Its been a while.
Almost shy of a year, but who’s counting?
(I am, its been 10 months).
My last post was in June, while braving the summer heat and the insane humidity that is a forbearer of my beloved monsoon, when I was slaving away making pasta from scratch, figuring out innovative ways to use morel that was freshly brought in from Kashmir (which now, 10 months later, is still lying patiently in a glass jar in the pantry). But all this aside, we’ve been blessed with the most adoring little baby girl, and I’m over the moon. She’s almost 2 months now, which is why I now feel slightly able to hit the kitchen again (I couldn’t stand the strong smells in the kitchen for all my trimesters, and all I wanted to cook was comfort food like manchurian and iced tea which I wasn’t risking to eat out due to the fear of MSG overload).
My pregnancy was a ride, but a really welcome one! Now that baby is out, mama’s feelings towards the smells have alleviated, letting me slowly but surely return to my beloved kitchen. I wondered whether my first post-natal blog post would include any of my pregnancy experiences, like aversions / obsessions / recipes and routine. Despite having a blog where I share my love for food and travel and the love to travel for food, I still haven’t quite figured out how comfortable I am with sharing my personal pregnancy journey. The few little gems of advice I would dole out (and by no means does having one child make me an expert) are –
- stay hydrated and active as much as you can, whether it means yoga / cooking / swimming or shopping. Listen to your body. Drink tons of water, which may be very annoying in the first and third trimester with your constant desire to hit the head, but do not underestimate the value of good old water.
- listen to music and read (not more then a couple of pregnancy related books please – the information overload is just not necessary!) Stick to favourite genres, books you’ve been wanting to read. Musically, listen to whatever makes you happy – theres no need to listen to “music thats good for baby” i.e. classical / instrumental et all. Listening to what makes you happy = happy baby. The same theory applies with food.
- basically : Happy Mum = Happy Baby
- Vegetable juice (non – strained) 3 times a week + coconut water every day (It helps you stay hydrated and adds to a healthy intake of fibre and veg). Mix up veggies with a fruit to make it more palatable (e.g. – beetroot, apple, carrot, spinach, celery, tomato). I did coconut in the a.m. and vegetable juice in the p.m.
- Be very diligent with your folic acid and vitamins and any other supplements such as calcium.
- Don’t google everything. Trust your doctor, and if you really must check something – ask your partner to research it so that you don’t spend hours reading every possible worst case scenario (which probably isn’t even linked to the issue you’re googling!). The internet has a way to feed your deepest fears – so staying shy of it may do you good!
- soothing environments – even just a scented candle or fragranced oil burner does wonders for your nerves at the end of a long day and to help mask any strong nausea inducing smells which shockingly you can smell through 12 closed doors which are a mile away!
Now that my pearls of wisdom have been shared, on to more relevant thing – like the recipe for this perfect summer salad! It contains a mix of leaves –iceberg and romaine lettuce as the base, topped with matchsticks of zucchini and halved cherry tomatoes, along with orange juice, garlic and lime roasted sweet potato discs and carrot wedges, crumbles of double Gloucester and feta, lightly caramelised walnuts, the most perfect ever avocado 🥑, all brought together by a dressing made with pomegranate molasses, white wine vinegar, whisky orange marmalade, lime and extra virgin olive oil. Shall we just call it that – The Perfect Summer Salad.
Now I know from personal experience that getting your hands on the most perfect avocado can be almost impossible. But fret not, every avocado out there would do the job just fine! A little hack to cut them avocados beautifully: half the avocado, with a knife or spoon loosen around the skin and peel off the skin. Pop the peeled halves into the freezer with a squeeze of lime juice (so it doesn’t go bad). When plating the salad, cut into slices and separate like a fan. If your avocado is a bit on the softer side to begin with, place in freezer for a few minutes for easier peeling.
My dressing was made from a mishmash of what was sitting in the refrigerator – pomegranate molasses (which I bought from here, and honestly, it was one of the most amazing and underrated salad dressing ingredients out there!), orange whiskey marmalade, salt, pepper, EVOO, white wine vinegar and a little bit of lime juice.
I hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as I did!
The Perfect Summer Salad
By Joie De Vivre
For the roasted vegetables:
- 1 carrot, cut diagonally into batons
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into discs
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 lime
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
For the salad:
- 1/2 a head of iceberg lettuce, broken into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 a head romaine lettuce, broken into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 1 packet cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup feta, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup double Gloucester, crumbled (or any other sharp cheddar / red Leicester)
- 1 avocado, cut into slices
- 1/4 cup walnuts, caramelised with 1 tbs sugar over a medium heat (no need to melt sugar first, just add over the walnuts and stir for a few minutes till fragrant)
- 1-2 tbs pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbs white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lime juice
- salt, pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs orange marmalade
- Mix together the sweet potato and carrot with the olive oil, salt, pepper and roast in an oven along with the garlic clove, halved lime and orange juice for approximately 40 minutes or until the vegetables take on a slight char and are just tender enough to eat. Cool thoroughly.
- Make the dressing and whisk together with a fork to emulsify. Taste and adjust.
- In a wide shallow dish, toss half the dressing with the salad, and then add more as needed. Sprinkle over the zucchini and tomatoes, and the cooled carrots and sweet potato. Add the cheeses, the avocado and finish with walnuts. Serve extra dressing on side, if needed.