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  • jdettmann

My Kitchen’s Adequate: Or How I Resisted The Title ‘Salad Days’

Last night H and I watched part of a television program called My Kitchen Rules. You probably know all about it. You probably are in touch and in the know. We were only watching the telly because we were waiting for an episode of Modern Family to download from iTunes. Why watch it for free-to-air tv on Sunday when you can pay for it a few days later and watch it on a laptop?

Anyway, My Kitchen Rules is a cooking competition, and last night the competitors each had to choose a dish and cook it in ninety minutes. That was their ‘challenge’. H turned to me and said, ‘What would you make in ninety minutes?’

I thought for a moment.

‘I’d have a one-hour nap, watch a twenty-eight-minute British comedy on iView, then make a cheese omelette in the remaining two minutes, ‘ I said.

‘Yeah,’ said H. ‘That would be a good use of the time.’

Because seriously, ninety minutes to cook ONE dish? Don’t make me laugh.

The salad pictured above could take ninety minutes to make, if you had really appalling knife skills, or maybe if you had no knife, but even then you’d be struggling to drag it out. It’s based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it is my vegetable obsession of the week. I haven’t really got a name for it. All the names I have come up with are achingly naff, like Autumn Crunch Salad or Cheesy Nutty Fall Slaw. Ew. I’ll stop. It doesn’t need a name. It just needs a place in your heart and your lunch.

The core ingredients are:

Shredded red cabbage

Shredded raddichio or witlof

Coarsely grated carrot

Diced green apple

Diced or crumbled cheese: I’ve used gorgonzola, which gets all up in your face, but I’m not sure I don’t prefer good old diced  vintage cheddar. (Vintage as in aged, not as in a posh way of saying second-hand).

Roughly chopped walnuts

The non-core ingredients are:

Diced radishes

Shredded baby spinach

The quantities depend on how much salad you want to eat. When I want salad, which is less often than I want pasta but more often than I want a sandwich, I want to eat a lot of salad and I like it how I like my friends — tough and bitter — so I use a lot of cabbage and witlof, a medium amount of radish, apple and carrot, and a sparing amount of cheese and nuts. You are old enough to make your own decisions about whether it should be 8 parts veg to 1 part cheese and nuts, or 8 parts cheese with a sprinkling of vegetables and nuts. I’ll just say that you may have questions in your soul about whether the last variation is still a salad.

Dressing: lemon, olive oil and dijon mustard, salt and pepper. I like it lemony. You might prefer it oilier.

Mix it all together and eat it. I tend it eat it out of the large mixing bowl because it is delicious and that saves time and washing up. I hope you agree.

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