Here’s to a New Year like this Strawberry Salad!

Wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR, my friends!

I am welcoming in the new year with this scrumptious Strawberry Salad that embodies all I am wishing for: a Healthy, Fresh start filled with Sweet moments, Vibrant experiences and new Gastronomic DelightsSONY DSC

Without a doubt this has become my favourite salads of all time! Ripe sweet strawberries and cherry tomatoes, cool crunchy cucumber and fragrant basil with a tart balsamic reduction is simply heaven on a plate!

Ingredients

  • 6 ripe strawberries, halved
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Approximately 6cm cucumber, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Approximately 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • Light olive oil
  1. To make the balsamic reduction, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan and turn down to a simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Arrange strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber and basil on a plate. Drizzle over the balsamic reduction ans olive oil. Season well with salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

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Honey Balsamic Buttercup Skins

Having scooped out all of the flavoursome chicken and prawn stuffing and tender flesh of my Surf and Turf Buttercup, I was left with the green thin- skinned shell of the squash. Thinking that it would be tough and unpleasant to eat, I was just about to throw it into the bin when out of curiosity, I broke of a small piece for a taste…To my surprise, it was soft yet still retaining a slight pleasant crunch!

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Drawing from the inspiration of crispy potato skins, I created these delightful and healthy baked buttercup skins brushed with a tangy-sweet glaze of honey and balsamic vinegar, topped with nutty sesame seeds

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Did you know that the skin of the buttercup has 22% more calcium than the same weight if milk and compares with lean red meat as a good source of iron? From now on I will never throw out this delicious and nutritious part the vegetable again!

Take One: Lemony slow-cooked Squid in White Wine and Balsamic

Fresh squid is not always available at the fishmonger in my area, so when I saw them for sale today I quickly snapped it up and set out to create a dish that is simple to showcase its sweet, sweet flavour of the sea.

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I decided on an Italian theme, using balsamic vinegar, white wine, lemon and honey forming the base of the braising liquid. Sauteed shallots, garlic and carrots gave it a depth of flavour, along with a few bay leaves and thyme. This was slow-cooked in the oven for an hour, filling the kitchen with its delicious aroma. The squid was tender; the vegetables were meltingly soft and full of flavour. The broth was delicious spooned over rice.

For my first attempt, the results were good but the squid released a lot of juices resulting in a thin broth that would benefit from further reduction. I was also surprised to find that the dish lacked a certain umami, even though I used quite a large-sized squid! On my next attempt, I will be sure to add in some mussels/clams and perhaps some fresh tomatoes for an even tastier dish!