And so, just like that, we are back in a mini-heatwave! After the weatherman’s dire predictions that summer was over, we were all expecting a slow slide into winter. But it seems that the sun had other ideas. After a rather changeable Saturday, Sunday dawned absolutely PERFECT – just as well because we had Johanna and family round for a verrrrrrry long lunch in the garden (more on that later). No wind, clear blue skies and lots of sun. It seemed as if summer had returned. And yesterday was even hotter, so in the blink of an eye we were back in a heatwave and I was back to making cold food!
Don’t you love it when you make something that’s absolutely delicious, and then you get an extra boost of smugness because you’re accidentally enjoying something that’s really healthy and good for you? I find smugness hugely heightens my sense of taste 😉 I do have to admit that it’s not a sensation I get often, seeing as my idea of a good time runs mostly to artery-clogging creaminess. Nick, on the other hand, will get a craving for… tomatoes and will happily eat them as a snack while I’m rummaging around in the fridge for a hunk of cheese to go with my mayonnaise. You get the picture.
But here’s one of the dishes I made recently that satisfies most of my cravings without actually being bad for you. The original recipe came from my friend Alison, but in the version she gave me you use mayonnaise as a dressing. I think this is too heavy, so I substituted the wholegrain mustard vinaigrette from my carpaccio of zucchini salad. The meal as a whole (broccoli salad served with smoked mackerel fillets – pictured below with my sunny little garden as backdrop) is really good for you – and here’s why:
Broccoli – rich in vitamins, high in fibre and low in calories. A cup of cooked broccoli (apparently!)contains more calcium than a glass of milk and more Vitain C than an orange. Plus it is packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and is a great source of folic acid
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds – the former are rich in antioxidant vitamin E as well as cholesterol-lowering phytosterols, and a good source of magnesium and selenium; and the latter are a good source of manganese and magesium, as well as providing you with more phytosterols
So not only will this meal sate your appetite, it will also make you look 10 years younger and feel as strong as an ox. Now that’s what I call value for money 😉
BROCCOLI AND TOASTED SEED SALAD (for 4)
about 4 cups of broccoli florets
a large handful of mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds
4 Tbsp finely chopped red onion (optional)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
And for the dressing
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt & milled black pepper to taste
In a dry non-stick pan, toast the seeds over medium heat. Stir frequently and watch them closely as they catch easily. Steam the brocolli florets very lightly (or if, like me, you like your broccoli very crunchy , just blanch them in boiling water). In a large serving bowl, toss together the broccoli, chopped red onion and toasted seeds. Mix together all the dressing ingredients and shake well before pouring over the salad. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan and serve.
Other editions of Food for a Heatwave include: