Thousand Island Slaw

When I was a kid one of the first things I ever learnt to make for myself to eat, apart from of course countless cakes and biscuits, was a salad that I recreated from Tootsies burger restaurant in Wimbledon village. They had the highly sophisticated, so I thought at the time, salad mix of red cabbage, grated carrot and most exciting of all – sweetcorn. I suppose that the influence had come from an American slaw, but to me it was revolutionary. And most exciting of all was there was a choice of four dressing. This was back in the day before the idea of “choice” was really embraced in restaurants. French Dressing, Vinaigrette, Blue Cheese or my absolute, total favourite Thousand Island Dressing. I loved the stuff! I still knock up “Thousand Island Slaw” as I have now named it using whatever I have at hand. My kids love it too!

Thousand Island Slaw

A selection of what you have to hand. I recon fresh sweetcorn would be lovely. Just boil the cobs and then cut down the husks to remove the kernels.

Pointed cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage etc. very finely shredded

Carrots, peeled and grated

Thousand Island Dressing

5 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tbsp. tomato ketchup

Juice of half a lemon

Dash of tobacco

Mix up the dressing ingredients and adjust to your taste. Dress the salad and serve.

Braised Red Cabbage

Finally, for this week, I tackled a red cabbage. I make lots of slaws with red cabbage but obviously the most traditional way of cooking is braising it. I don’t know why this method, has got so complex, incorporating such a wide array of fruit and spices from oranges to sultanas to cranberries, cinnamon to all-spice. Maybe because it is associated with Christmas dinner that everyone feels they have to out do each other with over complicating a very simple recipe. I have left it plain, so feel free to add your own twist if you wish. But what I will implore you, is do not feel the necessity to cook your cabbage for hours until it turns from red to brown. Cooking less time, not only keeps its colour but ensures it retains a little texture and more flavour too.

braised-red-cabbage-1

Braised Red Cabbage

Serves 4. Red cabbage, once cooked, can be kept warm. It re-heats well and can also be frozen.

550g red cabbage

1 large or 2 small onions, chopped small

2 large) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small

1 clove garlic, chopped very small

3 level tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ oz (15 g) butter (omit for vegans or dairy-free)

 

First discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters and remove the hard stalk.

Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely, using your sharpest knife (although you can shred it in a food processor or use a mandolin).  In a fairly large casserole, add some olive oil and sweat the onion for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the cabbage to wilt. Add the apple, sugar and vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook gently for about 25 minutes. Remove lid and check seasoning. Stir in the butter and serve.

red-cabbage

Christmas Slaw

I accidentally somehow ended up watching a Nigella Christmas special last night. I think she is an intelligent and beautiful woman but she always comes over as somewhat smug and rather revoltingly, overtly sexy for me to watch for very long. It was long enough however, to catch her version of a Christmas Slaw which I thought might be particularly fitting for all you veg box lovers, to use up some of those winter veg. This is a great dish for boxing day with cold meats and chutney. You can add what you like, but I went for a very pleasant combination of celeriac, fennel, pointed cabbage, red cabbage, carrots and pear, which is very attractively colourful as well. Almost jewelled with its striking combination of purple and orange, so bear this in mind when choosing your veg. The spicy, caramelised pecans add a seasonal note. A mandolin is best for the job of quickly shredding your veg, so if you haven’t got a good one, why not treat yourself to one this Christmas. A food processor will not produce such pretty results although I am sure it will taste just as good.

Christmas slaw 2

Christmas Slaw
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 medium fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced
¼ pointed or savoy cabbage, shredded very thin
¼ red cabbage, shredded very thin
¼ a celeriac, peeled and coarsely grated
1 pear, very finely sliced
Dressing
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one orange
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spiced pecans
120g cashew nuts, roughly chopped (or other toasted nuts)
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli flakes

Heat the oven to 160C/320F.

Mix the nuts with the syrup, the cinnamon, the chilli and a good pinch of salt. Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and tip on the nuts. Spread out and roast for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crunchy. Stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. Remove and set aside to cool.

Put all the vegetables in a large bowl.

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, orange juice, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper. Pour this over the vegetables and mix well. Add the spiced nuts, stir to combine and serve.

Fennel