It's January 15th already (how?!) and the start to this year feels so charged with optimism, ideas and positivity. I don't do New Year's resolutions but am very much trying to establish better habits for a healthier body and mind. For me this means getting out every day, (as early as I can to walk our paws), eating well and moving better. The mornings are already getting lighter and I can't wait for Spring. On the subject of eating better I've shared a recipe for a tasty winter salad, packed full of flavours and crunch, reflecting that you don't need the abundance of Summer veg to produce a fresh and tasty lunch.
Firstly this is a great way to use up what you have and the abundance of red cabbage at this time of year, so use as a guide and really just adapt to your own preferences. It's so full of flavours and textures.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
1 pack of smoked streaky bacon (optional) - omit for veggies
half a block of feta or blue cheese crumbled (125g or more if omitting the bacon)
1 small red onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced into half-moons
half a small red cabbage, leaves washed and shredded finely
1 firm parsnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks
A couple of good handfuls of soft leaves (lambs lettuce is lovely but spinach or another soft leafy green of your choice would work well; if you like punchy go for raddicchio or something more bitter)
1 or 2 firm but ripe pears
dijon or wholegrain mustard
brown sugar or a teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper
fresh herbs like parsley always a good addition but only if you have them in
Begin by putting your red onion slices into about 3 tablespoons of wine vinegar to take the rawness out.
Heat a frying pan with a scant amount of oil and when hot, fry off your streaky bacon for around 5 mins on each side until crispy, and the fat has rendered off. It may take a little longer. Remove from the pan; place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Put to one side.
In a bowl assemble the cabbage, parsnip, onion, leaves and chopped parsley if using. When you drain the red onion, retain the vinegar as it will form the basis of your dressing.
Make your dressing by whisking together the cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of mustard, the sugar or honey and salt and pepper. I always taste at this point to see if the balance is right.
Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss well together.
Crumble over the feta or blue cheese and then top with the bacon. Nice served with some good bread and butter.
The past week has been full of activity at the cafe; clearing the space for our builder to bring some much needed tlc to our old building. We've even been blessed with some beautiful blue skies and clear weather. We've painted paint swatches, started to declutter (always a good thing) and I've been busy at home testing new bakes too.
In search of the perfect cookie; next one to test is a chocolate chip plant based cookie. We use 2 types of Callebaut Dark chocolate which are both vegan-friendly, and as with all our bakes the flavour & texture is the thing!
Your feedback to the lemon meringue pie was good but I knew we could make it better so I'm tweaking again; keeping the sharp citrus curd filling but swapping the pastry for a sweet shortcrust and my favourite Nigella recipe for the meringue topping. It never lets me down. Look out for it in February when we re-open.
We're also planning for the warmer and busier months ahead and would love some feedback on our opening hours - we will be open Friday through Tuesday again in February 10-3 but wonder if you would prefer earlier opening and later closing at weekends in the Winter? Take our poll below. In the meantime as we're flat out with cafe planning & revamping, we wish you all a gentle January going at the pace you choose, and hopefully with more of these bright crisp days ahead.