Food is said to be an expression of the chef’s palate, but looking deeper, it also speaks of the chef’s tradition and creativity. Most people love their mother’s cooking because its familiarity and associated memories of their mother’s nurturing ways that evokes a sense of comfort and stability. Often a chef’s first exposure to cooking and taste is with their mother and these origins carry on through their own cooking. There is no doubt their cooking style is revised as inspiration flows through the vast range of flavours and methods on offer in an interconnected and richly culturally diverse world.
This is true of my own cooking endeavours. What’s my mother’s cooking style? We are anglo-Australian and sadly can’t claim any exotic dishes to identify with (unless Pavlova counts…although a friend recently informed me that its origin is contested by our New Zealand neighbours, so perhaps not?). This doesn’t mean I am without a cultural origin for food. My Mother’s cooking was based around good, fresh food. Mum would search for the best suppliers, the best ingredients and the best deals to bring her family the best she could. Spices weren’t used on a daily basis, but fresh and good quality produce was. I count it a blessing to have the ability to adhere to such a culture as I make this colourful gourmet garden salad.
I was contemplating all this as I considered whether to put something so ‘boring and conventional’ on the blog. I enjoy it though, so I hope you do too. Similar ingredients to my Mum’s garden salad are used but it has my own creative touches to it – a mixed dressing, the addition of pine nuts and sundried tomatoes in lieu of fresh tomatoes and the peeling of carrots and cucumbers. Simplicity, flavour and time friendly, this will be a hit at any gathering.
Go on, taste the chef’s palate and experience her origin! This is great with marinated steaks, kebabs or good ol’ bangas on the barbie.
TIME: 10 minutes
mixed lettuce leaves
2 carrots, peeled into strips
1 cucumber, peeled into strips
1 red capsicum, sliced thinly
1/2 large avocado, diced
handful of pine nuts
handful of sundried tomatoes, sliced thinly
For the Dressing:
1 lemon, juice added to taste
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp pumpkin seed oil
1. Place all ingredients (except the dressing ingredients) into a bowl and toss.
2. Pour over dressing.
3. Serve with a smile!
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