A Festive Salad
Are you a lover or hater of these small green “mini cabbages”? I have to admit that it’s been a gradual process for me… But when I discovered some years ago an incredibly simple way to eat them, I became a convert. And as I am typing this, it reminds me of how many different foods and new additions I have made to my eating repertoire over the past few years. And since the message that keeps coming up again and again when it comes to food and health is variety, it is important that we check out some new (or at least new to us) foods. It’s just way too easy to get stuck in food ruts!
I often tell my clients who are resistant to trying new foods and flavours that it takes about 6-8 times before our tastebuds have adapted and changed. So when you are trying something new it’s important to: A. Start the process with an open mind and B. Think of your tastebuds like a muscle that needs a work out.
And don’t just get stuck on trying one way to have a food either. These days with the internet all you have to do is Google the food or ingredient you want to test out and you’ll have hundred of ideas and recipes to try out. To be honest that’s often how I find ways to try out a new and exciting food I’ve come across.
Since I’m more or less to confessing many (all??) my inspiration secrets, I’ll let you in on another one. Instagram! Since joining the social media platform a few years ago, it has given me endless inspiration, especially when it comes to being on the lookout for new foods as well as becoming more aware of eating seasonally. Suppose it only goes to show the power of the influence of social media, right?
This salad has been on my mind for sometime and finally I managed to bring all the ingredients together at the same time and give it a go. We’ve been blessed in my house with endless gifts of apples and this salad is one of several ways I’ve been using them up.
When I bought the Brussels sprouts I actually bought them on the stem. Every Saturday morning there’s two “young fellas” selling fresh vegetables by the roadside near where I work, and the other week when I drove past I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, these sprouts on the stem. As the food nerd I am, I actually stopped my car, turned around and went back to buy some. At €2 for the whole stem it was quiet the steal. Gotta’ love the entrepreneurial youth in the Irish countryside. Win-win.
A Festive Winter Salad
Approx. 10 Brussels Sprouts – peeled and halved
Approx. 10 chestnuts
1 medium sized apple – thinly sliced
Seeds from ¼ pomegranate
Juice of ½ lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & Black pepper to season
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C. Cut a slit or a cross on the pointy end of the chestnuts. Make sure to do all of them, just to make sure you won’t end up with any accidental explosions…
Place the chestnuts on an oven tray and bake for 35 min. Set aside to cool a little before you peel off the inner and other skin. Then chop the peeled chestnuts roughly.
**This is the easiest way I have found to remove the seeds from pomegranates, without splashing myself and the entire kitchen in the process… Cut the fruit in half and then into quarters. Gently break the quarter pieces apart and peel out the seeds. Place all the seeds in a glass jar and store in the fridge.
Peel off any outside leaves that are discoloured and halve the sprouts.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan. The trick here (as taught by my chef friend) is to heat the pan first, then when the pan is hot add the oil and quickly add the sprouts. Give them a quick stirfry and as soon as they are have gone a little golden on the cut side and the green colour has intensified, remove from the heat.
Place the warm Brussels sprout in a large bowl, squeeze some lemon juice on top, season with sea salt and black pepper and then add the chopped chestnuts, sliced apple and pomegranate seeds.
Serve the salad warm.
** Side note, if you can’t get chestnuts you can serve it with walnuts or toasted hazelnuts instead.