First-year cold fare

22 September 2017

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THIS is the time of year when students begin their university life: try this delicious Spinach salad, with a blackberry-garlic dressing, to beat freshers’ flu. The combination of sweet and salt is delicious with bitter leaves.

a bowl of frisée or baby spinach
4-8 rashers of streaky bacon
220g (8 oz) blackberries
190ml (6 fl. oz) olive oil
100ml (3 fl. oz) lemon juice
honey, to taste
1 large clove of garlic
small teaspoon mustard powder
freshly ground salt and pepper
blackberries, pitted black olives, and grilled pine nuts to garnish
 

Grill the bacon and cut it into squares. Scatter the bacon on top of the spinach in a salad bowl. Put the blackberries in a blender, and, if you are cooking for people with older teeth, pass them through a sieve. Add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing, check­ing the sweet­ness, and seasoning as you go.

Toss the salad well in the dres­s­ing, and serve at once. Garnish with a few blackberries, pitted black olives, and grilled pine nuts.

With fruit abundant, try using crisp dessert apples — Worces­­ters for colour — for an Apple salad that uses fennel rather than celery.

1 apple
1 fennel bulb
1 bowl of salad greens
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch of dry mustard
a teaspoon of honey
salt and black pepper
 

Scrub and zest the orange. Make the dressing first, using the orange juice, and pour it into a salad bowl. Slice the fennel bulb very thinly, reserving some of the feathery fronds for a garnish. Peel the apple, core it, and slice it thinly. Toss the slices immed­iately in the dressing and add the fennel slices and salad greens. Gar­nish with the orange zest and a little fennel frond.

The standard ways of serving pears as a savoury is with either walnuts, ginger, or blue cheese. Try them in a Pear and rocket salad.


a bowl of rocket leaves
4 well-flavoured pears
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
tablespoon cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
a pinch of English mustard
honey
curls of Parmesan cheese
nasturtium petals

Peel, core, and slice the pears thinly. Melt some butter on a baking sheet and toss the pear slices in the butter; drizzle a little honey over them, and grill them for a few minutes. Toast the pine nuts. Add the pears to the rocket. Combine the oil, vinegar, garlic (crush it first if you aren’t putting it in a blender), and mustard. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and honey.

Toss the salad well in the dressing and scatter the pine nuts on top, with some shavings of parmesan and a few nasturtium petals.

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