revelation for me.  I’ve only recently discovered just how easy it is to cook this “squeeky cheese” and how it is the perfect accompaniment to so many things, as the salty richness lends itself perfectly to the sweetness of fruit and sweeter vegetables like capsicum, tomato and beetroot.  It also provides a hearty dose of calcium which is fundamental to bone development, plus protein which is good for rebuilding muscle after a strenuous day rowing. Due to the robust texture and strong flavor of Halloumi, a little really does go a long way, so it’s possible to cut down on the high fat content and earn extra health points by reducing calories from fat where possible.

So, celebrate the last of the summer sun by grabbing your paddles and heading out on the canal for an afternoon of swan spotting whilst devouring this lush salad.

Watermelon, Halloumi and Mint Salad with Tamari Toasted Pepitas

200 – 250 grams of Halloumi

Olive oil for frying and drizzling

1/4 of a cup of pumpkin seeds

A tablespoon of tamari

1 kg of the brightest watermelon you can lay your hands on

A handful of mint leaves, plus extra for garnishing

A large bunch of rocket

The juice of half a lemon

Ground Himalayan rock salt and cracked pepper to taste

Heat a frying pan to a medium temperature and toast the pepitas until lightly browned, moving them around the pan often.  Coat the pepitas in tamari, remove from the heat and transfer to another dish to cool.

Wash and dry the pan and place back on the heat.  Add a good glug of  olive oil to the pan and allow to heat.  Cut the halloumi into small slices (about 1/2 cm thick) and place in the pan.  Fry until golden brown and flip over to brown the other side.  Remove the rind of the watermelon, cut into rustic pieces and remove the seeds where possible.

Arrange the rocket, mint, watermelon and halloumi onto a large serving plate or smaller individual plates.  Mix the lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil and drizzle over the salad.  Sprinkle with tamari toasted pepitas and season with Himalayan rock salt and pepper. Serve immediately while the halloumi is still warm.  Guten Appetit, meine Lieblings!

Serves 4


* Sprouted Quinoa, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad (Raw) *


Happy World Raw Food Day!

Today is a celebration of raw food here, there and everywhere.  World Raw Food Day, or Weltrohkosttag as it is called here in Germany, is about inspiring people to eat more raw and gather together for a raw food picnic, potluck or elaborate feast.  Here in Berlin, there are many events happening überall; a massive potluck in Alexanderplatz, virtual potlucks online, picnics in random parks and raw food demonstration classes (un-cooking classes, if you will) by leaders in the raw food industry.

I’m a huge advocate of eating a mainly plant-based diet, which is high in fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and super foods and I feel pretty, pretty good.  I aim to eat a bright rainbow of goodness every day and make an effort to eat raw where possible.  By adopting a plant-based diet, you are supporting your overall health and well being by accessing the nutrients you need to feel fighting fit and fabulous.  In keeping food raw, you are retaining those nutrients that may be lost during the cooking process, as well as the vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes that can also deplete.  By making the decision to keep some of your food raw, you will be doing your body some serious good.

A very dear friend of mine, Kauia, is also a big fan of raw foods and has been most informative and inspiring.  You can check out her blog for some further raw power inspiration.

This salad is the epitome of a 100% raw food celebration.  The sprouted quinoa is a shining example of pure, healthy goodness as through the sprouting process the natural enzymes are activated, it is easier to digest and the vitamin content is boosted.  In this salad there are some interesting flavors and textures going on, with the creamy avocado contrasting beautifully with the sprouted quinoa and pistachio, whilst the ruby-red jewels of the pomegranate offer a delightful burst of tart flavor.  The crunchy snow peas and spring onions along with the fragrant mint and parsley also give a hearty dose of fresh. Delectable, satisfying and seriously good for you.

Sprouted Quinoa, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad

1 cup of sprouted quinoa

1 1/2 cups of warm water

A spring onion, finely sliced

2 tomatoes, diced

A red capsicum, diced

1 cup of snow peas, diagonally chopped

An avocado

A pomegranate

1/4 of a cup of pistachios

A bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

A bunch of fresh mint, chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnishing


The juice and finely grated zest of a lemon

A clove of garlic

3 tablespoons of cold-pressed olive oil

1/4 of a cup of orange juice

A teaspoon of raw honey or agave

1/2 a teaspoon of Himalayan rock salt

Pepper to taste

Soak the sprouted quinoa in warm water for about an hour until softened.  Drain off any excess water by passing through a very fine mesh sieve and then place in a large serving bowl. Deseed the pomegranate by cutting it in half and loosening up the flesh and seeds. Over a wide bowl, whack the pomegranate with a wooden spoon repeatedly until all of the seeds are in the bowl.  Repeat with the other half and remove the flesh that may have also been collected.  In a jar, add all of the dressing ingredients and shake well.  Add all of the remaining ingredients into the serving bowl and mix well with the dressing.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes for the flavors to develop.  Garnish with sprigs of mint and share the raw food love with your nearest and dearest, whilst informing them of why eating more raw is a beautiful thing.

* Sprouted Quinoa is available in all good health food stores or you can have a crack at sprouting it yourself.

* Beetroot, Feta and Mint Salad with Orange and Tahini Dressing *


Beetroot, Feta and Mint Salad with Orange and Tahini Dressing

I feel so virtuous when I eat beetroot as it is surely one of the healthiest foods out in town.  These brightly coloured wee gems scream vitality and antioxidant goodness.  In fact, beetroot gets its brilliant brightness from Betacyanin, a pigment which doubles as an antioxidant.  Research has also shown that beetroot can help reduce blood pressure and associated risks such as heart attacks and strokes.  This is due to their high concentration of nitrates, which produce a gas called nitric oxide in the blood, in turn widening the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure – what a star!  Beetroot is also great if you’re making babies – it contains folic acid, which is essential for normal tissue growth and is crucial to the development of a baby’s spinal cord.  Eating beetroot during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida. Beetroot also contains iron so is a winner for those suffering from fatigue during pregnancy.

This rustic salad tastes delicious, looks beautiful and is a textural sensation.  The sweetness of the beetroot contrasts brilliantly with the creaminess of the feta, and the tang of the orange and zing of the mint give the salad a delightful freshness.  Sometimes I mix it up and add walnuts to the salad for an interesting twist.  Recently I’ve also been using salt-reduced feta which has proven to be far superior to normal feta, which usually has a ridiculously high salt content in it  – and certainly not the pink Himalayan rock salt which I love so dearly.  Feel free to use any feta you please – (goat, sheep, cow) however, goat’s feta does work especially well with the beetroot.  This dish is super easy to prepare and is sure to release your Inner Domestic God(dess).

7 – 8 small beetroots (about 500 grams)

A sprinkle of Himalayan rock salt

A tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

100 grams of feta (preferably salt-reduced)

A handful of walnuts (optional)

A handful of mint, finely chopped plus a sprig for garnishing



2 tablespoons of tahini

Finely grated zest and juice of an orange

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/2 a teaspoon of Himalayan rock salt

1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil


Heat oven to 190°C.  Scrub the beetroot until they are clean and shiny.  Trim off the ends and cut beetroot length ways into  segments, about 1 – 2cm thick.  Place in a roasting dish and toss with extra-virgin olive oil and Himalayan rock salt.  Roast for 40-50 minutes, turning beetroot a couple of times, until beetroot have softened and caramelised.  Allow to cool.

Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a jar, pop on the lid and shake, shake, shake.

Finely slice or shave the feta length ways into pieces.

Toss the beetroot and chopped mint (plus walnuts if you fancy) with the dressing.  Arrange in a serving dish with the feta and garnish with mint.  Salute!