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Colour and crunch

19 September 2014

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THE gift of a weighty medicine-ball of a home-grown red cabbage from Tim and Jenny makes a welcome change from the long salad days of Webbs Wonderful. If you can find such a wonder cabbage, try some of these Salads.

Cooked red cabbage has its points, but the colour can turn unappealingly inky. Cook it very conservatively in a little olive oil, and season with chopped onion and caraway seeds, or use it for the second recipe below. Either way, only make as much as you will eat at a time: it should be eaten very fresh.

Raw cabbage needs oil and seasonings and slicing very finely. It is one of the best salads of all: it is full of personality. Adding cheese or bacon or anchovies makes it into a simple one-dish lunch or supper.

Jenny's salad is the simplest:

red cabbage, finely chopped
carrot, grated
a handful of walnuts
blue cheese, crumbled
seasoning, oil and vinegar

George likes bacon and Parmesan in his salad (added to just about anything edible):

red cabbage, finely chopped
a few bacon rashers
a handful of raisins or sultanas
a handful of Parmesan shavings
a handful of small cubes of  Cheddar
cider vinegar
honey

Cook the chopped cabbage very briefly in a little water, add the sultanas or raisins to plump them, and drain and season with a little cider vinegar and honey, to taste. Fry the bacon, and chop it small. Chop the Cheddar, and make some Parmesan curls on the grater, or with a cheese slice. Mix the cheese and bacon with the cabbage, and serve with good bread.

And here are two salads that bring flavour and dazzling colour to the palates of those suffering from freshers' flu. The first adds the sweetness and colour of beetroot and oranges to the rich bitterness of walnuts, and the second is another meal-in-one, with seeds, to eat with bread. Balance the salad as you like, but I tend to mix one part cabbage equally with all the rest of the ingredients. For the first:

red cabbage
dessert apples, cubed or sliced
cooked beetroot, peeled and cubed
oranges, peeled and chopped

Dressing:
mix equal parts of oil, vinegar,  and honey, and seasoning

For the second:

red cabbage, shredded finely
apples, chopped
celery, sliced
radishes, sliced
carrots, coarsely grated
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh ginger, very finely grated
a handful or two of mixed seeds and pine nuts

Dressing:

olive oil, lemon juice, and honey,
with seasoning to taste

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